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The mayor and other city officials who have expressed outrage at the violence likely will attend the victims’ funerals — which is ironic because a funeral is exactly why the bloodbath victims were huddled. They had just returned from a funeral for Jordan Howe, the man wrongly accused of stealing the bracelet. One of John’sbrothers also stands accused of gunning down Mr. Howe, who was just 20 years old.

Mr. Fenty helped rewrite juvenile justice laws as a D.C. Council member before he became mayor in 2007. He and the city’s attorney general could easily put their heads together to make sure justice is served when juveniles commit heinous and wretched offenses — with and without bloodshed.

Sometimes young people are predators; sometimes they are prey. In either case, the time should fit the crime.

In the case of the March 30 bloodbath, the evidence for reform lies in the caskets and with the walking wounded.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at