Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Root of Personal Bias In Statement Analysis

I have some very strong views on freedom, religion and politics.  Many of us do.

Those who read here (there have been 12.3 million clicks since it started) are not likely to be "low information voters" politically, nor are they likely to be those uninterested in crime, victims, and justice.

In the practice of Statement Analysis, there is always a temptation to not know the truth.  The truth often overturns our beliefs, prejudices, or even just our opinions.  Some of the things I have learned include:

Doing analysis on a subject of whom I am closely in agreement with, politically, or religiously, but who "did it", or is "deception indicated."

Doing analysis on a subject of whom I rooted to be truthful.  For example, sports fans can become overly attached to a team or a figure, especially if the team or figure had an impact during the formative years in life.  As a father, I imitated my own father's sense of caution in allowing my sons to idolize any sports personality.  To be an admirer is one thing, but "fan" is short for "fanatic" and my father was careful to keep the conversation to the "on the court" issues (of the New York Knicks on their telecasted Friday night games) or the "on the field" points of, for example, Joe Namath.  As a young boy, I was thrilled to meet him, yet, even then, I understood a certain level of disapproval in my father's countenance.  He was glad for my brother and me (he took us to Hofstra, after all), yet, there was a distinct feeling of "less than enthusiasm" for Broadway Joe.  When I got older, I learned that my father's subtle disapproval was likely related to how he perceived Namath's attitude towards women, in general was, as it was not a good example for his sons. I grew up with 7 sisters and "would I like someone to behave towards them" like Namath?  This was a question for me to ponder.

Today that seems tame.

When "Elvis the Pelvis" shook on the Ed Sullivan Show, it was a deliberate action, designed for a specific reaction.  Today it is laughed at, but in that day, it was seen as a vulgar display.  I loved Elvis' music, but this began to fade for me when I read accounts of his life, and, strangely enough, his treatment of women.  With the lens of Statement Analysis, I read biographies and autobiographies quite frequently.  Elvis' disgusted me.

Do you see a vein here?

I have been accused of "feminism" because of this underlining current and must be aware of it when doing analysis.

It came up recently and the best rx for it is honesty.

Honest, or forthright de-briefing is good medicine for confronting our own personal bias.

Here is the sample:

5:30 Chief: Right there on the dresser is the gun.

911: Is there an officer there?

Chief: Jamie is here, yeah.

This is at the end of the 911 call of former chief of police William McCollum.  On January 1, 2015, he called police to report that he had shot his wife, Maggie, who was left paralyzed.  

In this call, he gave as little information as possible to the police.  In fact, in our teaching on "Social Introductions" in Statement Analysis, we have:  "ISI", or "incomplete social introduction" which, to the analyst, reveals trouble in the relationship. 

In this call, not only did McCollum restrain himself from giving helpful medical information to those responding to help his wife, he was able to suppress, in his language, the identity of the victim.  

For those new to analysis:  

He made it through an entire 911 call without even using his wife's name. 

He made it though an entire emergency call, in which the victim was lying next to him, with life slowly leaking out of her, with numbness from her waist down, and was able to suppress using the word "wife."

He utterly depersonalized her. 

His language was the language of Domestic Violence, control, and narcissism.  

"I'm the chief of police!" he said, even employing the word "unfortunate", not about the dying victim, but about his career and his future.  

What is it about the above lines that caused me such an emotional reaction?

He used the officer's first name, "Jamie", while giving no name to his victim.  This heightened the depersonalization of Maggie McCollum.  

Domestic Violence victims' language is often the language of denial, self blame, guilt, and deception to protect the abuser and "win him over."

In my analysis, for the first time, I have found a statement with a new category within the principle of "Social Introductions in Analysis":

No Social Introduction.  

I have not encountered this in any statement over the years.  

Depersonalization of the victim reveals, at the time of the statement, deep seated animosity.  Knowing this, even sensing it in the course of the call, caused me to react with anger when I noted the first name to enter the statement (other than his own), as is the course analysis takes, as it shows priority

His name was first, 

an officer's name was second, 

and no name was ever uttered about the victim.  

Now, go back to my own background, growing up in a household where, as a boy, if a movie had a woman scantily dressed, for example, we looked away, in respect.  From my earliest recollections, I learned that women were not to be objectified and that any man that lifts his hand against a women in violence was "not a man."  

This is part of my make up.  It is something that I recognized even in using this 911 call for instruction.  

