More on Juvenile Gangs
© 2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com - Originally posted as a rough-draft to Twitter on 11/15/21
I think maybe the tweet, below. garnered the highest number of likes and re-tweets of any so far. But my followers comments about it got me to thinking …
My younger brothers and I were sort of, “let loose” on the neighborhood, starting when I was 8, and onward. Both Mom and Pop worked. I made breakfast for the younger guys. We had a “gang” of sorts. Its nexus included three other brothers whose mom worked, along with a few others who had moms playing the June Cleaver role. Actually, our environment pretty-well paralleled the one depicted on”Leave it to Beaver,” which was being shot at that very time, only 40 miles away, in Hollywood. With some editing to cut out our foul language, our harmless pranks and shennanigans could have been seamlessly spliced into that show.
I’m not saying we were ignored by our working parents, but how much quality face-time could they afford in the evening hours, considering their fatigue, the competition from the TV, catch-up housework and–in a semi-tropical area—kids playing outside in the yard and street till 9:00 pm? Yes, there was a juvenile delinquency problem, somewhere in town. It was actually a major nightly subject in our small-town newspaper. Maybe there were gangs as well, but but definitely not in our lower-middle-class neighborhood.
So, my point: I have to admit it — even caring, engaged parents have a much bigger challenge keeping their kids out of gangs while living in poor neighborhoods.
A given gang member isn’t, prima facie, a product SOLELY of parental neglect. There is definitely an economic factor in play as well.
This short piece I wrote several years ago gives the reader some insight into how lucky my brothers and I were to live where we lived.