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Her girl had missed too much school to pass, but can’t go to summer school. That costs $30, and “I haven’t got $30.” We drove, then, looking around. Gallardo indicated that over there was the bar that had been burglarized the other night. He showed the place under an overpass where he said the police park at night. The boys call the police “los perros,” which means the dogs. He turned off Colima onto a rutted dirt side street, a row of houses facing a field of Johnson grass. Two of the houses were backed up against a chemical products company, which, Gallardo said, lets its vats of acid run over. Between the two houses a rivulet of rust-colored, chemically smelly water was standing. Eleven children live in three houses affected by this; the mother of one said her nino had a skin sickness on the feet, and a little boy was running around with sores on his feet. The shacks along here, of unpainted board, have for back-yard several gutted shells of aban doned houses, littered with glass. A woman, gay and heavy, came to talk with Gallardo among these. Her three little ones, two girls and a boy, two to four or five years old, tagged along with her, and walked around barefoot on the ground. How could they keep from cutting their feet? “They have blood of Indian, that’s it,” she said, with a smile and a touch of pride. They have blood of Indian.” She talked with Gallardo a long time. A Gang Worker on the West Side When Roy Valdez was growing up on the West Side of San Antonio he had four brothers who tried to keep him away from the gangs. Come 8 o’clock at night they’d order him home, but he would sneak out. Then one of his big brothers came home from the service and found out he’d been running with a gang. “He gave me the thrashing of my life and told me to get in school and stay there,” Valdez said. “I know now that my brother cared for me. It’s the little things that make a guy go one way or another.” Valdez went to San Antonio College two years, finished his B.A. in sociology at St. Mary’s University, and is now doing his masters at Ward’s School of Social Work. A gang worker, operating out of the Episcopalians’ Good Samaritan Center on the West Side, he is spoken of respectfully by other social workers in the city, In 1963 he attended a sixweek seminar sponsored by the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Crime. The night before, driving, he had heard seven shots, Valdez said. “They didn’t hit whoever they were shooting at, though.” One of his co-workers at the center said, “A lot of weapons are coming into the neighborhood.” On some of the walls at the center there are striking paintings by a young man named Mario Lozano. A talented artist, he was a gang member as he grew up, and one of his paintings shows a gang fight at night, dark colors, struggling forms, dim street lights. When Lozano returned from the service, he went into a bar with some of his friends. A rival gang came on the scene and his friends fled, but he didn’t, and he was shot with a .22. He is going to college on the GI Bill and an art scholarship. In conversation he recounted a story about a writer by Henry James and spoke of Hemingway and the integrity of the artist. There are, Valdez said in a long conversation, several kinds of gangs in his experience. A natural gang just springs up and persists. Some of the members have inherited fights from older brothers as much as 13 years back. An inherited gang is held together by family lines. An aggressive gang likes to go outside the borders of its territory, looking for trouble. A friendship gang, or a defensive gang, doesn’t give anybody any trouble, but they can withstand a threat into their territory. The kind of gang a gang is depends a lot on the individuals in it. An instigator goes looking for fights and can turn a gang toward aggression. Each gang finds its natural leader and relies on him. The leader may have a weapons man who keeps the weapons, or the leader may keep them. Prospective gang members may be tested required to fool around with barbituates, or steal a car, commit a burglary, go sock a guy, ask him for a quarter, to prove that they can do something outside the law, and of course get away with it. “We’ll back you upPut a scare on him,” Valdez said they tell the new boy. “If he succeeds, fine. If he gets beaten up, he has to try again.” A Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Larry Lee. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Greg Olds, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strewn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. boy can get status among his pals by being in on something like this. “If he was in a car during a shooting, he can say, ‘I was there’.” Afterwards they might tell a gang worker. “They’ve got to tell somebody. They do want to know right and wrong.” The last count he knew of, Valdez said, there were 48 gangs in San Antonio. In his area, which is four square miles, there are 13 gangs. He works with only four. There are lots of people in this area he and his center don’t reach at all. In his area, the worst gang area in San Antonio. the members of the teen-age gangs are not a minority, they are, he says, a majority. Each gang has a carefully defined territory. For a strange boy or a suspected member of June 10, 1966 3 The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present it is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS; Fort Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Clifford Dr., PA 3-8682; Huntsville, Jessie L. Murphree, Box 2284 SHS; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c: prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER @ Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 10 7c tei June 10, 1966