RICHARD RODRIGUEZ, NewsHour essayist: The terrorist in Mumbai was not wearing army fatigues or any kind of mask. The young man wore khakis and a dark shirt, apparel appropriate to a college campus.
In two of the most horrific recent acts of terrorism committed by Americans against other Americans, adolescent boys walked onto their campuses, dressed as video game avatars. But the blood on the walls at Columbine High and Virginia Tech was real.
It is not soldiers marching in formation under a national flag who people the nightmare future. It is the boy with a gang of lost boys that adults have come to fear.
In 1904, James M. Barrie wrote "Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up." Peter is the captain of a band of lost boys on an island called Neverland, where the boys chase pirates and the pirates chase them.
Off the non-fictional coast of East Africa, teenagers chase ocean liners and seize oil tankers and their crews. And in faraway London or Zurich, lawyers in wood-paneled offices pay the ransom.
We are looking for someone, someone older, someone who might have dispatched the lost boys to Mumbai or to the coast off Somalia to capture ships, and usually there are older men writing the script for the young.
In Dickensian London, neither Bill Sikes nor Fagin wore silks or any of the frippery they taught Oliver Twist to pilfer or pick from pockets. But not even in the Victorian capital of child abuse could Fagin or Sikes have conceived the kind of violence that ensnares children today.