Question: What makes a good investigator?
There is the standard of inquisitiveness, a lively mind and perseverance well known and recognized. Most investigators possess, to some degree, these basic qualifications.
A Statement Analyst is a linguistic detective.
Question: What makes a top, world class investigator?
I work with some of our nation's top crime analysts and instructors. I note a consistency among them:
They greater their professional achievements and status, the more they seek to learn. They listen patiently and show a humility that surprises new analysts. If they disagree with a point, they will respond privately so as not disrupt the flow of learning. They reached the top for good reason. New analysts receive from the not only encouragement, but inspiration.
How did they get there?
Remember that in teaching deception detection and criminal analysis, they are not only theoretical; they assist in live, ongoing cases which puts their abilities and knowledge to the test.
Like soldiers, they take orders. As leaders, they give orders from the foundation of having learned to take orders. It is a natural flow.
What makes them reach such high levels professionally?
This question was studied by Israeli psychologists in their quest to build a powerful intelligence community for the purpose of national survival. Human survival is a powerful motive. Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by nations who hold to an ideology that calls for their destruction. They have to be good at intelligence and investigations.
In seeking to hire the best and brightest investigators for intel survival, the psychologists researched carefully and learned that the existence of a single trait is what separated top investigators from good and even very good investigators.
It came down to the element of emotion.
Answer: The subjugation of human emotion. This is readily seen in the ability to emotionally accept the incomplete puzzle. This subjugation of emotion reveals itself in professional indifference.
The professional investigator lets the case details lead. In the same way, the professional investigator lets the language guide him or her, buttressed by statistical likelihood, within the context of experience. On any given turn, a mistake is easy to make, but over the course of an entire statement, the "left turns" and "right turns" of the language within principle and statistics, bring forth truth. This is something that we seek verification, with confession (or admission) being key, even more so than the polygraph or conviction.
Statement Analysis seeks truth. It is not subject to external influences, including the element of time, nor of culture.
Truth has no feelings, nor does truth hold interest in the feelings of humans, even if the human is a politician.
If one takes 2 eggs, breaks them open and puts them on a hot flat surface while whisking, one has:
If this is done today, it will produce Scrambled Eggs.
If this was done yesterday, it produced Scrambled Eggs.
If it is done tomorrow, it will produce Scrambled Eggs.
If your great great great great grandmother did it long ago, or your progeny a thousand years from now does it, it will be Scrambled Eggs.
Time has no bearing upon it.
Change of Language
The rose by any other name...
Should someone state that whisking broken eggs over heat produces rare Prime Ribs of Beef, and gives it this new wording, and demands that everyone call the eggs "Prime Ribs", the wording will not change the essence: it is eggs; it is not beef. Even under coercive means, renaming or even ignoring, will not change essence.
If a politician claims that not calling it "Prime Ribs of Beef" is offensive, hateful and even a display of irrational fear of beef, the taste, texture, appearance and content will not change. No matter how much outrage (emotion) is shown, and how many consequences are applied, the truth does not change.
If one has two apples and adds two more, the final count of apples stands at four even if this offends, creates victims, or is made taboo.
How powerful are human emotions?
Emotion is the number one factor in the change of language.
We have seen how a powerful emotion can literally change language in a single statement.
It produces not only more words than logic, but can even challenge logic or reason, within any given person.
In rape allegations, the two letter tiny word "we" has produced precise results, depending upon its location in a statement. This element is so powerful, we have "confession by pronoun."
In domestic homicide cases, communicative language is indicated for great importance just before the assault as it gives us insight into what happened and when the assault began.
This is the key within communicative language; one person said something to another and the crime commenced.
Rape and the Pronoun "We"
Pronouns are intuitive and are not part of our subjective understanding of words. They are, in a sense, "pre thought" and reflect ownership or the refusal to take ownership, linguistically.
"Media reports about my collusion with Russia" POTUS
"Those of you who believe in my guilt..." OJ
In rape cases, the pronoun "we", which shows unity, cooperation, and a connection, is ejected without thought, from rape victims' statements once the assault has taken place.
In my own career, whenever I have found the pronoun "we" to enter a statement uniting the alleged victim with the alleged perpetrator, the claim was proven to be false. Alleged victims admitted (not confessed) to lying.
Because they felt "hurt" was the number one answer, though exploitation is not far behind.
