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A Yellow Card, Then Unfathomable Violence, in Brazil

Two killings in the Brazilian neighborhood of Centro de Meio over a soccer match gone wrong left the country spinning, the New York Times reports. The killings were widely reported as an extreme example of soccer violence in Brazil, a grisly contradiction to joga bonito, to play beautifully, as the country prepared to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

A sociologist’s study found more deaths directly related to fan violence in Brazil than any other country. The number escalated from an average of 4.2 per year about a decade ago to 23 in 2012.

The story touches on interior Brazil’s wider culture of knives and revenge. It touched on hopelessness and rage born of poverty and inequality, and mistrust that seethed from inadequate policing and uneven access to justice. When formal justice seemed weak and unresponsive to one killing, another score was settled as scores have long been settled in this region of Brazil — with private justice, bloodshed trumped by bloodshed.

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