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In a telephone interview from jail, Fresno shooting spree suspect Kori Ali Muhammad said Wednesday that he went on his deadly rampage near downtown to draw attention to the plight of black women and children who have been kidnapped, raped, and killed by white people.
This is bigger than me, he told The Bee. This is just a warning. If America does not treat black people right, it will be destroyed by God. In a rambling, hourlong interview in which he talked about voodoo, mental illness, world destruction and the election of President Donald Trump, Muhammad showed no remorse for the victims and no fear of a possible death penalty. They tell black people all the time to get over it. So I say get over it. There will be no pity party. The interview came on the same day the District Attorney s Office charged him with three counts of murder in connection with the April 18 shooting spree that left three people dead: Zackary David Randalls, 34, of Clovis; Mark James Gassett, 37, of Fresno; and David Martin Jackson, 58, of Fresno.
He also was charged with the attempted murders of Stephen Walter, Michael Flores and Mark Greer, shooting at an occupied vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Muhammad, 39, was charged last week with murder in Fresno County Superior Court in the April 13 shooting death of security guard Carl Allen Williams III at Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno. He also is accused of the attempted murder that night of security guard Oscar Menjivar. If convicted of the multiple murders, Muhammad could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not yet made that decision. Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said the four killings were fueled by Muhammad s hatred of white people. Muhammad is black. All of the murder victims were white. His arraignment is pending the outcome of a psychiatric evaluation that was ordered by Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin last Friday after Muhammad entered the courtroom in shackles and yelled: Let black people go!
Hamlin suspended criminal proceedings and appointed a doctor to examine Muhammad. Hamlin then rescheduled Muhammad s arraignment for May 12. Until then, Muhammad will remain in jail in lieu of $2.6 million bail, Hamlin said. RELATED: Listen to Muhammad s jail call to The Bee. In Wednesday s interview, Muhammad acknowledged he targeted white people, saying he let some Hispanic people go. But he said he is not a racist: You won t find anyone who will say I was disrespectful toward another human being or have oppressed them.
On the other hand, Muhammad said, America s history books are filled with chapters of white people buying slaves, mistreating them and lynching them. He contends white people still kidnap, rape and murder black people, but no one cares. Because of this mistreatment, he said, black people deserve their own land and government, and the U.S. should pay them reparations. Muhammad also said too much fuss is given to his victims because they are white. It would be a different story if black people had been killed, he said. He also said he can t understand why people are so upset with him. No one complained when George Washington slaughtered the British, he said.
He blamed former President Barack Obama for America s current troubles, saying Obama set it up for President Donald Trump to win. Trump will take us on a rocket ship to hell, he said. He said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would have been a better president. He confessed to killing the four people in Fresno to let Americans know that something bigger plagues, earthquakes, hurricanes, and freak accidents are about to happen unless they treat black people better. Related stories from The Fresno Bee
Before 3 men were killed in a rampage shooting, Fresno was already seeing a rise in hate crimes
But he also apologized to the Fresno community for doing the killings. In his opinion, race relations here are good compared to other places America. Black people are not being gunned down by police or hung in trees, he said. It s fairly civilized here.
Court records say Muhammad has several aliases, including Kori McWallace, Kori Taylor, Cory Allen Taylor and Cory Allen Muhammad. Muhammad said he grew up in Fresno as Cory X. Taylor and attended Washington Union and Edison high schools before moving to Sacramento. He said he became a Muslim and a disciple of Wallace Fard Muhammad, co-founder of the Nation of Islam. As a teenager, he said, he participated in the Nation of Islam s Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995. In October 2006, he was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Fresno to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to court records. But during court proceedings, his federal public defender, Eric Kersten described Muhammad as paranoid and eccentric with some bizarre beliefs. Kersten also told the judge that Muhammad suffered from auditory hallucinations and had at least two prior mental health hospitalizations, and believes his counsel conspired against him, court records say.
He was released from prison in September 2011 and placed on supervised release. He completed supervised release in September last year, court records say. In Wednesday s interview, Muhammad said he suffers from schizophrenia. He then gave details about his crime spree, starting with his fight with Williams at Motel 6. Muhammad said he went to the motel with a woman on April 13 to help her heal. He said he planned to perform black magic and voodoo on her. But Williams and another security officer told them he had to pay an extra $6 fee to stay in the room.