"We drove to the park and he then raped me. We drove back here and I told my father."
The victim's disgust is so extreme that there is no "we" or unity to be found after the assault.
An exception can be found among adult victims of childhood sexual abuse where the perpetrator was specifically a trusted family member.
In rape cases where doubt existed, pronouns and careful analysis of passive language, has justified victims who normally would not have been believed.
A rape victim who is not believed will experience even more trauma through the inability of some to discern truth from deception. We offer an entire teaching on rape victims and why passivity cannot be conclusive by itself.
Emotion is powerful.
Emotion, in the face of logic and reason, is still powerful. It is powerful enough to have a person ruin his entire life in a moment of emotion, by ending the entire life of another human.
At the moment, the perpetrator does not consider that he not only ends the life of another, but may spend the rest of his own life incarcerated.
How much worse is this when emotion is placed above logic?
When emotion overrules logic, the human race experiences a rash of negative consequence. From this, conflict is inevitable.
Historically, the West has taught the necessity of self control. For humans who settled where they experienced cold weather, they soon learned that in order to survive winter, some form of civil cooperation was necessary. Without self control, neighbors would not work well together.
In Islamic culture, self control is considered weakness to be exploited. This is a precursor to interpersonal violence (along with supremacist ideology).
Self control; that is, the governing of one's own passions, is key to so many successes in life that in military, for example, the loss of control can be catostrophic for survival. Training seeks to overcome natural fear and desire for self preservation. Without it, chaos and death may result. Individualism is subordinated for the greater good or for necessity of survival. Only politicians turn military from its purpose (killing) to social justice arenas.
Men are violent towards women. This is a generality which is now shifting in increasing percentages, just as we have seen more women being incarcerated. We establish principle on general terms; not upon exceptions. Here is one that needs more examination.
I have worked in D/V since the mid 1980's.
I have found the most consistent factor is that the male was not taught to govern his own passions. I have not, to date, conducted a single interview where the violent one was able to identify with anything resembling nobility in self control. In going through their childhood, "self expression" was valued more than civility and kindness towards others. This has been exasperated in the "self esteem" movement of a few decades ago.
The second powerful element in language is the lack of basic human empathy.
In interviewing children in child protective cases, the lack of empathy for others was consistently indicated.
In screening for law enforcement, I focus upon not only the insecurities (need to be respected by strangers) but upon sportsmanship, which can reveal either empathy for the vulnerable citizens, or a frightening lack of such.
Sports and Males
This was, culturally, the basic teaching of boys in sports: self control was called "sportsmanship." Culturally, males were targeted for such training (testosterone) as girls did not present the same acute need; they generally behaved more appropriately towards one another.
The essence of "sportsmanship" is respect.
How does one cultivate respect for his fellow human?
The winner is not in need of respect; the loser, or vanquished foe is.
Therefore, "unsportsmanlike conduct" was conduct deemed culturally inappropriate towards the loser. The key to the training of boys was that in a moment of great emotional (hormonal) elevation, where maximum mental and physical effort collided for success, one must always have empathetic respect for the defeated foe. Culturally, this has changed dramatically, and the consequences of such are not surprising.
Absurdity on ice
I often state that I wish a prerequisite for political office in America is military experience where leadership is formed in the crucible of hardness.
Hall of Fame pitcher, Tom Seaver, said he learned his professionalism and preparedness for the big leagues in his two years in the Marine Corps. Childhood lessons of sacrifice and team work came marvelously together in the rigors and disciplines of Marine Corps life of the early 1960's.
Like soldiers in the military, athletes use controlled violence to achieve an end; therefore, training in self control is necessary. When two huge hockey players face off in a fight, they are often seen in a local pub later, sharing a beer and shaking hands. Politicians allow them to pummel each other, and insult each other while doing so, but restrict their use of insults to specific areas only, while doing so. .
Conducting extreme levels of physical and emotional energy sans personal hatred is essential to maintaining order and life, itself.
History teaches us what conquerors can and have done to populations where they were not exercised in self restraint.
Logic Versus Emotion
Since emotion is powerful even in the face of logic consider how powerful it is when a subject is taught and/or believes that his or her emotions are:
1. more important than others
2. more important than truth, logic, reason, science, etc.
The result is absurdity.
Where there is absurdity, we have unleashed emotion without restraint.
