Death in the 'Hood

TITLE: BABY INSANE AND THE BUDDHA

AUTHOR: BOB SIPCHEN

PUBLISHER: DOUBLEDAY; 370 PAGES; $20

THE BOTTOM LINE: Children gun one another down for fancied slights to a gang's code of honor.

SUBTRACT DRUGS FROM THE bloody San Diego gang scene that reporter Bob Sipchen describes -- go ahead, wave a wand -- and the festering urban mess still would stink of hopelessness. Sipchen, who writes for the Los Angeles Times, uses an African proverb for an epigraph: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." If there is no village of strong adults, only warring teenage street gangs controlling a...

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