According to Muhammad, Williams cursed him and disrespected him. So I shot him, he said. It had nothing to do with his race. I m not even sure if Williams is white. He looked Hispanic to me. He said he hid in Fresno until April 18, when he learned that police were looking for him. At first he said he thought about turning himself in. Then my mental illness kicked in, he said. As he walked toward downtown through neighborhoods near Belmont Avenue and Fulton Street, he began thinking about how his father had mistreated him as a child. He said his thoughts turned to how white people had enslaved black people and lynched them. Then he began thinking about black women and children turning up dead in lakes and rivers, sometimes with missing body parts. I just snapped, he said.
The murder weapon has not been found. Muhammad said the Ogun, the god of hunters, warriors and blacksmiths, gave the weapon to him. After the killings, Muhammad said he gave it back to Ogun, who was in the body of a Hispanic man. Fresno police have offered a $2,000 reward for the gun.
Muhammad said he doesn t know if he will plead guilty to the charges.
People don t appreciate the black man, he said. We built pyramids and trade routes and made great nations. We are the first to walk the Earth and we will be the last to walk it.
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Rating: 1.0/10 (4 votes cast)
White people need to get over it, Fresno shooting rampage suspect says, 1.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
When the 2018 Cup season rolls into Daytona next February, it ll be the first time since 1978 that a guy named Dale Earnhardt won t be racing full time in Cup. I m guessing you heard Earnhardt Jr. is retiring after this season? I for one am not surprised. I d have bet he wouldn t race at all this season after missing most of last season. Plus, if you read between the lines, he said he was returning because he wanted to retire on his own terms.
He can t be having any fun with an average finish this season of 23.75. He has one finish better than 14th a fifth at Texas. Half the races he s finished 30th or worse, including 37th at Daytona, 30th at Atlanta, 34th at Martinsville and 38th last weekend in Bristol. He s 24th in points a whopping 226 behind the leader. To answer my own question, I believe the answer is yes. A couple of years ago I m not sure it would. Earnhardt Jr. is so popular when he takes the lead at any track people outside barbequing in the next town over can hear the roar of the crowd. ESPN stats tell us when Earnhardt Jr. retires at the end of the 2017 season, four of the top 30 drivers in career Cup Series wins will have retired over the past three seasons.
Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion whose 93 wins rank third all time, hung it up after the 2015 season, returning for eight races last season in place of an injured Earnhardt. Tony Stewart, a three-time champion and 49-time winner on the Cup circuit (ranking 13th), retired after last season. Carl Edwards, like Earnhardt one of the winningest drivers among those to never win a championship, shockingly retired following last season, when he was among the four drivers racing for a championship in the season finale.
The good news for NASCAR is there are some good young guys running up front. With eight races in the books, the average age of the top five in points is 28. That includes Chase Elliot who s 21 and Kyle Larson who s 24-years-old. Joey Logano, who seems like has been around for more than a decade, is only 26. Ryan Blaney is 23, Erik Jones is 20 and Trevor Bayne is 26. Six of the top 13 drivers in points are 26-years-old or younger. In my opinion there are more good young drivers around than there are good quality rides. The segments have changed the game big time, even more than I thought it would. Toss in the seven playoff points up for grabs in every race and the on-track product is as good as it s been. It ll still take some time for the older fans to get that bad taste out of their months from the daffy Chase deal, but I think if they sit and watch a few races they ll enjoy what they see. Sure, it ll never be like the old days, but nothing is.
NASCAR recently announced the format for All-Star Race on May 20. The race will feature four segments, three 20-lap segments followed by a 10-lap segment with only 10 drivers. The winner of each of the first three segments will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage. The cars with the best average finish in the first three segments will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage.
The remaining 10 cars will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and given the option to pit. Exit off pit road determines starting order for final stage. The winner will be awarded $1,000,000. The strategy component: Each team will have one set of softer tires available to use at their discretion. This softer tire provides the car with more grip and, thus, more speed. But there s a catch: teams that choose to put on their softer tires to start the final stage must start behind those that choose regular tires.
