The First Interview

As I begin to prepare for my first interview with a former Bedford College student, I do feel a bit nervous. I know little about the subjects that the interviewee went to school for and I am worried this might have some effect upon the interview. But I also know this is a major learning opportunity. I will have the chance to hear about her experiences and record them so others will also have the chance to hear about them as well. I recognize that this is an exciting opportunity.

I hope this interview provides insight into what it was like to be a woman in science at a time there were far fewer females who chose a career path in science. It will be interesting to hear about why the interviewee chose to go into to science and her experiences both in school and after graduating. I myself always had very little interest in science while in school, so I think it will be interesting to speak with someone who chose to go into the field. I want to know why she chose science and what motivated her. Since Bedford College has now merged with Royal Holloway, I hope the interview will help provide historical information valuable to preserving the history of Bedford College as it was before the merger. I am curious to see how the experience of university life has changed over time.

My concerns over the project are mainly due to the fact that I know little about the subjects the interviewee studied. However, I feel my anxiety is misplaced since it is not actually necessary for me to know all about science to conduct the interview. I was nervous at first to call to set up the interview, but after speaking with the interviewee, I feel much better. She was very friendly and I look forward to meeting her. I am glad I will have this opportunity and to gain experience with oral history.

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Changing Police Tactics

When thinking about topics for an oral history project I might find interesting, I asked my father, a police officer, about events that had been significant to him within his lifetime. It was then I thought about the Columbine High School school shooting in 1999 because my father had been called in for work and I vividly remember watching it on the news. This school shooting, which occurred in Littleton, Colorado, significantly changed police tactics in response to school shootings and was, in many cases, an entirely new experience for many police officers. I think an interesting oral history project would be to speak with police officers who had been responders during the shooting and explore how police work has changed due to the shooting.

Two Columbine high school students acquired guns and on 20 April 1999, entered the school and fired on both staff and students in the library and cafeteria. Both students then committed suicide. In total, twelve students and one teacher were killed with 21 others injured by gunfire. Because of this attack, police tactics were significantly changed and the Immediate Action Rapid Deployment Tactic created, used in situation with an active shooter. Prior to this, tactics were more geared toward situations for hostages and for containment. Tactics were changed because police had not been prepared for this situation with the typical tactics.

I would like to speak with police officers that were present to see how police work has changed after this shooting. I think a project like this would be significant to oral history because of it caused the creation of an entirely new police tactic and changed how police work is now conducted, especially in respect to schools. This tactic has proved important in many ways at other school shootings making it very significant. Knowing how police work has changed would be very interesting and should be considered in oral history as significant.

Not only is it significant, but it is very relevant to current events today. There is still an ongoing fight for better gun control and school shootings are still a problem today. It also explains why elementary schools have active shooter drills alongside fire drills. An understanding of how police work has changed because of this event is as relevant today as it was in 1999.