In the early morning of Feburary 17, 991, a nineteen-year-old Yale student on his way home from a party, was shot through the heart on a New Haven street by a single bullet from a .22-caliber handgun. His wallet, with forty-six dollars inside, was left intact beside him. As murders go, it was senseless, motiveless, and as random as a blindly flung stone. The boy was white, privileged, and widely loved, a scholar and athlete, with a future that seemed assured. The boy accused in his killing, a sixteen-year-old gang member from the inner city, was an angry, desperate youth whose life careened almost daily-as ghetto lives often do-between the never_distant prospects of jail and death.
This is the story of these two boys-and of the boys and men, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, and friends who peopled their lives. It is the story of hope and hopelessness, ignorance and rage; of waste and courage and loss. But above all, it is the story of the chasm that divides us one from the other: black from white: rich from poor: the suburbs of Chevy Chase, Maryland, from the squalor and despair of New Haven's meanest streets. You will see and hear both stories. And by the end, you not only will have touched the differences of race, welath, education, and hope, but have seen and heard also the commonness that links us all-the love of a parent, the dreams of a child-that joins us, one to the other, as the humans we finally, sometimes sadly, are.