With the sale of Thunder Road, the majority of attention is on Tom Curley and Ken Squier. Vice President/General Manager Darla Hartt, who has been around since 1979, is also in for a major adjustment this season. The day I heard Thunder Road was sold, I dropped her an e-mail asking how she felt. She replied, This is a good thing, and will allow both Tom and I to spend some time at a slower pace, less stress, and finding out what other people consider normal ! Obviously, we ll be around for the Tour events at Thunder Road, but any other events will be at a whim. We are both pretty happy, but will certainly miss a few folks who ve come to mean a lot to us. I interviewed Darla in depth back in May of 2013.
A couple of questions I asked were:
BIG: Tom has said, starting this season (remember it was 2013), he s cutting back. He recently announced his son-in-law Derek Lynch will be running the Quebec Series and it s no secret Thunder Road is for sale. Do you see yourself continuing with the new owners or will you be done when Tom hands the keys to the new guys? DAR: I think most people realize that Tom and I are partners outside of racing and that obviously has a lot of bearing on our future. I ve spent over two-thirds of my life involved in the business of racing, and feel very privileged to have done so, and continue to enjoy it. That being said, there are lots of things on our list that we d like to do, so only time and circumstance can dictate what the future will bring. BIG: How do you feel when you think about someone other than Tom and Ken owning Thunder Road?
DAR: Change is a necessary part of life, but having spent so many years nurturing this, as Tom, I am most interested in seeing it continue to grow, and will do whatever I can to ensure that. As far as someone else owning Thunder Road other than Tom and Ken? At some point it s inevitable, but I think the footprint they leave will have a sustaining, positive effect on its future.
From The Mail Bag
Billy from South Paris, ME wrote: I was surprised to learn at the PASS race at Oxford last weekend that the race teams have to pay an entry fee for each race. Do you know what the fee is and does the ACT Late Model Tour also charge the teams a fee to race?
Can you also tell me what each series pays out in race winnings? I found an entry form for the upcoming PASS race at Star Speedway in Epping, NH, May 6. The fee for licensed drivers who file early is $80. If you miss the deadline the cost is $110. For non-licensed drivers the early registration is $100 while those missing the cut off pay $125. I m sure it s cheaper if teams file a full-season entry form. The payoff is: 1. $3,200, 2. $1,800, 3. $1,200, 4. $1,000, 5. $850, 6. $750, 7. $700, 8. $650, 9. $600, 10. $550, 11. $525, 12. $500, 13. $475, 14. $450, 15. $425, and 16th back pays $400 each.
ACT charges $350 for teams who file a full-season entry form for the 10 races. Others, who just race now and again, pay $50 a race if they file a timely entry and $100 if they miss the deadline. The payoff for Lee was: 1. $3,000, 2. $1,800, 3. $1,200, 4. $1,000, 5. $900, 6. $800, 7. $775, 8. $750, 9. $725, 10. $700, 11. $680, 12. $660, 13. $640, 14. $620, 15. $610, 16. $600, 17. $590, 18. $580, 19. $570, 20. $560, 21. $550, 22. $540, 23. $530, 24. $520. They ended up starting 29 cars, so I m guessing from 25th back received $500 each.
RESULTS Oxford Plains Speedway, April 23: 1. Reid Lanpher, 2. Cole Butcher, 3. Glen Luce, 4. Ben Rowe, 5. Nick Sweet, 6. Donny Culprit, 7. Joe Squeglia, 8. Shawn Martin, 9. Cassius Clark, 10. David Farrington, 11. Scott Mulkern, 12. Tracy Gordon, 13. John Peters, 14. Jeremy Davis, 15. Scott McDaniel, 16. Johnny Clark, 17. Derek Griffith, 18. TJ Bracket, 19. Matthew Swanson, 20. Travis Benjamin, 21. DJ Shaw, 22. Angelo Belisto, 23. Dylan Gosbee, 24. Joe Pastore, 25. Garrett Hall, 26. Greg Fahey, 27. John Salemi, 28. Joey Doiron, 29. Travis Stearns, 30. Sarah Cornett-Ching, 31. Mike Landry, 32. Adam Polvinen, 33. Brad Babb, 34. Tim Brackett, 35. Dan McKeage, 36. Mark Lundbland, 37. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 38. Bobby Sezer Jr., 39. Kyle Treadwell, 40. Mike Rowe.
