In my new book, Pieces of the Puzzle, I interview several witnesses who were interviewed by governmental committees or had insight into the JFK Assassination. Chris Scally, Steve Roe, and Doug Campbell all did the same. James Wagenvoord is a witness, so his chapter is written from his experience.
The thing to remember about talking to verifiable witnesses is that these are real people. They experience the JFK Assassination each time they are interviewed. Many are willing to talk freely; others are not, but talking to them gives us insight into not only their lives, but their family experiences as well.
At my book launch party, one of Robert Surrey’s grandchildren attended. She shared some thoughts with me and I could tell she was wary of speaking about those times. She was kind, she was interested but she’s human. That was not the place to begin a full-fledged interview with someone who could have stories to tell in the future. I am no expert at interviews, but I do believe you should treat people as you would want to be treated.
I had a well-known author tell me one time that I shouldn’t be interviewing witnesses, I should leave it to the investigative reporters who are trained to do so. Yes, it was a rude thing to say, but this person felt passionately about his profession. I feel passionately about empathy. Lee Oswald’s daughters didn’t ask to be born to an accused assassin and it has affected their lives in good and bad ways. Read this wonderful article written in 1995 about Rachel Oswald by Keith Kacktick in Texas Monthly. See if you don’t agree that when it comes to interviewing witnesses involved in the JFK Assassination, we should all be a bit more empathetic.