"lighten up no one died"
Notice how before he says that David looks kinda angry or at least annoyed. And as soon as he says it he realizes it and starts to apologize before Jack cuts him off.
So why would he get so upset then? Well what if- and here me out here -what if Sarah isn’t the oldest Jacobs child.
In the stage version of newsies Sarah is never mentioned, but we all assume she still exists. So what if there’s a fourth Jacobs child older than the rest that was also never mentioned by David or Les. Their older brother.
What if they had an older brother who was a trolley worker. He went on strike with the union, which was something David really admired. Except at one rally things got violent, and he was killed. David and Les had to go to work to make up for both their father and their brothers lost income. Which would explain why both of them had to go. And would also explain why David was that hesitant to strike with the newsies. His brother died therefore he’s cautious, but he still wants to do right by him. It would also explain why David was so upset and regretful when and after saying “lighten up no one died”. Jack shouldn’t be that upset because Crutchie is still alive. Jack didn’t lose him. The circumstances alone upset David and everything just keeps reminding him of his brother, so he lashes out. He and Les never mention it because it’s too painful for them
This is a total shit post conspiracy theory but wouldn’t it be so much more emotional if they had a brother?? Like davids development and involvement in the strike. His motives would be completely different and a lot deeper and ahhhh