N.H. Governor s Cup 150
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR RESULTS Lee (NH) USA Speedway, April 23: 1. Dillon Moltz, 2. Alex Labbe, 3. Jonathan Bouvrette, 4. Scott Payea, 5. Jason Corliss, 6. Donald Theetge, 7. Spencer Morse, 8. Eddie MacDonald, 9. Rich Dubeau, 10. Bobby Therrien, 11. Rowland Robinson Jr., 12. Dany Trepanier, 13. Jimmy Hebert, 14. Kyle Welch, 15. Miles Chipman, 16. Josh Masterson, 17. Quinny Welch, 18. Matt Anderson, 19. Ray Christian, 20. Claude Leclerc, 21. Mike Ziter, 22. Glenn Martel, 23. Corey Mason, 24. Mathieu Kingsbury, 25. Mark Jenison, 26. Oren Remick, 27. Jimmy Linardy, 28. Mark Hudson, 29. Scott Dragon.
Upcoming Short Track Racing:
PASS heads to the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME, for the Beech Ridge 300. Post time is 2 p.m. This race also awards PASS Super Late Model National Championship Series points. Thunder Road Kicks off their season with the downtown Barre Car Show and an open practice. The car show runs from 9 a.m. to noon with a pit stop contest at 10:30 a.m. At noon the cars fire up and drive to the track.
Bear Ridge Speedway The Upper Valley Car Show is being held in partnership once again with The Fireside Inn in West Lebanon, NH, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Speedway 51 Management has canceled the car show at the Green Mountain Mall set for April 29. They have continually contacted racers about attending this show and have not received the kind of commitment necessary to make it work. Thunder Road It s the ACT Late Model Tour Merchants Bank 150. The Tigers and Streets are also in action. Post time is 1 p.m.
Until Next Week
Visit a short track this weekend, but remember: If you re not having fun, stay home and don t bother those of us who are.
Darla Hartt 2013 Interview
Q&A with ACT s Darla Hartt
BIG: First off, it wouldn t be politically correct to ask, What s a cute girl like you doing a place like this? So allow me to rephrase that. How, in a sport where only a few decades ago rule No. 1 was, No women or children allowed in the pits , did you become the Vice President/General Manager of a major sanctioning body? How long have you worked for Tom Curley, and what was your first position?
DAR: My first involvement came as the result of the shortest want ad ever in the Times Argus, looking for someone to fill a temporary secretarial position. As a high school senior I needed a job before college, and when I recognized the Catamount/Thunder Road hotline number as the ad contact, I was in heaven! I answered the ad, went for an interview, impressed the boss with my fast and accurate typing skills, but the real sell was my ability with stenography. Tom had never seen that done, and was very impressed and, as I recall, dictated a couple of letters that he probably needed to get out that afternoon. I got a call that afternoon offering me the job, which I joyfully accepted part time after school for the last two months of school and full time through the summer. What a thrill. That was in April 1979. I was hired as the secretary and at my first race at Catamount was taken off my original assignment and thrust into the concession stand. That was the beginning of my learning how to flex as it s known amongst our staff and officials. I believe this will be my 35th race year with Tom, and I still am always excited to see the season begin.
BIG: Tell us a little about your childhood, where were you born? What were you like in high school?
DAR: I m a native Vermonter, born and raised in Waterbury Center. I m the middle of five kids, and had a glorious, normal, dirt road childhood. My maiden name is Ripley, and I grew up on Ripley Road, on land that was part of my grandfather s farm, with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins in close proximity. As is true with lots of kids in Vermont, my elementary school served just my town, but the middle and high school incorporated kids from towns in the area. My cousin Beth was the same age as me, and as young teens we spent lots of time together in Moretown. I was able to catch the bus from school and go spend weekends there.
BIG: Where did racing start for you? What was the first track you went to, how old were you and who brought you?
