Recent Acquisition - Photograph Collection

The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. United States Courthouse, also known as the U.S. Post Office and Customhouse, Richmond, Virginia, March 1968.

Originally constructed in 1858, it was for decades a courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A new federal district courthouse opened in 2008, but the Powell Courthouse still houses the Fourth Circuit.

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Commentary: Seeing violence live is a reality for too many kids

Editor’s note: Tribune crime reporter Peter Nickeas posted a version of this to his Facebook page Wednesday, hours after news broke about the on-air killing near Roanoke, Va., of a TV reporter and a cameraman.

The difference between the shooting in Virginia and every other act of gun violence is that the Internet had to see the fear on a woman’s face as she realized she was about to die.

Chicago alone has more than 2,000 shootings a year. Go to a crime scene and ask kids if they have seen someone shot. And the answer will be, “Well, the first time …” What the Internet is going through right now is almost a rite of passage for kids in urban areas.

Kids see the “Oh s—” look on someone’s face right before they get shot. And the video doesn’t cut off. They hear the gunfire, see the body, see the police, see how the family reacts. Soaking it all up. And we wonder why a percentage of kids end up violent or starving for adult attention when they have to internalize all that anger and grief that the Internet, collectively, felt Wednesday.

Kids in urban areas don’t have the option to turn off social media if they don’t want to see violence. They can’t just say, “I’m going to stay off Twitter.”

For them, it’s real life, not a video on the Internet. It’s a relative who was shot or beaten or stabbed. Or worse, it was them.