I recently posted a statement by a state senator in which he likened local police to "ISIS", the theocratic rulers fighting against other Islamic forces, to take over the middle east.  

I was also raised to have respect for law enforcement officials. 

The last few years has seen an increasing number of politicians painting law enforcement with broad, negative strokes, taking the actions of a few, and ascribing them to the many.  

This respect from boyhood is something I must be cognizant when doing analysis, lest my own willful ignorance, influence my work. 

I loved "It's Not About the Bike" and watched, with my sons, repeated episodes airing on the Tour De France, in 1999. 

I did not want to believe that Lance Armstrong was lying. 

I wanted to believe that cancer had re-made his body in a way that now allowed him to transfer his amazing lung capacity to the mountain climbing, and make him an American champion. 

In Tour after Tour, his dominance was thrilling, but as soon as the accusations came, I listened for the Reliable Denial that I hoped for.  I had to remind myself that I was hoping for such a denial.  

It did not come.  

What did come was something quite different.  It was not simply that Lance Armstrong, whom by virtue of the excitement of watching the Tour with my sons, encouraging them to see this single minded dedication, was using PEDs in order to compete. 

He was a liar. 

For regular readers, this is something entirely different than most people. 

As a liar, he learned his craft of deception in childhood, and as a liar, he held the world in contempt.  He proved this, repeatedly, by seeking to destroy anyone and everyone who dared question him, through the bullying of money. 

He was deceptive when he confessed to Oprah.  He deceptively became a millionaire.  

But, we are told, he has humbled himself and learned his lesson. 


A few weeks ago, he was in an accident and had his girlfriend take the rap, lying yet again, saying she was the driver. 

This leopard is known by his spots.  

For me, however, there is the strain of prejudice that says a man is to sacrifice his strength, for the good of others, and that "women and children first" is just as fresh today as it was when I was 7 years old watching the movie, "Titanic" and hearing of "The Titanic Society" that young boys joined, throughout America.  

For Armstrong, his girlfriend was just someone else to throw under the bus.  

In analysis, we must always be aware of our personal bias, or leanings, in life.  We must be prepared to learn the truth, no matter how it turns out.  

I liken this to publicly posted analysis where, the same principles are applied in the same manner, case after case. 

Case #1:  The principles show that Casey Anthony lied.    Response:  Applause
Case #2:  The principles showed Michael Jackson molested boys.   Response:  Applause

Case #3:  The principles showed Amanda Knox was present for the murder of her roommate. 

Response:  anger, rage, from mostly male writers.  No rebuttal of the use of principles, just insults.  

Yet, as I say the "love lorn" males who were angered at the "backwards justice of Italy" and "Foxy Knoxy" became a cause, are they really so different than the rest of us?

When one comments, "I agree with your analysis on Obama, but where is your analysis on Bush?", I have to smile and gently remind them:  "Bush isn't in office.  Whoever is in office, gets the most analysis.  Go into the archives. "  Sometimes, my replies show the impatience I battle.  "Here we go again", sort of feeling, is too easily embraced.  

Some of the comments about "favoring" police were of similar vein.  I understand that one bad, personal, encounter, with someone who holds the power of life and death, via a weapon, and the power of freedom or restriction, is very difficult to overcome.  In fact, it does not so much have to be "overcome" as it has to be acknowledged, lest it taint your viewpoint.  Note the inclusion of analysis of the recent racist cop of whom inflicted trauma upon a 70+ year old veteran because of his skin's pigment.  She fabricated reality (the 'true liar') knowing that her dash cam was on.  This shows:  she could not control herself!  This revealed a contempt for society, in that she has, since childhood, lied and fully expects, even in the face of a video evidence, to "put one over" on any and everyone who views the video, as she claimed he waved his golf club at her in a threatening manner.  

I wasn't a fan of Michael Jackson's music, but witnessed some who, up to the point where his words were introduced, were engaged in the training, but after his words were analyzed, disengaged and lost interest. 

Think of what may have been lost!

The strength that Statement Analysis can give to a career, a law enforcement official, or a human resources professional is tremendous.  It is of great advantage to be able to discern truth from fiction, and glean content of a situation.  

Knowledge is power. 

Do not trump the power of knowledge with personal bias.  Own your leanings, and talk them through.  See how they sound to another's ears.  This is critical and why there is often found safety "within a multiple of counselors" or opinions.  

They may just lose their bite.  

The freedom found in talking something through will help you with day to day discernment, which, I think, is one of the reason for coming here to read.  

