Sunday, March 15, 2015

Screening for Violence: Introduction

"I was terrified!" is an expression of emotion in which one expresses deep fear.

In a recent interview, I found this statement in the subject's language and as is my want, I explored it.

I have done so in the past several years as not only to grasp a deeper understanding of language, but of fear, itself.

What I have learned:

Some people say that they are "terrified" in cases of:

getting no pepperoni on their pizza;
that a 'boy is going to look at me';
that someone will learn a personal secret, and so on.
"I was terrified that he was going to give us a surprise test!"

I found that in the personal, subjective and internal dictionary of many, being "terrified" left me rather indifferent towards the word.

That is, until this last interview.

In this interview, I explored "terrified" without much expectation, but what I received was:

"my heart pounded..."

"I ran to the bathroom and vomited"

"I broke out in a cold sweat."

I have become a bit desensitized by hyperbole and this was a good reminder for me, in spite of principle, to not interpret words but to ask the subject to interpret, in this case, her own words, for me.

It is a principle and habit of Analytical Interviewing that must be practiced, but for me, this was a good reminder of just how distant two 'camera lens' can be, one from another.

Another expression that has a wide gulf is, "I'm going to kill you" in speech.

"Let me borrow your shoes or I am going to kill you" versus the threat found within domestically violent situations.

Research and my own experiences in D/V show that the best predictor of D/V is not just history (often quoted, and, via data, wisely so) but also language.

Note that threats of violence should always be taken seriously, and must come within the realm of:

Decoding one's personal, internal, subjective dictionary:

Especially by therapists, counselors, social workers and medical professionals.

Does the subject use phrases connected to violence?

In particular, does the subject use words connected to violence when he speaks of non-violent scenarios or situations?

Does he "knock out" his friends in video games?  (substitute "knock out" for any of a hundred expressions).  This takes careful listening, just as "terrified" and "kill you" can be dismissed as hyperbole.  You must seek out a pattern of similes, for example, and what the subject reaches to, in his vocabulary, to ascertain risk.

Does he listen to, or quote, musical lyrics in which women are degraded, objectified, or even referenced with violent lyrics?

Ask questions about his friends, specifically targeting areas in which you learn about how his friends treat their wives and girlfriends.

Who does he admire?

Why does he admire so and so?

Heroes may not be, today, what you and I think they were, yesteryear.

Seek out areas in which the subject has been in some form of competition.  Now, focus in on what his reaction to victory was.

Did he gloat?
Did he boast?


Did he show any empathy towards the loser?

Athletes are highly competitive and you must learn what their reaction is towards the loser.  This is critical.  ESPN has glorified violence, which means that agents will encourage athletes to "stop the camera's movement" and have it focus in on the player, specifically, while he taunts his opponent.  That ESPN highlight clip may translate to money for the agent and the player, even while it teaches unsportsmanlike conduct to the children watching.

Your job is to de-code the internal, subjective and very personal dictionary of the subject.  This includes gender, race, culture, education, age, and so on, as factors into his language.  At this point, you are just listening and asking him to clarify, and define.  Do not assume to know even slang.  Ask the subject about the word, and allow him to explain.

Does the subject actually feel what the consequence of violence upon another feels like?

You are an observer and not seeking, at this point, to enter into his language.

You are just listening.

Question:  Who should screen for violence?

Answer:  Who shouldn't?

Parents, professionals of all sort, and anyone who cares to protect others.


Anonymous said...

Would you consider SA on the statement of Juror #17 from the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial? She was the lone hold-out on a vote of 11:1 for the death penalty.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


what did you hear in the video that concerns you?


Anonymous said...

She claims that there have been threats on her life since the verdict, and she also claims to have not remembered that it was the same prosecutor, Juan Martinez, who prosecuted her former husband, got a conviction, and sent him to prison. I don't remember if that is in this part of the interview or part 2.

Sus said...

Your writings on internal dictionary are interesting to me. Before retirement I was a teacher specializing in adolescents with behavior disorders/ emotional disturbances. Of course, a student was placed in my program based upon behavior and a series of psychological testing. I always joked (though not joking) that I could place them with an hour or less of observation. Now I realize I was looking at their internal dictionary. My "test" identifying adolescents who need intervention would find those with skewed self images. In other words...they have high self esteem, little or no accomplishment to show for it, and behaviors which prop up the self esteem falsely.

Anonymous said...

..."I'm gonna be kicking azz and taking names!"

What occupation/study and gender made this statement?

Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

A millionaire arrested in a New Orleans hotel on a murder warrant was captured in the finale of a documentary series about his alleged links to three murders saying he "killed them all".

Robert Durst, 71, was held by FBI agents on Saturday for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman, whose father was an associate of Las Vegas mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.

His arrest came just before the finale of the HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

During the episode, which aired on Sunday night, filmmakers said Durst wore his microphone to the bathroom.

Apparently talking to himself, he then said: "There it is. You're caught," and then "what the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

The show then ends and it was unclear what he meant by the words or whether producers addressed the recording.

Ms Berman, who was Durst's spokeswoman, was killed at her home as she was about to be questioned over the unsolved 1982 disappearance of the real estate tycoon's wife Kathleen.

Durst agreed on Monday to be extradited to Los Angeles from New Orleans to face a first-degree murder charge in Ms Berman's death.

He has always maintained his innocence in the case.

In an earlier episode of The Jinx, the handwriting on a letter sent by Durst to Ms Berman appeared to match an anonymous letter alerting Beverly Hills police to a "cadaver" at her home. The word "Beverly" was misspelt on both documents.

