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The Urban Nomad 16 year old trigger seems to court danger and to provoke punishment. It began when he pistol whipped a girl when he was fined. He now lives the life of a fugitive he says he plans to go straight. But the question is straight where. Nothing in nature is alike. No two leaves no two snowflakes. Imagine what would happen if you went to an optometrist and said you wanted a pair of glasses without an examination of any kind. Or if you went to a dentist and asked him for a pair of dentures for your wife. Yet we do speak of delinquent and dependent children as though they were all alike. It may sound strange but at this late date we have no reliable data on delinquency on a national scope. Not more than 60 percent of the counties even report the occurrence of delinquency even for the countries that do report to Washington the data are not comparable. The scales of measurement are not the same. The local picture is even worse throughout the country.
Sound plays truant persuades a minor girl to go with him takes his father's car uses a credit card steal cigarettes from the gas station crosses a state line and robs a store gunpoint. How would this be entered on police forms. Every policeman who makes reports on a juvenile is faced with a decision as to how to classify the charge. Unless he simply writes the word delinquency. Legally this is a charge for a minor but it makes comparative study impossible. Actually there is no one such thing as delinquency. There are children some of them get into trouble in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. We feel that the important starting place in the understanding of delinquency is the deviant child not his problem not his activity. Not his cure or treatment but simply the child. We will try to get the child to speak to talk of his world as he sees it. And in terms of what it means to him.
Here to interview a fairly typical delinquent child his father Duffy Professor of Sociology at Duquesne University speaking from the juvenile court detention home in Pittsburgh. Father Duffy before the interview with Trigger I was warned that he would not talk to me that he would make a break for liberty and that he would try to manipulate me into promising to get him released so that he could pursue his own probation plan which consists in returning to Tennessee and getting a job and living there. You will see that this type of boy can be gotten to talk to you if you will listen to him in a receptive way without criticism or rejection. I wonder what would have happened if I had told him that it's wrong to steal cars and strip them. I'm not sure that this would have been news to him. I'm not sure that it would accomplish anything positive in the direction of Rehabilitation rehabilitation as I see it is closely associated with motivation. It is not even distantly related to criticism physical punishment disapproval
or signs of annoyance. The one person in the world who is going to improve this boy's behavior is the boy himself. We cannot tie him up to make him behave. We cannot hypnotize him permanently to make him behave. We can however get him thinking about some of the rather indecent things that he's done. One way to do this is to get him talking about them. To talk about anything one has to think about it first. And then there is another reward that after having talked things out a person usually thinks about them again later on when he's removed from the counseling situation. We hope that this boy will develop some insights that he will not feel terribly proud of his activities up to this point. He might even be a little bit ashamed of his previous conduct. I'm not altogether sure that we should discount the effects of the sense of shame any more than we would favor discarding a sense of modesty if we found that it is the lowest
or last hope in a boys wanting to reverse his steps or to make him willing to do better than he's been doing or willing to repair the damage he's done up to now or atone for his misdeeds. I am aware of the fact that some people put too much emphasis on shame. It's a shame that they do this. On the other hand it seems difficult to be too ashamed of things that are shameless that one has done. Perhaps there's a balance somewhere. One might be ashamed of things he did that call for shame as a reason for stopping such activities at times. Shame is an appropriate reaction especially if it involves a reversal of behavior that we all would agree is indecent. Perhaps I would be ashamed if I strong armed I tend. You're all a little newsboy into giving me his earnings his turn in money and his mother's savings. This is one of the things that trigger did. But he sort of smirks at it as a sort of profitable prank that he would rapidly repeat if he could find another helpless victim. It's very
difficult to be spontaneously in favor of a boy like trigger. He is very hard to understand he certainly needs guidance and help and control. I told him about his caring about the tube again. Yeah I'm going to feel not too much about a thing I was working at the tended to happen as a kid. He told me about this here but you gang up there and he told me it was a big gang up there on the California and he says they wrecked the school kind of stuff out there. And then when I came up here. Last April. Thank you was only part of their rocket across a four lane highway Bly food and all that stuff when they get there but you can walk right here between a ton of surfing are right there when you're right here on the right hand and after the song look like it's a little crisis right down here and you are there as you can get with Reliance right about the one coming up from of I don't want to from a science. And if they're a leader you know the leader