The natural result is violence. Even the violence done to civil discourse is to lead to acts of senseless violence.
When "Antifa" resorts to acts of violence (including targeting animals like injuring a police horse) they do so in the name of enforcing their emotional status upon others. "Antifa" is a fascist movement, named for "anti fascist." The irony of the illogical position is not lost on the audience; but it is not seen by the violent fascists themselves.
How can this be?
As they scream "nazi!" they refuse to engage in dialog. Why? Because they do not want to hear sense or reason. In one such posting they called logic a form of "racism" used to "enslave."
In other words, 2 apples plus 2 apples does not equal 4 apples, it equals racism.
This absurdity negates consequence and when fueled by emotion, is dangerous.
This is like watching someone stand upon a building's ledge, high above the ground, and declare gravity to be "hateful."
In smaller snap shots, it is seen in entitlement, believing that one's emotions should overrule all else, including the emotions of others and even to the point of overruling logic.
Several years ago, a fairly well known man in the world of crime fighting, once took to publicly posting his complaints about his son's treatment in the US Marine Corps. What was his complaint?
He wrote that he was angry at financial cut backs in spending for the care of Marines.
His son's barracks lacked curtains.
This was what he identified as proof of financial disrespect.
Facebook and other social media outlets are good places to find such samples.
Recently, I posted condolences to the parents of Baby Charlie, who's parental rights were overruled by their country's government machinations.
I did not expect much response other than, "sad" or "condolences to the family..."
I was wrong.
I suspected that there might be a few who would want to defend socialism, even in this case. Socialism is one of the topics I seek to learn more about specifically from the European position. I know the United States' founding fathers' position well, but I enjoy hearing opposing views from others.
Rather than defend socialism, commenters went into forms of emotion that overruled even sense.
One wanted me to remove peoples' opinions and stated her reason:
so that the deceased victim, Charlie, could "rest in peace", as if he was being disturbed by comments in social media.
When I asked about this disturbance, rather than admit that it was her own emotions that were disturbed by peoples' comments, she resorted to insulting me, personally.
Emotion versus logic.
Was Charlie at rest? Were the comments from people disturbing him? I hoped for an explanation that did not come.
The conclusion: In her view, I was guilty for the opinions of others.
Others joined in with the insults, maligning me for the opinions held by others.
Some comments were passive aggressive. These are those who are complimentary, but seek to conceal bitterness.
Some who, for whatever reason, feel slighted, took to the attack. They may have a perceived emotional "insult" from disagreeing with past analysis.
Some wrote that "no government was involved", as if the court's decision was a friendly suggestion of guidance and the parents were free to take Charlie to the US, or to allow Charlie to die at home.
Others wrote that the parents, themselves, were just "attention seeking." I do not know the parents' intentions, nor was that the issue.
Some used it as a platform to attack Donald Trump, including the need for vulgarity.
Some wrote that this condolence was an "attack" on the "good doctors and nurses" of the hospital needed to end.
The post did not include anyone, including medial professionals.
Another wrote about "showing respect for the dead", which was particularly interesting since such respect did not extend to the living, who were assailed with insult.
Facebook, itself, is fascinating in that comments about others reveal about us.
What would people think of me if I went to someone's home post and typed in insults about them personally, where their friends and family would read?
Rightfully so, the opinion would not be favorable. I would be ashamed of myself for doing such.
Disagreeing with Analysis: Madeleine McCann
Recall the reaction to the analysis of the McCann investigation.
It was not a debate or even a questioning of principles used to bring about a conclusion. It was a personal attack of motive and of character.
When the McCanns spoke publicly, some believed them thus attacking those who chose to not believe the McCanns stating that such were "hateful." Some unhinged sought to go well beyond insult and had to be brought to the attention of law enforcement.
Because I disagreed with their opinion, in such an emotional case, means that disagreeing is equated to moral depravity and poor mental health. ("hateful and phobic.")
To disagree with a moral narcissist means to be labeled with terms given to us by politicians for the purpose of silence dissent and healthy scientific scrutiny.
They have learned the lessons brought to them by their elected officials well of which the only beneficiary of such is the vote grabber. Identity politics has its victims.
The Analyst and Emotions
The analyst will hear things he or she does not like.
We will find those of whom we wanted to be truthful and upright who were not.
We will find those of base character and most disagreeable, to be innocent and truthful.
