Two out of the three boys stories that Kozol recounts to us in this section took their own lives. As Kozol says, “Christopher was the white boy. He did this in New York. Eric was the black guy. He did it in Montana. one with a needle. One with a shotgun. The differences are there” (77). But so too, are the similarities. Throughout these two chapters, we see the details of Eric and Christopher’s lives, their involvement with other young men in similar situations, low income economic situations, the temptation of drugs, and the romanticism of life in the streets. As young men they were given warped perspectives of masculinity, of what it meant to be strong, dominant, and “the man of the house.” They had mothers and sisters that loved them, but as we found out, and many of us have found out in our lives, when someone is so deep in that place, the love of others may not be enough. Their deaths changed the lives of their family members forever, and the opportunities that may have presented themselves later in life were never seen. No one thought this would be the result of their actions, no one intervened in their lives, and the system they were trapped in sure as hell didn’t give them a light at the end of the tunnel. But when their family members were the only people who believed in them, when society turned their backs, could we expect anything else?
If you or someone you know is considering ending their life, reach out and get educated. Eric and Christopher did not have the resources that many of us are fortunate to have access to. Below are links to these different resources.