You don't need a doctor to get melatonin. But, for the latest tips on crime prevention, you do need the advice of Dr. Crime Lab. Now, from his spartan cell at the Madison Street Jail, the Doctor fields a few questions from concerned readers. Remember, he's got decades of criminal experience that he wants to use for the forces of good. All he needs is your questions; his answers will help you stay protected from people like him. Address all queries to Dr. Crime Lab in care of this paper.
Dear Dr. Crime Lab: Are people born criminals, or do they become criminals as a result of their upbringing, home life, surroundings, etc.? Just wondering.
Dear Just Wondering: People are born Indian, or even Chinese, male or female, but the morals and principles are taught to them. What a person does for a living, he chooses to do. If you are a kid growing up in the projects, living month to month on a food-stamp budget, the only people you see are pimps, hustlers and dope dealers. These people become your role models, and you pattern your life after these people.
You watch television and see people driving new cars, living in new homes and wearing nice clothes, and you're wearing your brother's or sister's pass-downs. It's a struggle to get through high school, drugs are always around, your toys do not include a computer mouse; you're too busy trying to trap a real mouse. I believe that I'm a product of, as well as a victim of, my environment.
Dear Dr. Crime Lab: Have you ever done street muggings? As an attractive single woman who was mugged once, what can I do to keep muggers away? Will Mace or a stun gun work as a deterrent?
Dear Attractive: To answer your first question, no, I'm not a mugger. [Screed note: Dr. Crime Lab does, however, have experience in drugs, theft, burglary, prostitution, etc.] First of all, people do not get mugged because they are attractive; people get mugged because they look like they have money. As far as Mace and stun guns are concerned, you use these after you realize you are about to be attacked. And if the mugger has a gun or a knife, you could be in trouble. So if you're out there at some club trying to get your boogie on, try not to leave alone. Remember these three rules:
1. Park in a well-lighted area.
2. Ask a male patron to escort you to your car.
3. Never have so much jewelry or money in your purse that you would be willing to risk your life over it.
If you follow these rules, you should be all right. Have a good time, enjoy life, express yourself. No one should have to live in fear.
Dear Dr. Crime Lab: Could you please give your views on the Simpson trial?
Dear Polite American: I grew up idolizing O.J., like millions of other kids, black and white alike. To us, he was a football player, maybe the greatest who ever lived. Two thousand yards one season, 14 games--the running through the airports was an understatement of his ability.
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Then, last year, the Juice and the rest of the United States were given a wake-up call by the Lady of Justice.
"Hey, Juice," she yelled. "You're black, and you have been accused of killing two white people, and the worst part is one of them is a white woman, the worst thing in America a black man could do."
The verdict "not guilty" still echoes through every capitalist institution in the United States, as it does in my mind. Most of white America is in shock, and black America is jubilant--not because the Juice was found not guilty, but because we have new hope in the criminal justice system, even if it did cost millions. The prayer of every convict, black, brown, white and red, is the same: "Lord, please send me a Dream Team."
Should we fear O.J.?
No, because O.J. has been blessed. He's been through the fire, and he's survived. He must feel like Jonah when he emerged from the belly of the great fish, smelly but alive--unlike Emitt Till, who died with the "N" word ringing in his ears....--Peter Gilstrap