Read this CNN article about the rise in teen violence against the homeless in America. I can't think of a better way to exhibit the increased callousness towards the poor in this country than the brutal murder of its most impoverished citizens by its most priveleged. No matter how many excuses are given for the perpetrators of these shameful crimes, be they peer pressure, alcohol abuse, violent video games, the fact remains that these kids equated their victim's diminished socioeconomic status with a sort of expendability. The illusion of meritocracy here in the United States is not a reason to treat the struggling as lessers, or, in this case, as subhuman targets. The way a society treats its poor is an important vital sign of its humanity, for mercy is nothing if not the recognition of a universality among men. As income inequality grows, we seem to be entering a dangerous period of class striation, of a return to "us" and "them". If our teens are unable to see their fellow man beneath the rags and grime - we're in worse trouble than we thought.