Over time and experience, we will, eventually, find where truth and our emotions are not in sync.
We will find a place where it is our Emotion Vs. Truth.
Which will prevail?
Rectifying the Problem
How can this be overcome?
Training and exposure is key. If one can first recognize, "I am shutting down here" due to emotion, and process it through with a trusted friend, half the battle has been won.
We ask questions in analysis and asking ourselves questions can be of endless benefit.
Why does this bother me?
What is it about this that has stirred my emotions?
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names shall never hurt me" is not true by itself; it it were true, it would not be need to be taught to children, nor would we ourselves need reminders.
What do I disagree about here? and here is a big question:
Where does my opinion originate from?
This person disagrees with me. This person is not saying I am invalid; the person is just saying that he or she does not agree with me.
My own opinions change.
Simply stepping back from the ledge and pausing to consider Gravity as a law.
It, too, has its exceptions, as we have seen in space exploration. Yet, it remains a principle.
Q. does gravity really mean hate?
Q. does gravity really mean phobia?
Q. Might there be a consequence if I happen to jump?
Q. Could I be losing some valuable training because my feelings are hurt?
Q. Could I be 'cutting off my nose to spite my face' here?
Q. Will I feel the same way in 5 years?
Q. How does my narrative make me feel?
Q. How does my narrative make me feel about others?
Q. Does my narrative lead me to think negatively of others?
Q. Does my narrative lead to insulting others?
Q. Is this politician really worth dividing my family?
Q. Is this politician really worth dividing my friends?
What if I am wrong?
At what age do we "know it all"?
How does this all impact language?
This is all about our emotions, which are very powerful. Emotion is the number one impact in change of language.
The good investigator must deny himself or herself emotional satisfaction, deliberately with anything and everything; from the incomplete picture to any personal emotional reaction to any given point, statistic, word or element.
They must harness their strength and subjugate emotion in order to get to the truth.
Someone asked (on Facebook) about the phrase, "smothering", regarding Princess Diana and her sons. There was not enough context nor sample for me to have an opinion but it was an interesting question, posed as such.
You would think by the comments that several people were personally intimate with Princess Diana when she raised her children, living in the home as they made definitive pronouncements about them.
The incivility has its purpose: silence an opinion that my emotions do not find favorable.
The person who asked the question did not have her question answered. Her question was neutral, but "hurt feelings by proxy" arose to silence her.
For some, the step after incivility is violence.
For others, the violence is already indicated, but it is further fueled the more they distance themselves from reality, including the reality of consequence.
We lose when we allow emotions to reign over us. Emotions can by tyrannical over us.
We lose when we attempt to be emotional tyrants over others.
Moral narcissism is a destructive force but the good news is that an investigator/analyst can learn.
The analyst with self awareness can make examination.
The analyst can develop self honesty.
The analyst can rely upon other professionals to assist.
I once sat through a training in which one of the most talented physicians was teaching.
He is, perhaps, at the top of his career, as a forensic scientist, yet he is universally disliked due to his ego.
The training material was brilliant.
In discussing the training, I was surprised how many colleagues learned nothing from this brilliant man. They were so turned off emotionally by his demeanor, that they simply tuned him out.
I understood this; even the attorneys who relied upon his expert testimony in cases hated to work with him.
Yet, the material proved of great value to me then, and is now, today, useful in analysis.
Certified analysts know the warning they received prior to enrollment. They are prepped with the caveat that what they face may challenge their personal narrative. Over time, they develop a professional "disinterest" in anything but the truth.
Unless they seek change, narrative driven investigators and analysts will, sooner or later, end up in absurdity. The change of language, the attempts to alter reality and the desire to be the most "moral" among others, when overruling truth, is to end in illogic.
If you wish for the truth, above all else, no matter where it leads, perhaps you should consider enrolling in training.
It is not easy, nor short.
If it was easy, everyone would do it and be good at it. 101 Course are terrific to not only introduce deception detection, but to help isolate those who are most serious about their learning.
It takes intelligence, dedication and submission to science. It warrants being guided by not only principles, but by statistics. It means carefully finding the exception in principle, or the lowered statistical likeliness but quickly returning to principle.
It means getting to the truth even when the truth is unpopular or difficult to process.
It means success.
Don't let talent be squandered to satisfy emotion. Emotions come and go.
Talent has a window of opportunity of which to cultivate.