WHO IS TO BLAME THAT LAD OF EIGHTEEN IS
BRANDED AS ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS?
He is just a little more than 18;
rather tall, withseriQus brown eyes,
a face that is kindly, a nature that is
sensitive a boy who seems lovable
but he is branded worthless.
Society branded him two years ago
when society refused to give him a
chance to earn his living honestly
and forced him to resort to petty
larceny to live at all.
' His father branded him worthless
when he let the boy drift around for
two years and then prompted him
yesterday in the boys' court to tell
of petty crimes over which that court
had no jurisdiction, but which would
serve to make a record against him
that the lad might be sent away.
Even his country hasn't use for
him as gun fodder, for he offered
himself to his country and was dis
charged from the army because of
a trouble in one of his ears. His
country wants only perfect boys.
But the question that I am trying
to solve is this: Who should have
been before the bar of justice yester
day, society, the boy, or the father
of the boy?
He was arrested in an empty house
and he had a door knob in his pocket
He admitted he had taken the door
knob from another empty house and
that he made his living selling junk.
Judge Dolan questioned him;
how did he live; how long since he
had worked; why didn't he live at
home since his father looked like a
good man who worked hard?
The father of the lad of 18 stepped
forward. The boy was a tramp, he
said. He hadn't worked for two
years; he slept in halls; he ought to
be sent away.
"Tell the judge what you did in
," Johnny," he prompted. The
boy flinched, but parental obedience
was strong in him.
"I took some money out of a man's
"That ain't all you did; tell what
else you did."
The boy flinched again; his sensi
tive mouth quivered; he looked like
an animal being driven into a trap,
and for just a moment his big brown
eyes darted an appeal toward the
man who was responsible for his
being in the world, then he mum
bled: "I stole a bicycle to get away
"Were you arrested?" asked the
judge. "No," answered the boy. "He
ought to be sent away," said the fa
ther. "Why don't you live at home with
your mother?" asked the judge. '
"My mother died when I was two
years old and I got a stepmother. She
don't treat me right and I don't like
"Oh, she treats you all right," said
the father, complacently. "You went
and sold that bicycle you stole in
stead of bringing it home and if the
man gets after you 111 have to pay
for it Why didn't you bring it
"You think I ought to send him
away?" the judge asked.
"Yes," said the father, and he
"What good will it do in a case like
this?" asked the judge. "It is like the
man who was ordered to dig a hole
and asked what he would do with
the dirt that came out of it He was
told to dig another hole and put the
dirt in that. To send a boy like this
to jail is to let him out when his time
is up and put him back the next time,
because there will always be a next
time, and yet society has made no
provision for the dirt that is taken
out of the hole. I will hold him here
until I find out if he is wanted in the
town where he says he committed
Who is responsible for the fact
that a boy of a little more than 18.
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