This past weekend, I was in Seattle, Washington for a two day training seminar in Statement Analysis, and with to convey my gratitude to the organizers and share with readers some of my thoughts on the experience.
The trip was an adventure that began with a 5 hour drive to the airport. The drive is generally less than 2 1/2 hours but the snow made for a rough go, with lots of trucks sliding into the ditch on the highway. Maine was in snow and this led to a lengthy delay and a forced stay overnight in Chicago.
I insisted to the United Airlines attendant that I was supposed to arrive Friday night for a Saturday morning seminar. He said, "Sir, I can understand your predicament. I can look for other flights for you. I have one that will get you, the very earliest, to Seattle late Saturday afternoon."
I said that he had to get me there early enough for Day 1 and to move me to a different airline if necessary. He said, "Sir, I can get you there by 1:30PM and that sometimes with tailwinds, time is made up. I can help you find a hotel for tonight and I can do....but we can't, by law, switch you to a different airline."
I am not aware of any such law but I did hear the quick pronoun change.
"Sir, would you please get your supervisor so I can ask about a different airline?"
He said, "I can put you on American Airlines and you can get there in the morning..."
This particular lie had come after several others, earlier in the stay, where he continued to assert how I would "probably" make my connecting flight "because of headwinds" and other such nonsense. He showed that he would say anything to take the easiest route for his job.
I interview and listen to anyone who will speak to me.
In Chicago, a Mexican drove my shuttle. He said he was in the country for 20 years and loved it. He said he immigrated legally and has 6 kids, with the two youngest being 5 and 7. He said of the older ones, "No one will work. They refuse to and all their friends refuse to. Not McDonald's jobs, not anything." He said no matter how he has tried to teach them that hard work is necessary to survive they "laugh at me" and feel that they are "owed a living by the government" and that it is the same with all their friends. He said "We are fighting a losing battle against the school."
I asked him about why he left Mexico. He said that everyone expects the cartels to be the bad guys and even politicians are corrupt, but this was not the worst.
He said "the worst is the police. They are corrupt and there is no rule of law in the country. Nobody thinks they have to obey laws."
He said that people rob each other all the time and that he has lots of family still there, but says "I am American" and that when someone robs their neighbor, the neighbor has to handle it himself but can't call police because they generally won't come, but if they do, they expect payment, either from you, the victim, or from the thief. He repeated the phrase, "the rule of law" throughout, and dropped the 'f bomb' in casual speech. This was without emotion, and was not for emphasis. It dominated his speech but was cultural. He worked the overnight shift and was enjoyable to listen to. I respected his work ethic and empathized his frustration with his children.
In the seminar itself, the pace was strong. This group was easily engaged, and intellectually strong. In spite of being about 2 hours late, they were eager to learn, working through breaks and even through lunch, and brought much to the seminar. Backgrounds included military, security, social, and other 'branches' of life that help broaden the exposure into language.
In Statement Analysis, we do not interpret, but we listen to what one says and ask not if this really happened, but we assume it did happen, and ask, "Why does the subject feel it necessary to tell me this?"
Many of us start our mornings with coffee, though not like Seattle; they take their coffee seriously. One quite intelligent woman said it was in her statement while she was alone. She said she made her coffee in a manner I was not familiar with, which brought a chuckle or two, but another offered an interesting observation:
We flag "coffee" in a statement simply to ask, "Were you alone?" because most of the time coffee is mentioned because the subject is thinking about when he or she was with another person (which should lead us to ask about the conversation) and one offered that this may be due to the fact that generally people made a pot of coffee, rather than for a single person which means...
What about the k-cups?
Will the use of k-cups actually impact the language, since it is a single cup serving?
This showed me something important: this group is thinking and this is a good thing! Next, I needed to learn how they felt about distractions and about error. Regarding the shift, I 'worked through' this on the plane ride and can share some thoughts on it later. Regardless, it was an impressive display of open-mindedness while still respecting principle.
As they did an assignment, I continued to throw principle out to them, verbally, looking for signs of annoyance. Every so often, someone will actually say, "could you please stop talking while I am concentrating?" which is very important for me in measuring the psychological aspect of the personality of the budding analyst. Thankfully, no one did such a bold thing.
I then moved to classical music, and its complexities while they were analyzing and they continued to concentrate.
Dulled listening is a life long habit and it must be undone if one is to have success in analysis.
Several people came out who were blog readers and it was exciting to meet them. One, in particular, surprised me with his age. I am pretty good (at least I tell myself such) at guessing age. My estimate was more than 10 years off! He looked, perhaps 12 years younger than his actual age. Good for him! I wish I could say the same! His speech, however, gave him away. Strong intellect, engaging personality, yes, but his background and life experiences left him with a sense of broadness that, when coupled with humility, is a marvelous tool for analysis. He said he has been reading here for 6 years without commenting.
When I spoke of Soviet interrogation, I had an almost tri-linguial attendee who even knew some Russian, as I sought for a specific word. He, too, had a fascinating background, full of colorful experiences, and an open mind for learning.
The "blog folks" were able to identify how different analysis is in training than on the blog, which I thought was both fascinating and telling.
We covered some "PC" language, and showed the importance of being able to successfully identify whether a subject is male or female, and with the varied backgrounds, much was brought to the table of the "expected", as a group.
With a few hours they were "on their own" and did successfully "solve" cases of not just "deception indicated" but by Day Two, they so deeply "entered the language" of an abuser that they may have, as I have in the past, felt like showering. They grasped the sorrow that accompanies knowledge, particularly when going well beyond "101" and "deception or truth" but into content.
Knowing a case personality well, they successfully profiled a pedophile and even entered the shoes of those around him; rather than simple condemnation and dismissal, they went to empathy, for example, with collateral victims. This is critical as they moved from the shoes of a 50 year old man, to a 10 year old girl, and on to another where the subject was...and so on.
Polite, supportive of each other, and open minded, they learned and in speaking privately with some, they "got it", meaning, they understood, more than just memorized, certain principle.
The talent in the room was such that they even began, in late Day Two, to move to "leakage"; the most subjective of all our work. Some of the insight was startling in its clarity, and, as is showed, they "knew" things about some of the subjects, from only the statement, that I knew from the actual investigation. This "affirmed" their positions.
Several will be going on to more advanced work and they understood the need for continual study. They also grasped how overly simplistic instruction will lead to error and discrediting of our science, and seemed 'impressed' by how much they do not know. This was, personally, very encouraging, as it is something I am regularly reminded of:
Each new statement is a new insight into the complex world of human nature!
I have announced the Online Guided Monthly training for the West Coast, beginning February 25th at 9am PT, and those who successfully complete the initial course are welcome, as they show proficiency in what they have studied to date.
I hope to return to Washington State, particular with the military, as a military representative was sharp, intuitive and also open and eager to learn.
The patriots in attendance discerned the difference between agenda and analysis, and showed both a dedication and an openness, which helps to keep our personal feelings, beliefs and agenda, at bay, as we seek to enter the shoes of others, see things from their linguistic lens and learn what really happened.
The Seattle seminar's pace was a testament to their intelligence, dedication and humility. None bristled about having to be "right", nor when they were "wrong", which was important when allowing the subject to tell us her age.
The input was valuable and is part of a building data base of reactions, as well as turning the "40% rule" on its head, with one comment, on a statement that I have used for many years, that added to a statement of which I did not think anything more could be gleaned!
Always learning, always growing and always letting the truth dictate to us; rather than trying to make our belief system fit into the scenario.
Congratulations to a great group! There were those in attendance who will prosper in advanced, guided training.