DAR: It was on one of those weekends that I first got to jump in the back of my Uncle Cedric s pickup truck with other cousins and kids, and head to the races. I think our first was Catamount. It was awesome. The cars were fast and beautiful, the racers had great nicknames, and we were certain that we could impact the results just by cheering louder than other fans. I was under the spell immediately, and must admit I still am. We went to races at Catamount and Thunder Road as often as we could and never missed the opportunity to visit the pits after the race to see our favorite. Joey Kid Kourafas was a particular favorite, and we both treasured our Never Say Surrender Kourafas Fan Club cards. Dynamite Dave Dion was another favorite and it would be a big moment for me when I met him years later as a member of the staff. Racing can also be a troublemaker sometimes, as when Beth s brother bought his first car, unfortunately for him, it was purple, the same as Perry Paquettes. We couldn t resist painting a big white number on it, just like Perry s, which I believe was 32. We were not popular at her house for a while. Ironically, Beth would end up marrying her own race driver, Owen Wimble, years later and their daughter Lacey is now Brooks Clark s wife. Unfortunately, Beth passed away long before Lacey was old enough to date.
BIG: Did you go to college? If so, did they offer Racing 101? What was your major?
DAR: Summer of 1979 turned too quickly into autumn, and I was pleased when Tom wrote a letter for me to be excused from student orientation at Johnson State College, since they d booked against the Milk Bowl, and I had to be there. But, I headed to Johnson after the Milk Bowl, and pretty quickly realized that the party scene wasn t where I wanted to be, especially after the great summer I d spent working at the NASCAR North office. So I called Tom and asked for a meeting. At that time, the office was closed from October to March, but I explained to Tom that I loved my job, didn t love college, so he needed to figure out something for me to do until the next race season, and he did. For my first two winters, I did racing research for Ken Squier during our off-season. His assistant, Della, was my mentor, and hearing the tidbits that I d gathered and assembled used during his broadcasts was a real tickle for me. It also made it possible for me to stay with Tom and David Paris during race season as our entire office staff. Eventually we got to the point of being full time, year-round. I came into racing at a wonderful time, and just happened into a great situation. Ken was doing lots of TV work with racing and had convinced Tom to work with him during our off-season, so I occasionally got hired as well. My first airplane trip ever was to Rockingham to help with the production of a stunt driver competition and race broadcast. We flew down on Thursday and, in those days, people dressed to travel. We went directly from the airport to the track, where Ken hurried through the back gate, Tom was being shuffled in and me, in my business skirt, had my first experience with the old policies. Despite no practice happening, no official racing anything going on a Thursday, I was informed by the gate guard that women weren t allowed in the pits in skirts. Only with some convincing from Tom was I finally admitted. A whole new experience for a little girl from Vermont!
But, I must admit, the best experiences have been at our own tracks with our own touring teams. The characters I ve become acquainted with, the special friends I ve made and the emotional highs and lows I wouldn t trade for anything. I have special, life-long friendships that were forged in the pits, along the highways, and over years and years of spending every summer Thursday night or weekend together.
BIG: This is one of my all-time least favorite questions, but I ll ask anyways. What do you see yourself doing today if racing didn t work out (our work defines us, so how would we know)?
DAR: Well, the original plan and the reason for enrolling at Johnson State, was to become an elementary or special ed teacher. If I hadn t answered that want ad with the hotline number, who knows?
BIG: As an official you re not allowed any favorites but, between you, me and the few dozen people who read this column, who are a few of the drivers, owners or crews from the old Pro Stock and NASCAR North tours that stand out in your memory, and why?
DAR: Favorites from the past? There are lots of them, but some of the ones who come to mind: Dick McCabe, Junior Hanley, Dave Dion, Beaver Dragon, Jean-Paul Cabana, Tracy Gordon, Claude Leclerc, and Dave Whitlock. They all helped to bring racing in the Northeast to a new level of acceptance by the mainstream. Their professionalism, attention to detail, competitive spirit and desire to constantly improve their programs made them each very successful, and made our jobs as organizers easier by presenting a wonderful product. Whitlock was not only a top competitor, but he and his team usually six in a crew cab truck travelled hundreds of miles to and from each event, without one word of complaint, ever. Stan Meserve and Bubby Wilder, both former officials, each contributing far more than their job titles ever indicated. They both brought a lot of heart to the pits, and truly cared about ALL the racers. Anyone would be well served to emulate either of them. Gardiner and June Leavitt, who put on so many miles when Gard was racing, then as car owners, then as parts purveyors, they just are racing in the Northeast, and have fed and cared for more of us than any of us can count.
