By Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Eddie Stern for Intentblog.com
Thirteen years ago, a man who went by the name of Black Just was shot and killed in South East Queens. He was killed trying to interrupt a retaliation killing – an assailant pulled a gun on his friend, and he jumped in between them, hoping to dissuade the man from pulling the trigger. It was his instinct, but his good intention tragically brought him into the pathway of the killer, and the bullet hit the wrong mark. Black Just left behind two young boys—Juquille, who was only six, and his brother, Jazzy, who was eleven. After the traumatic and unexpected death of their father, the two boys emotionally and psychologically shut down; they withdrew from playing with their friends, the elder boy from his studies at school, and they became empty shells of their former selves.
South Jamaica, Queens, is one of the most violent areas of New York. The homicide rate is considerably higher than other parts of the five boroughs; violence, drugs and poverty are rampant. At a recent school assembly of 100 kids, a speaker asked, how many of you have a friend or relative who has been shot? Almost every hand in the room went up. It is not uncommon for small children to be exposed to violent crimes in the streets, or in their apartment complexes—whether physical and verbal abuse among family members, or random shootings in their neighborhoods.
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