AUGUST 3, 1957
HYDE PARK—"Juvenile Delinquency—A Radical Approach," by Dr. James J. Brennan, is a little pamphlet that carries a most important message. Dr. Brennan is Professor of Police Administration and Public Safety at Michigan State University, so he speaks with knowledge and authority.
He gives sobering figures. In the United States, in 1955, two million major crimes were known to the police. Not all of them were solved, of course, but in terms of arrests made, 42.3 percent of these crimes were committed by young people under 18 years old. And of those under-18-year-olds, 47.9 percent—or practically half of them—were less than 15 years old! Now remember, these figures apply only to major crimes, such as rape, murder, larceny, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft.
He discusses the causes of juvenile delinquency, the many conferences that have been held, the many things that have been done to meet the problem—and he points out that these things have never been really successful, because the problem still persists.
"We seem to have forgotten entirely the nature of man," Dr. Brennan says. "He is not mere physical matter, he is not merely an animal. He is possessed of a body and soul. We have, wittingly or not, cheated youth of the training and nourishment for their spiritual nature.
"Man is a citizen of two worlds. He belongs to the earth for now and to heaven for eternity. He must be trained for both abodes, and our intellect is prostituted if we do not appreciate the need for the greater training to prepare him to realize his final, eternal destiny."
This is the message of this little pamphlet. It means that youngsters must learn self-discipline, the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, and to want to do right. And since young people are the product of their whole environment—the home, the schools, the church and the community—it rests with all of us, in all those different but related areas, to try to build in our young people the character and the moral values which alone can end this problem of juvenile delinquency.
Dr. Brennan's pamphlet was sent to me by the publishers, American Viewpoint, Inc., 122 East 42nd Street, New York City.
On Wednesday the Encampment for Citizenship, run by Mr. Algernon Black, had its annual picnic here at Hyde Park. It was a very successful picnic, I think, with what seemed to me one of the biggest and most interested groups that have come here.
Every year, I marvel that these young people from 30 states, and of different nationalities and races, can come together and have such a successful period of work. On Tuesday, they had visited the United Nations in New York, and both Dr. Ralph Bunche and Mr. Cohen had spoken to them. Naturally, they asked me many questions about the U.N. on Wednesday.
It is always stimulating to me to find how interested in the work of the U.N. people become when they really understand the reason for it. The great trouble from which most of us suffer is the lack of sufficient knowledge to truly appreciate the things that are being done and the problems that are being met by the U.N.