Q1. Could you tell us where you're from.
A1. Okay. I'm from the United States of America. Originally I was born in New Jersey in a town called Roxbury that's about an hour outside of New York. But now I go to university at the University of Maryland outside of Washington D.C.
Q2. In terms of when you were young then, did you spend much time outside, say, playing with friends, or were you restricted to play indoors...?
A2. There were no real restrictions. Both my parents worked, so there weren't very many restrictions. My sister, I couldn't tell you how my sister grew up, I just don't remember, it was so long ago, her being six years older than me. My brother spent a lot of time outside of course being a sportsman. I spent, I always had a fair share of friends, I did not spend too much time outside. It was mostly inside. I was what I would call a very lazy kid. I watched a lot of television, and once I bought my first guitar I never went outside, I was always fiddling with the guitar. So, not too much of an outdoors person.
Q3. Did you feel safe in the area that you lived?
A3. I felt very safe. But of course, all of the culture of the area is the New York culture. Everyone's parents were people who probably grew up a lot closer or within the city. I know that my parents are from New York City, which has classically been known as a dangerous place. So I think a lot of the rules on the children of that generation, the children of people whose parents are from New York, were a lot stricter as far as "be careful." There was probably no reason to, but we locked our doors every night. Probably no reason to but we very rarely walked alone anywhere.
Q4. Is that you very rarely walked alone day or night?
A4. No. During the daytime, you wouldn't feel a problem anywhere. Very open area.
Q5. So people generally exercise caution...?
A5. Yes. There was always caution. But there was no need, there was no need for fear, at the time especially.
Q6. Were there parts of the town or of the city that you lived in, places that you would avoid for one reason or another? Or was everything pretty much the same?
A6. Of course anywhere that was more urbanized we tried to stay away from. Because it was so spread out, it was very difficult to get there, unless you had a bicycle, and it would still be a 20-30 minute ride to bicycle down to somewhere that would be even considered minutely urban. But the place was just too suburban to really have many places to worry about. But anywhere near a lot of businesses where there were apartments as opposed to houses, was an area that we were cautioned against. "Don't come here alone," "never come here alone," uh..."try not to come here at all." But mostly I think for traffic safety purposes, more than actual crime.
Q7. Did you have any concerns when you were a child? Things that you specifically worried about?
A7. I always worried about older children, of course, gangs of older children maybe trying to beat me up and steal my money when I was very young.
Q8.Were there any other kinds of crimes in that area that were notable?
A8. There was always small robberies. No one ever got their house completely robbed. No one would ever, what I would say, bring a truck and move out all the stereo equipment or televisions. Completely notable? Sometimes a business would be robbed. I think one time somebody tried to rob a bank in a nearby area and they were quickly stopped. We have a, maybe overly powerful police force that was always looked down upon because you could always see a police car somewhere riding through. But I think mostly the reason for the, such a strong police force is because we were on a major road, an artery to New York, so there would be drug trafficking through the area. This again was something I didn't know until I became much older, having had conversations, deeper conversations, with the police. But there was always strong drug prevention programs, I didn't really know why until I became older and realized that it's major route for people to go into New York.
Q9. Have you yourself ever been a victim of a crime?
A9. I've been, I've had things stolen from me. A small crime as that, within my high school even. So this was, someone had gone into a room that wasn't locked and routed through everyone's bag and a Walkman was stolen from me, and I think people's cameras were stolen. Small things, but it was a big deal at the time.
Q10. Perhaps another student?
A10. Perhaps another student. We did have security guards in our school, but that was mostly for internal security, as opposed to external security. So in all likeliness it was a student or several students.
Q11. These days we've seen in the papers that weapons have been brought to schools. Have you heard of any such thing yourself personally?
A11.I can't recall offhand specifically. But I've heard plenty of stories of students bringing always knives, even when I was student people would bring knives to school. Switchblades and stilettos, butterfly knives, things that were illegal. Mostly the students would have it because they thought it was cool. Very rarely in a school fight would I hear of anything ever being used, mostly because school fights would become so quick, there'd be no time to bring out weapons. And I think there was a tendency not to want to kill somebody, so of course people would want to use bats or sticks as opposed to knives. I think there has been an instance perhaps in my school where somebody was, somebody thought there was a gun. And definitely, we've had bomb scares, people saying that there have been bombs planted in the school, and we would have to stay in our classrooms and have a guard dog sniff out to see if anything has actually happened. I don't think any of them have materialized in to actually being a real threat. So they're all people that just didn't want to take a test next period.