below first later they have it right here and they're marked right there so it means I would have to just one. This one right here. Maybe he would want to going first year woman here you know when we went in and we're going to want to or face the head leader I have right here in front of his ear or behind his ear. That's where they put them in and what I have them together. What are you doing. Keeps on Giving. I don't know I heard out in California here. If you see end up but you can see a lot of shit I'm really going to cost you more time. That's what. You did you ever belong to an organized group. Beginning I didn't belong exactly to a gang we had looked up as perfect and we we we've been oh I didn't think I was up for that I was to get in trouble all the time was there on the corner when I was there a quarter and. You know right beside a drug store is a little doorway like. And join he was in there banging and there was but Tim Boysen 5 go stand there and I turns around and I sees a cop car pulling up and I
said Hey here come the cops I thought was rather that mistake and nobody believed me and I get out of here 130 and I'm high and I managed to get down by school and I'm not going to run and I ceased Union a couple of the other kids it was up or getting it cut and I asked him what happened he says the cops come up and the county attorney was up and banging on the door. He says if he ever sees any of us are there because our siding go home I'm going home to what I want to plug and I know our family walked in. I thought the place was going to pick me off or something but there while having never get kicked out of the show I kind we blow it with a K. How do you do the gang members or initiation. Oh yeah it does have a psychogenic and I thought we had that your membership and they go through a ceremony when you know I went there I would just say we don't have to work and I think I was on about two years ago when I was doing nothing so we have a clubhouse in my house in the summer. Enough there I mean I have a promo machine up their way to the east of the fights
and there we are and where I started got our girls all that I thought I was 30. Sounds like you started out at the front of the place as a writer. Cause when I say to myself then I moved. How do you get in trouble as last time. Well this comet just got picked up you know in September you know this time this time here you know. I was on a kind of I skipped it front of September and so my mother got me a car so I thought in September when I skipped that row I left town I was living I want to Northside awhile and they couldn't find me and I don't think those looking for me too much but they were there was but it was supposed to call my mother to call up the Missing Persons Bureau and all kinds of stuff like that and they were supposed to be looking for me and they called Five me again if they were they were looking for me. And some girl told detectives that I was picked up for you know that I killed some kids. You probably heard about them killing the northside. Yeah I was hit by the car I thought I did it.
I turned around and said in the backseat of a car in a time when I see if the cop you know if you like light flashing you know. I say stuff and I guess it's not a transient that a forlorn hope sound I hear the siren I say keep going he says Now I'm going to pull over so we Pozo he pulls over. I jumped out the car and I goes around the world in front of this big fence that turns around and I grab Tom and I threw him up against the car going to his whole name and I just want out of the other corner and I went up. Well me and Tom was living and I was living a burger. And I says this here Pat he's up stairs right now and I think him and I asked him you know I was thinking of the cops were when we were bad had the car parked outside the house with the lights on so I sees the car there so I guess I want to get Pat and I told him to go over and see if a car had a special sticker on and if it wasn't if say it was a Chevy. So he went over he said. Have any questions they're gone it was a Chevy. So I says will go out and save time zone
so Tom didn't hit it so I thought up at about a quarter to eleven or. So that I was welcome at top quote he says they caught him like mad that I threw him up against a car that has been taken by the station and made him was making too much money I just left to pay the rent and how much you make it we are only pence are we we was working on the commission. I made the highest I mean a week was $60. That's when about my car I don't have anywhere to go you know we were making a much money and time he's going that is gross on us because a mother was me so I want to over there and I was eating some cold turkey in it and I started going over there by the every night and when I discoursed turn hit she was over the edge atomic war that some sad you know will be how I want to be there. So then I was walking us through the back and went up to me and said that this is looking for me what kind I suppose to kill some here and so one day I