Elaine Stockwell and Charlotte Fadden, ladies who not only supported their favorite participant, but helped put the show on with their efforts in scoring and organizing. Doc Nielsen, our chief scorer for so many years, who impressed on anyone in his path that good systems are important and what s right, is right. Dave Moody, who started a bit after me, but we essentially grew up together in racing, and share so many stories, some of which can t be told.
BIG: Again just between you, me and the few dozen people who read this column, are there any drivers you just as soon not share a meal with from the old days and why?
DAR: Really no. I ve got opinions certainly, but really, they re all part of the reason I ve enjoyed what I do for so long. They keep it real, and they certainly keep it exciting. And, I always enjoy a good discussion.
BIG: You re one of only four people (the others being Moody, Wilder and Joey Laquerre) who have won both of the two most prestigious awards given at the year-end banquet: the Don MacTavish Award (started in 1969 Darla won it in 1987) and the Ken Squier Award (started in 1978 Darla won it in 1990). Can you remember the moments when you found out you were going to be honored and your thoughts?
DAR: The MacTavish Award Oh, I certainly remember the moment. I won it with David Paris and neither of us had any idea until our names were read. And that was quite an accomplishment since back then we were the entire banquet committee. Seems to me there was a fib about someone forgetting to pick the trophy up from the engraver. It was a huge thrill, although I wasn t around when Don MacTavish was competing, I knew about him about his dedication to racing, and from Tom Curley and previous recipients and friends who knew him, I was well aware of what high esteem he was held in. It is an honor to be included as one of the names engraved on that cup, and I get to welcome a new addition each year. The Ken Squier Award? Well, were it not for Ken having built both Catamount and Thunder Road, my career path would have been much different, and I continue to have a front row seat to his dedication to racing in this neck of the woods. It s humbling to be given an award for doing something you just love, but I am very proud of both the Squier and the MacTavish.
BIG: Thousands of fans have never been at the back gate at Thunder Road, six hours before post time when the pit windows open and we re greeted by you, Tina Gallison and Marsha Guyette and others, and your very long day begins. People who listen to the scanner on race days hear, Darla go to channel whatever a few dozen times during any event. What are some of the challenges you face race day?
DAR: Could be almost anything. I m involved in the administrative end of things primarily, so if we run out of tickets, I find a solution. I coordinate special guest appearances, fireworks, and all kinds of things. I am the point person with security, and gate personnel. My job description on race day doesn t necessarily have a description. When you ve been around as long as I have, if you can t do it yourself, the likelihood is you know the person who can. In the past few years I ve been assigned to the spotters stand to coordinate information with the team spotters and race control. That is a volatile, exciting place to be, and one that I really enjoy.
BIG: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
DAR: There are lots. Finishing a successful day with a great race, sharing a victory lane moment with a brand new winner, traveling to lots of different tracks, painting the wall at Thunder Road, sharing memories with old pals, and recently, working with newer staffers to help ensure that racing is in good hands going forward. My very favorite is going into the infield on Milk Bowl morning, in the mist, to just contemplate the seasons past, and wonder for a moment about who might stand in victory lane later in the day, and whether they ll actually kiss the cow!
BIG: What is the least favorite part of your job?
DAR: Knowing that there is no explanation or words that will soothe a disappointed team, and sharing their pain.
BIG: What are your thoughts the morning of a race? Do you enjoy going to the track as much as you did say 20 years ago?
DAR: I try to be very organized in my thinking. With the list of tasks at hand that makes things easier for everyone.
Do I still enjoy going to the track? Oh yeah, although I think my reasons have changed a bit. It used to be that I enjoyed the frenzy and had a secret rooting interest for the day. Now, I really am interested in a smooth, enjoyable day for everyone, and my special interest is in the teams who need a lift, or the newer teams who are trying to find the right fit. Don t get me wrong, I m pleased for the veterans when they have a great day, but there is something really great about a situation like Jimmy Hebert s first win at Lee this Spring, the pure joy the team experiences is infectious.
