The negative portrayals of this disenfranchised generation may cause us to fear or shun these youths, as opposed to hiring them and shaping their minds.

Thus, when the subject of gang members and thuggery arise in polite conversation, I often recall the plight of those left behind during Hurricane Katrina, specifically, those dark days in the Superdome, when F.E.M.A. did not immediately come to the rescue.

It was in that dire moment that a band of “thugs” organized themselves and ventured into the chaos to find food, juice and water for the women, children and elderly citizens that were vulnerable in the rising waters and sweltering heat. Those “thugs” dressed in distinctive raincoats so that the women and children could identify them if they were in danger and in need of help.

It was those “thugs” that provided comfort to the tired and the weak.

In that hour, those thugs were in reality, soldiers of God.

And that is why we must not discard them.

Deputy Editor, Rolling Out