would head out the back of her wig that is looking for me again. I was supposed to kill some kid nice and I killed the kid so I decided to run one kind I skipped that route. I was walking up the aisle toward the house where I lived. By 10:30 in a market out there and I see just so they don't the core opponent has a pick me up once before so I know what they look like. So all I say is I'm prone I might in some kid sit in the back seat. So I just keep walking across a street car stop too quick. They just sound so somebody stop or I'll shoot you if I turn around I say Where do you say. He says you better come here on the shooter. He says just go ahead and try to run and I want to shoot you anyway. Plus a run of how were they search me they find packs of cigarettes and they thought I was told them I bought a carton a day. So they took me down the detective bureau and I was down and it was questing mayday says that I tried to rape a pact and I told them no or they would not. They try to say I was snatching persons over there and I told them if they could get anywhere this
is the proof that I did not take a lot if I could test and prove I didn't do it and I try to say I stalk her or that welfare had any witnesses I think a lot of hype with earth and provided a clue and same with the killer. So Saturday morning the. He kept another he was talking to me and he let me go. Now back over to our side now store some magazines and then one day I decided to quit. And once when I just take it to the quiz somewhere or move anything so I just decided to quit work. So whether I wasn't making the money enough and so and I was trying to make me go back to work and I said No I don't want to work. So they kicked me out. Well you really do I just want to love say France where I just get it you know nerds that this that there's something different and I like that I like when I work I just feel like going to work for a couple days to get better so I know what I was living with his Here Frank for about a week I was who he was at 28 I think because he wanted to
keep you know see me and John when I get my paycheck. And we need to pay half the rent. I sold some record albums that I had for you read that when I was for another paycheck they were me and they told me they said I owed him some money and I didn't know the money so I stayed out there with Frank until we got kicked out of there and I was living so this a kid lived in an apartment house he had the same kind of key would fit this or empty apartment. So I lifted out of the apartment for about three days and I was going to leave his house and she gave me some stuff to their mother was going to have for me to go in the service. So one day I was broken up. And then I don't know so I was walking up one of there and I started to walk home and my mother asked me where I wasn't who I was everywhere or north side and that what happened to me and she told me up better stay out of trouble to pick me up bring me back over here. I told her I was going to stay out of trouble. And I stayed out of trouble. This were about.
By three or four weeks ago and then I started left for the one in which s from the because I had my car and I and I started a ride around with Junior Seau with his her cart when he jumped and he started driving so I says come with some stuff and I can use for my car. So we want to have THIS year old dirt road and I got the straw mats and stuff off from my car but I thought the west was won as he strokes every Sometimes I can hear some of the parts because it's right so he says yeah he said maybe but I never did like a maze to go to school with him I thought he was crazy for being there when he get out to do. So I was there whenever they started driving the car running and I was sitting in my car watching it but I decided to leave because her merc come up behind him and he pulled right back out real quick so we left we ditched the car and it is the car that night because the steering lock down. So he I says Come on up get some gas had a car so we can put my car. Was in the car to serve food. Sherry and power kept Brian up and I and you know
he grew up this way you know go up a nice tree come down behind me never come up again behind me and he got beside me. I kept looking at me so I don't know who it was so I decided to leave and then we heard. Him the rockets for have was picked up and he's clueless. I says Where's the school before he says I'd is willing to do so with the school before he said I did. So I placed them. And I hurt my hand when I heard him and I can place them in the stomach again. Then I started walking away and I will have starved myself. I did him cut my hand was all swallowed up in the base had assault battery Afghanistan was sleeping in my car a couple legs. So I started taking some stuff and my cousin saw the stake and it was taken beer and all and I was sitting down in the kitchen heat and I didn't know what was going on. So what do you it comes when I want a shotgun and I would go a minute where I grew out of that. So he thought he was going to
