Wishful thinking or magical realism?
Growing up in a small… very small town, I didn’t have entire groups of people — which is to say, gangs — to worry about, but I do recall trips home from school that required being alert for particular individuals. Reading accounts about some of the inter-ethnic juvenile violence in 19th and earlier 20th Century urban America makes me think that in some ways, “The Walk Home” is an old story. But I’m willing to believe things have changed and not for the better.
My own, relatively mild experience left me with a rather sour regard for the adults my cohort eventually grew into, never mind the adults of my youth who supposedly supervised us. Buddha save me from having to repeat the experience!