Yes, analysis of headline making cases is interesting.  We like to see the bad guy caught.  We do not like the insult of being lied to.  We all sense that "this guy thinks I'm too stupid to know he is lying" attitude the liar has and we like to see the truth uncovered. 

Don't let it fester, within yourself, but ask questions.  A level of "scientific skepticism" is healthy for Statement Analysis.  

I was angry to hear a man shot his own wife and could not even utter her name, nor the title "wife", nor the pronoun "my" in his call, but the anger deepened when he used the name of an officer, heightening the insult which added pain to the injury already inflicted upon her. 

Talk through your biases, viewpoints, and personal opinions in a subject or a case.  

Don't let your love of Downton Abbey's furniture style to blind you to a thief.  


Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

Police investigating the alleged kidnapping of a California woman have said the entire affair was a hoax concocted by the woman and her boyfriend for ransom.

The revelation by police in Vallejo, northern California, was made shortly after Denise Huskins, 29, reappeared outside her father’s home after her alleged abduction.

Police say they were suspicious ever since Ms Huskins’ boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, reported the violent abduction of his girlfriend for an $8,500 (£5,690) ransom on Monday.

"It was such an incredible story, we initially had a hard time believing it," Vallejo police Lieutenant Kenny Park said.

"Upon further investigation we couldn't substantiate any of the things he was saying."

Police said they found no evidence of any kidnapping, and expressed disgust at the resources the two allegedly squandered.

"Devoting all of our resources 24 hours a day in a wild goose chase - it's a tremendous loss," Lt Park said.

Mr Quinn, 30, had told police his girlfriend was forcefully taken in the middle of the night from their Mare Island home in Vallejo early on Monday.

He called police at about 2pm to report she had been abducted.

Lt Park said Mr Quinn's waiting so long to inform them is part of what aroused suspicions.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle received an email from an anonymous person claiming to be holding the woman.

The person wrote that she would be returned safely on Wednesday.

The email included an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Denise Huskins, who mentioned Tuesday's airliner crash in the French Alps to verify she was alive.

Her father Mike Huskins confirmed the voice in the file was his daughter's, the Chronicle reported.

Ms Huskins had indicated she would talk to detectives, but by the end of the day police were unable to contact either her or her family members, and they do not know where she is.

Ms Huskins works as a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vallejo. She moved to the area in June from Southern California.

Unknown said...

OT- update on my local case of missing boy Noah Thomas

Unknown said...

It is circulating online that his body was found concealed in a building/garage on the parents property.

I really wanted to be wrong about this one.

Unknown said...

LE announced a $5000 reward earlier today, and had a news conference scheduled for 2pm, along with a prayer vigil later this evening. The news conference was cancelled, and a heavy LE presence descended on the property. The home, and surrounding area has been taped off, and LE/FBI are present in white hazmat suits.

Unknown said...

They have confirmed he was found dead in a 'structure' on the family's property.

Sorry for the straggling details, this is developing by the minute.

Unknown said...

LE holding a press conference at 6pm, so I will update with confirmed details then.

Their FB page is saying he was found wrapped up, and placed inside the septic tank under the trailer home. (which local news stations are also reporting.)

Unknown said...

The press conference didn't really add much information. Just that his body was recovered from the home's septic tank, and the investigation is now "changing gears", awaiting autopsy results, etc.

BUT, the community is blazing with some very disturbing rumors. I don't feel comfortable posting them here until they are confirmed, but you can go to the "Find Missing Noah Thomas" page, and read if you are interested.

(Prepare to be infuriated!)

John Mc Gowan said...

Sorry Jen.. Hugs

Body Of Noah Thomas Found In Septic Tank

John Mc Gowan said...


Denise Huskins Incognito As Boyfriend Swears He Was Bound And Drugged


Lis said...

I appreciate this post very much. My father had his faults but he always upheld the dignity of women. He would sometimes snap off the tv saying "this is beneath the dignity of my daughters." It's something I appreciate more and more over the passage of time.

Unknown said...

Thanks John! This hit me hard, with my son son being only a few month younger than Noah.

The family is facing an absolute lynch mob, and if the accusations are confirmed by autopsy, I'd say it's going to get even worse.

It's a heartbreaking situation, all around.

John Mc Gowan said...

Hi Jen,

I was about to post about the dogs loosing the scent at the front door or was it in the garden before the news broke about the Septic Tank. Anyway, what i was going to say was that he has either been put in a car or he is still on the property. Unfortunately it was the latter. This is such a tragic case all round :(