BIG: What keeps you busy during the week at the Waterbury office?
DAR: My week at the office? I am the sanction liaison with tracks on the ACT and the Quebec Series, do the accounting of each event, coordinate tire records, design ads, handle correspondence, take care of ticketing, various ordering and scheduling, and whatever comes across my desk.
BIG: What are a few of your favorite tracks, and why? And no I m not going to ask about least favorite tracks, that wouldn t be fair.
DAR: My favorite tracks: Thunder Road is definitely at the top of that list. Where else can you get your racing fix, while staring out at such a beautiful view? And I m a fool for history, and the Nation s Site of Excitement is steeped in it. I will admit, though, it was a bit daunting when we were preparing for the 50th anniversary to realize I ve been around for considerably more than half of that! A lot of my history is there too, I guess.
The only other one I ll name right now is Dover because that s where I got a kiss on the cheek from Bobby Allison. He was my hero in a Cup car. And there we were, our race series, in the same pit area those were the days.
BIG: Tom Curley is known to have what can be called a very short fuse . You do a great job of going through most race days with a smile on your face. But there have been times when you go, let s say a little nuts yourself. What is it that gets you the most fired up on race days?
DAR: On race day the thing that most often raises my ire is someone who thinks a rule is for everyone else. We have always prided ourselves at treating everyone the same, and it does get my goat when someone insists that they should be the exception to a rule that applies to everyone, and then gets upset with me when I disagree. I m a stickler for systems, and try to always put a lot of thought into the reasons for each element. There is a reason for every rule, and I m happy to explain it, but sometimes am not afforded the opportunity, that does it for me.
BIG: Tom has said, starting this season, he s cutting back. He recently announced his son-in-law Derek Lynch will be running the Quebec Series and it s no secret Thunder Road is for sale. Do you see yourself continuing with the new owners or will you be done when Tom hands the keys to the new guys?
DAR: I think most people realize that Tom and I are partners outside of racing and that obviously has a lot of bearing on our future. I ve spent over two-thirds of my life involved in the business of racing, and feel very privileged to have done so, and continue to enjoy it. That being said, there are lots of things on our list that we d like to do, so only time and circumstance can dictate what the future will bring.
BIG: How do you feel when you think about someone other than Tom and Ken owning Thunder Road?
DAR: Change is a necessary part of life, but having spent so many years nurturing this, as Tom, I am most interested in seeing it continue to grow, and will do whatever I can to ensure that. As far as someone else owning Thunder Road other than Tom and Ken? At some point it s inevitable, but I think the footprint they leave will have a sustaining, positive effect on its future.
Sergeant Rebel Roberts has worked for Safety and Security since 1983. Her responsibilities include teaching a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course, investigating sexual assault cases on campus and helping students in a broader role through various Safety and Security functions. Her unique kindness and compassion when helping students has built her reputation as a Safety and Security officer.
What first brought you to Dartmouth?
RR: I went to college and I thought I was going to go into elementary education and become a teacher, special education. And I was at a presentation at my college, and it was a security presentation. They basically told me that there are two ways to defend yourself. And it was at an all-female residence hall, and it was very kind of brutal. I took away that I did not know if I could do that. I stumbled on the security office and met this wonderful security director at my college, and he asked me if I would be interested in working part-time for him. He really was a great mentor, and I got very interested in security work there.
What is it like being a female in a typically male-dominated industry?
RR: I really like that I have a voice in different things that go on in a level in which there are not a lot of female voices. I am usually very straightforward and try to think about what other people might want to say that is going to equalize things. I really love doing the work I do and working with the community. There have been a lot of challenges over the years. I think, when I started, women were not widely in this work nor police work in this particular area, and I think we were looked at differently perhaps and not as skilled. Hopefully that has evolved and changed.
What are some of the challenges you ve faced over your career?
RR: I think my biggest challenge in my heart has been keeping everyone safe and making sure everyone is okay. If you talk specifically about this type of work, I think a lot of people may not understand that we have a devoted staff. You have to be devoted to be in this type of work. You kind of have to love what you do because you see a big and wide spectrum of things. If I look from a historical standpoint, from when I ve started until now, part of the challenge in the beginning was some of the things embedded in tradition. I think the more diverse Dartmouth becomes, the more beautiful it becomes. In the beginning, I think it was not as open to that, and there have been some more embedded traditions that have since gone away, and there s a lot more work to be done.