shoot somebody I don't know who he was going to shoot. So his wrist was all sliced up and I don't know who did that but I wasn't sure who did it. He was chasing everybody around the shotgun he didn't bother me too much with it you know right take it off and shoot him with it. So when. We finally saw the leave. Me and my girl was running around I would pick some of the kids up. And if he's lying about what he said and I and we slept out that night I took her home so she could go to school. And there was you know love from the other day. And I was like I can that night and so will I'd say Tom and let me tell me he's going to Tennessee and I asked him if he wanted a company. He says yeah I see he says how we get on this we use my car. This is where you want to go I see the cops looking for me again. So once for a second I says I think I stored the car and it's done so he says a Souquet I says Where would you get the money so I could to my DOn't LEAVE IT TO ME. So he had a bus ticket. To go back to tell us a sad morning we
woke up by 7:00 o'clock as we look back his eyes then a body clock and went back toward why he wasn't there then I want to his girls I listened as he told me he was an operator the telephone rang up her husband was playing. He told me if I wanted to go to Tennessee one of the one up right away so I went to my house and go out west and we went. So we would had we cast his boss to get him nor get that we had 24 hours to meet him. What I do see is what I said was cruel she was talking to her well and the commode was close. He had a he had them up the office. And it was close and he threw the car. Then we left. So me I'm going to Tennessee about 11 o'clock and I left here at 10:30 and got there by love and there was that he would to his cousin's house and he called his mother says he was coming home. And I was there and they are well and I started liking his cousin. And then I couldn't tell him what a cunt he was me. He's 21 years old he's a little bit bigger than me to
his rough arena so I did tell him I like I said she was pretty nice. And so we kept going up up to his house. So every day. And. We kept one we kept asking him why the car kept smoking what because I lost my temper the cark of smoking what. So we decided to check it and he says I had some loose valves so we took the valves off and I cleaned them a gasoline everything put them back on we had one well we take them off. We still had a mower. So some of our rides was broke off and it we had taken my put a bike and fixed might we had to take the whole we had off the carburetor and everything we tried to clean there that took about all week. Played it and so he was coming back to Pittsburgh on a plane. So whether his cousin told me that he was going to get the car fixed for three hours so I could come back to Pittsburgh. She of course he was called me up before I left. So I never said that so that they would come back to
Pittsburgh. Michael I got back here about 5 o'clock in the morning. Then I walk up to my grandmother's house and by his cop car come and. Let someone walk up the street then look in the windows to see if the cop car comes back. So they pulls up beside me he says Hey. This is what he says coming he says I want you need. And I said something they must do what it was. Yes we were live the best I lived up my washing. He's let me see your hands look away a thing like there was all dirty. And he says he's a Yemeni benefit case and I says no he's just trying to run so I want to turn right. And I had a well in the back pocket so I just started whether you can weather it up behind me. They said OK this is it with the blackjack so he hit me with a black so. That they I guess they dragged me across the street or something because they thought I was slightly right. Woke up. Nice to be up and they told me put my hands behind me so I put my head
down I mean he cuffed me. I took me to police they said they was questioning me down here and asked me How old was I said I was 16 I says you're older than 16 this is no one of the sixth he says get out the rubber hose He says that you are you have a base officer go to us he says was his name. I says was to get out of he says he wants you for something Dani's I said Yeah so I says he wants me for the trial I skipped in September because he doesn't know. They said I was doing stuff and I did that and so they have a daughter and they want away up here and I was talking to them cops they had me handcuffed again and I asked them if if that was so smart or catch me did I come with the detectors pick me up. They were called up or it's you when of course they asked if they had a record on me and they said is no here and I was looking for me for that's how. They were supposed to be looking for me so bad and I saw a policeman how come they were looking for me so bad outcome they couldn't catch me in October when they caught up or they could have me beforehand and they didn't know they says they
must i was to give them a different name was a wife and I given the different name. So they brought me up here and they threw me the cook for a couple hours here with what you can research what your problem with me. The mother father divorced. And I live with the thought of your brothers. So this just means you remember those big remarries both love West Virginias or someplace you never really know him or whether they're the same. You have grandparents living with. Yeah I have a gram when you've got a family room. Just women how old are you. So if they're 16. You finish school. You quit school I quit school I quit so it's great. So I don't talk to a probation officer if I feel let me out of this trial. I'd never get I would get a kind of a C I get a job that Tennessee way for me. We went in there you didn't stay there I stayed for a week he says but he's gone back up to this president get everything straight not more back then you can have the job.
