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Unformatted text preview: tions and inhibitions. So the boy or girl finds a world
without discipline, is without the restraints imposed on the sex instincts and comes under the influence of
derelicts, sex-adventurers, thieves, vagabonds and the aimless of all sorts. Into this university of the vices
most of the girls I am speaking of drifted, largely because the home influence either was of the street type or
had no advantages to offer in competition with the street.
But the child on the streets is no more a solitary individual than the savage is, or for that matter the civilized
man. He quickly forms part of a group, a roving group, called "The Gang." In the large cities gangs are
usually composed of boys of one age or nearly so; in the small towns the gangs will consist of the boys of a
neighborhood. In fact, regardless of whether they are street children or home children, boys form gangs
spontaneously. The gang is the first voluntary organization of society, for the home, in so far as the child is
concerned, is an involuntary organization. The gang has its leader or leaders, usually the strongest or the best
fighter. At any rate, the best fighter is the nominal leader, though a shrewder lad may assume the real power. CHAPTER II. 20 The gang has rules, it plays according to regulations, its quarrels are settled according to a code, property has
a definite status and distribution. The members of the gang are always quarreling with each other, but here,
as in the larger aggregations of older human beings, "politics ends at the border," and the gang is a unit against
foreign aggression. Indeed, gangs of a neighborhood may league against a group of other gangs, as did the
quarreling cities of Greece against Persia.
 In the gang of which I was a member there was a ritual in the formation of partnership, an association
within the association. Two boys, fond of each other and desiring to become partners, would link little fingers,
while a third boy acting as a sort of priest--an elder of the gang--would raise his hand and strike the link,
shouting, "Partners, partners,...
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- Spring '11