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Newspaper Page Text
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MERRIAM COMMITTEE REPORT SEARCHES FOR
PREVENTATIVES OF CRIME IN CHICAGO
Stories that drip -with human mis
ery, filled with the moans of boys
and girls and young flrenand young
women living nuder a curse passed
on to them by their fathers and moth
ers stand out from the latest report
of the Merriam committee of the city
council searching causes and pre
ventatives of crime in Chicago.
Down at the bottom of it all the
report says in effect that half the
boys and girls who "go wrong" and
keep on "going wrong and getting
back to the police and the lockups
have in their blood and bones ravag
ing diseases given to them by their
Dr. H. C. Stevens of the University
of Chicago and Prof. Robert E. Gault
of the Northwestern university sup
ply the figures to the council com
mittee on 63 boys at the John
Worthy" school. They took these
boy, stripped them naked and gave
them all the tests of an army recruit
ing officer or an expert life insurance
physician. The single result most
startling was this:
Seventeen of the boys, or one out
of every four, is a clear victim of
what pohte newspapers . call thei
black plague, or what is know on the
street as syphilis.
These boys are taken at random
from the 120 in the school. They are
considered fair samples othe "bad
boys" who go in and go out and go
back to prisons for boys.
The report says: "In view of the
youthfulness of the boys it is perp
haps reasonable to suppose 'that the
syphilis in most cases came from the
parents and is of a congenital va
riety. "One-half suffer from such infec
tious disorders that they would be a
menace to public health if they were
free in the community."
Nearly all have bad nerves. One
half are feeble minded. Life histo
ries of these "bad boys" show that
they came from poor people, fromv
where children grow up with pale
faces, thin shoulders and wobbly"
legs. Case 31 is reported this way:
"Wholly a case of poor home condi
tions. Picks things out of barrels in
alleys for food. Poor hearing due to
enlarged tonsils." A probation of
ficer says of this case: "Has not
proper care; also has not sufficient
means of subsistence. On Sept. 12,
1908, at 11 o'clock, I found him at
5th av. and Madison st. in destitute
condition. He said he had been wan
dering around the streets and alleys
for a week, both day and night."
Hunger, empty stomachs and
homes that are only dirty holes are
the background of nearly all the
boys whose "life histories" are given.
The only thing to do for these bays
after they have been made into crim
inals, says the report, is to put them
on a farm colony. Let the stingy,
careless city of Chicago wake up and
nut a little money into a piece of
land where these boys can plant
vegetables, work and play in gardens
and sunshine, learn trades if they
want to and live and laugh and grow
up like human beings. When a boy
has got the black plague somewhat
oit of his system and shows good
signs, let him then go out in society
again on the street cars and into
the many other places where we,
everybody, touch elbows with him.
IS THAT ALL?
"How long did it take you to learn '
to run a motor car?"
"Oh, three or four."
"Three or four weeks?"
"No, motor cars."
Artificial flowers for millinery are
being made to inclose tiny incandes- ,
cent lamps, which can be supplied"
with current from- storage "batteries
hidden inside their wearers' hats.
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