So that's you know that's the reason right away come back here for a moment I let them catch me and I think we influence of candor. I was both a grab some pay way big bag of it took his money but I doubt it is a right. Some of it he was talking me says you want to get some money I says OK because anybody anybody who wasn't Lester was crazy would say no to ask him for money. So rather I went out and they told me how to go just great masses paperwork for the money you know give it to you. So I believe it because I went out and I got some money off we got three hours off and then we went on this break when I picked up the book and it was at the office there later that kid with the hidden money and the rocks and I wanted they we to all together somebody came up and gave us $20 apiece. Now whether they are strong armed No thank you money. No I did nothing for them. I said Well I think you know give me some money. He said OK let's take a look making me some money. I there was a big one.
Nothing. What was he before this time what was it before September. Oh it was in. April April 3rd think they were picked up. I was picked up for StoryCorps with the thought of hell for eight weeks he. Was ripping me for that for that was the mayor I think the markets. I tried to rub along all of them at me and said he's I'm looking at them. Reasonably unit of time you know you were his mission was to get in with this with this one. We had up. I don't think you know my name bustling Weiser. We had her after. We look at first time we reach out and tell for several months before that it was that during the last year. Yeah it was last June. June was sorta thing. Things if you were fourteen and I think I was 14. I think that there should be black and. Not picked up brought up or for that that
was the first time you returned. First time was when I was 5 years old I had a girl heavily guarded she tubercular and I split ahead of her but I would never have stood for the first time I was ever actually upstairs was a jerk was for would think the first time between including the girl with a gun and Robin the moment you were eating out and in between that your blanket. As of us you know if there's a way to travel. Well John there was a really good travel was when I robbed the last half. That's why doesn't it have they had anything sensible wanted me to share the Blank I think you're going to have any complaint about me. Yeah she kept telling me if I would get there travel she was never coming up again. She told me if I got any more trouble that she was never coming up again and I haven't seen her since last Wednesday.
So when I came up with nothing wouldn't you look as if you would you live with her in the room we could almost see I go right in with the top to my store hardly anybody and I used to keep to myself Why don't we increase series will this whole series of girls you know this I want to tell her say if I thought that I would let me go and go back to this job I've got time. I'm pretty serious about her decision when I was oh I had so many people in the sack come back when here are my my best friend my cousin's best friend his GO MY GO appear. I thought you don't like her you know I don't like I never do like hers is part of it. You do much drinking all those who are around. Or worth ever drink with. But. I think you know it's like a drug. You know we were drunk and I thought Oh a great holiday you know because he's or something.
Please don't do you want pretty decent clothes or already you know they really were doing that was a term he was the first well of to think I can win is a pretty nice kid. After I moved out with him he moved in with Tom and I. He took $33 off Tony took 18 hours off peak and went back to Florida. There's still time. Some of Tom's clothes that he's a really underworld characters kind of want to know what you're on loosely you have you. Yeah right. You have been listening to exploring the child's world he had a program in which the child speaks. Father Francis Duffy Professor of Sociology at Duquesne University has outlined the features of this world and conducted the interview with the child.
Exploring the child's world IV
The urban nomad
Producing Organization
WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on a teen who lives a nomadic, criminal existence.
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Interviews with delinquent and disturbed young people who are encouraged to discuss their experiences and express feelings. To protect individuals, each program is a re-creation of an actual interview using different names and places.
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Producing Organization: WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Speaker: Duffy, Francis
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-26-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “Exploring the child's world IV; The urban nomad,” 1966-07-11, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
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APA: Exploring the child's world IV; The urban nomad. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from