Durst notes in the documentary that only Ms Berman's killer could have sent the letter to police.

After Ms Berman's death, Durst moved to Texas where he lived as a mute woman in a boarding house until he was arrested in 2001 when the dismembered body of his elderly neighbour Morris Black were found in Galveston Bay.

He became a fugitive until he was caught shoplifting in Pennsylvania. Durst was acquitted of murder after his lawyer Chip Lewis told a jury he had shot and dismembered Mr Black in self defence.

In 1982, Durst reported that his wife Kathleen had disappeared from their cottage in New York state. No one was ever charged over her disappearance.

Former Galveston County District Court judge Susan Criss, who presided over the Texas murder trial, said he had been "incredibly lucky that so many people who've investigated him have dropped the ball, but I think that luck may be running out".

Durst is the eldest son of the late real estate mogul Seymour Durst. He became estranged from his family when his brother Douglas was chosen to run the family business. The business oversees the lease and maintenance of One World Trade Center and several office towers in Manhattan.

Durst was also the inspiration for the 2010 film All Good Things, a crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling.

Tania Cadogan said...

Robert "I Did Not Kill My Best Friend; I Did Dismember Him" Durst has admitted to lying several times over the course of HBO's magnificent docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. (If you haven't been watching, what are you doing with your life? Go binge right now to catch up in time for Sunday's series finale.) He also maintains that he is innocent in the deaths of his wife Kathie Durst, his best friend Susan Berman, and his other best friend, Morris Black. Do not trust this man. If he offers you candy on the street, run the other away. If you find him hiding under your bed, burn down your house.

Durst has funny habit of saying something outlandish (usually to the tune of "I didn't do it") and then blinking so hard his body shudders. Check above for a supercut of examples. Why does he do this? Is it a general tic or one brought on by lying? Is it because, according to one commenter on the Los Angeles Times's site:

Bobby was wearing Japanese "Doe Eyes" contact lenses. They are designed to make you look like a baby deer, or innocent. The whites of the eyes are reduced.

In this case it made the person under interview blink frequently.

Or maybe he's just an insane liar. Yeah, I think that's it.

I know it is an edited clip, it does make for interesting viewing with dropped pronouns and the long silence left by the interviewer which the subject then felt the need to fill.
The blinks are very telling.

Anonymous said...

"While I remain positive in support of all her hard work and accomplishments it has never entered my mind that this is her playing a joke or a game or anything other than what she deserves. "
~Stepdad of missing teen Anjelica Hadsell

Anonymous said...

Does he ever say her name at all ?? Just wow.. This sickens me..

Anonymous said...

My daughter helped people and gave 100 percent in everything life offered.

Tania Cadogan said...

Wesley Hadsell 9 days ago
Hey guys, I'm the father. Understand that my daughter is missing and this isn't like her. While I remain positive in support of all her hard work and accomplishments it has never entered my mind that this is her playing a "joke" or a "game" or anything other than what she deserves. My daughter helped people and gave 100 percent in everything life offered. Athlete, scholar , friend, daughter, girlfriend. So why give money to my cause and my families? Well if you want to I thank you. Your money will be used to help feed supporters, searchers, gas for cars to move around and look, pass out flyers. Also I plan to use the donations to assist in any way to help find our kid. You have any issue with that please donate somewhere else. I want to find my daughter and so does anyone that helps. Anyone that knows our family knows all that we do within our community and life. Please respect us and leave negatives on face book or social media.


He refers to himself as THE father and not the expected her father or AJ's father.
Is this indicative of a poor relationship between them?

He refers to her in the past tense twice, which is always a red flag especially after so few days missing.
Will she no longer be able to help people or give 100%?

He never refers to her by name, instead he refers to her as my daughter or our kid.

There seems to be sensitivity regarding her work and accomplishments in that he feels the need to tell us he remains positive

He introduces sensitivity by telling us it has never entered his mind it is her playing a joke or game, yet clearly it has since he introduces in in the process of free editing.
Never doesn't mean did not.

or anything other than what she deserves.
This concerns me.
Why would she deserve to be missing?
Does this speak of a motive perhaps?
She did something and she disappeared is it something she deserved?

Athlete, scholar , friend, daughter, girlfriend.
Order is important.
Coming from her father i would expect daughter first as his priority followed perhaps by sister and so on, instead we have two scholarly achievements first followed by friend, then daughter and finally girlfriend.
This again is unexpected and speaks perhaps to a poor relationship with AJ.

Is he her bio dad or a step dad since he refers to my families

He lists what the funds will be used for Your money will be used to help feed supporters, searchers, gas for cars to move around and look, pass out flyers.

He then tells us Also I plan to use the donations to assist in any way to help find our kid.
Plans change
Why is this seperate from feeding supporters and searchers etc when they are helping to look for his daughter?
Surely by feeding searchers, providing gas and flyers he is assisting in finding our kid?
Just because someone plans to do something, it doen't mean they will carry said plan out.
Plans change depending on circumstances

Why does he refer to her as our kid?
To my ear this sounds strange it is a particularly english term used by those up north who refer to their children as our kid or our (insert said child's name)
He isn't xonsistent in how he refers to her, is our kid a nickname?
Is it distancing language ( often seen in step families or adoptive families)

Referring back to her hard work and accomplishments is jealousy an issue?

He then refers to our family at the end when previously he referred to my families?

This statement is making me go hmmmm