One of the many frightening aspects of Mark Di Ionno’s column today about the fatal Christmas night shooting in Newark of a 13-year-old girl taking out the trash and a 15-year-old boy visiting is the fact that an army veteran who lives on the street is now cowering in fear.

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Eighty-one-year-old Korean War vet Johnnie Shaw tells Di Ionno that he “stays inside at night,” while 60-year-old Vietnam vet and nearby resident Ernie McRae offers some solemn, generational perspective:

“All this was decent,” McRae said. “Now it’s the ‘Land of Lack.’ There’s no jobs, there’s no opportunity. There’s no parents paying attention. There’s no leadership. These kids have no place to go. But all this violence, it’s crazy.”

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