Nothing drives crime rates like poverty and unemployment. Kids who grow up in communities where most adults are working in at least living-wage jobs and who can envision a future that includes the possibility of a living-wage job for themselves do not tend to join gangs or get involved in gunfights on the streets. But ask the government to fund after-school programs for kids or job training programs for their parents and agencies will insist that funds cannot be found.
Meanwhile, if Kimani Gray had lived longer and had, hypothetically, been convicted of an actual crime, the same government would have had no problem forking out $200,000 a year to house him in a juvenile detention facility. Nor do you ever hear anyone quibbling about the millions of dollars spent each year sending huge numbers of police officers into neighborhoods like the one where Gray ended up being shot dead by two of them.
The point is moot for Kimani Gray now, but if there is to be any hope of preventing senseless-seeming deaths like his in the future, there has to be concerted effort to address the core problems in troubled communities like the one where he was killed, rather than spending limitless sums policing them and punishing them.