Why do you think students may harbor negative perceptions of Safety and Security, and how do you think this negative perception and tension should be resolved?
RR: I always tell students that if there is anything that is not right, I have an open door, where they can come in or they can email me to come in and find out if there is something better we can do and resolve it. I think that there may be a few individual people that maybe deal with other individual people where they feel that there s friction, and I really hope that we are perceived as a department who really cares and assists students over campus. I think that you can look at it like an enforcement piece, and I also think you can look at it like an education piece. I m hoping that some of the mistakes that students make, that if we intervene, it might help them later in life, it may help them look at things in a different way and it may prevent worse things from going on later on.
Can you tell me about your role regarding sexual assault on campus?
RR: From when I started up until 2008, I did deal with a lot of sexual assault complaints as far as looking into them from the perspective of the institution, and specifically the Safety and Security department, and presented them forward and tried to help anyone involved in those with any type of resources or options they needed. In 2008, I was actually the SAP coordinator for a short duration when they were doing a search and was asked to shift into that role, which meant that I was kind of seeing students in a different kind of capacity where I was trying to help them through a process or move forward and find options. After that, I did take on a lot of sexual assault cases within our department, investigated them and took information and moved it forward through college processes, through the Judicial Affairs department and also worked with police agencies all over.
How did your involvement with RAD begin?
RR: Back in 1995, I felt a need for a self-defense course. I looked all over and I found RAD, which is Rape Aggression Defense, and I became a certified instructor as well as a member of our department Mark Lancaster. We were able to start teaching a basic RAD course at Dartmouth for PE credit. It is actually a 13-hour course, and it also covers 41 physical defense moves and we go over a 23-page manual that has risk-reduction avoidance techniques in it. We have actually taught the course since 1996 for PE credit. I went away and became an instructor in advanced RAD and RAD for kids and Kubotan defense, and RAD for Kids. I am actually the Vermont State Director for RAD. I have taught children in Vermont the RAD course and have taught the advanced RAD course at Dartmouth, which can also be taken for PE credit after you take the basic course. All those courses have been for anyone who identifies as a woman. Also, there s a RAD course for men that I m hoping will come to Dartmouth someday. But if there are people who identify as males that have concerns, I always work individually with them or in a small group.
Whether through this course or through your involvement with Safety and Security, what drives your passion to help students?
RR: Truly from the moment that I started here until now, which is over 30 years, I have gotten to know students individually and community members, and it s what made all the difficult times just so not difficult. There are some many wonderful individual people here that I get to meet every day in my career. I feel like I benefit so much from them. I have also seen some not-so-good things happen to people here, so I have a strong desire to make sure everyone is okay, and if I see anyone who is not okay, check in with them. But truly it is the individual students. Up on my wall is a picture of one of my very first class RAD students. The second woman down, who graduated in the Class of 1999, went on and became an instructor and an instructor trainer, and I still keep in touch with her. I really think that there have been many more gifts that have been given to me by getting to know students than I am ever able to give. I truly do care. College is not always easy, and making decisions in moments when you re conflicted is not easy, and I just hope that I am able to pass on something to students that benefits their lives later. Like I tell students, it is truly an honor and privilege to be a part of their lives.
How do you balance the toughness and kindness as an Safety and Security sergeant?
RR: When I have to be tough, I can be tough, but what gives me joy the most is changing the perception of what a Safety and Security officer is because maybe it should be that we are perceived as kind and caring. I feel like if we can bridge that gap, then more students will call when they need help. It makes my heart wrench if there is someone out there struggling and they can t call us because they think we are not going to be nice or not take things professionally or we are not going to treat them with respect. I never want to see a student walk around this campus and think that it s not their campus, because it is as much their campus and anyone else s. If they go through struggles in life, I do not want them to ever feel alone. I think for me, the role that I ve played is my perception of what safety and security is. I can be tough; I do deal with everything. I have been in situations where I have had to maintain order, I am able to do that. I also hope that the bigger part of me and my bigger reflection on students no matter what they do is that they are respected and cared for.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.