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  1. #1

    Default The Role of Emotion in a Violent Crime Investigation: Viewpoint of an Investigator

    It has been offered up as a notion, and idea if you will, that doubt, as a contradiction to reasonable and rational processing, may be created by the addition of an emotional component to one's decision making during a violent force encounter; that the articulation to post-event investigators may be compromised upon the humanistic concept of fear entering the equation. While I take issue with this notion, I understand the concept and proposed interference to the investigator. My point here is simply to provide an alternative viewpoint. This viewpoint is mine alone, may vary widely from others, but is based on many years of violent crime investigation with experience on different sides of the table - the investigator, the investigated, the supervisor to the investigator, and supervisor to the investigated.

    I want to write and discuss the concept of emotion in a violent crime investigation, specifically I want to address the concept of fear. Let's look at it in a few ways:

    1. Fear as Use of Force Trigger
    2. Fear as Use of Force Justifier
    3. Fear as Jury Appeal
    4. Fear from Investigator Viewpoint
    5. Fear as Self-Doubt Eradicator


    Fear as Use of Force Trigger

    While specific to my state, the justification for the use of deadly physical force is fairly common nationwide. Is summary, it is typically as follows: "A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another when and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force." Also, also common nationwide is the following: "A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act."

    Please note the word fear is no where mentioned above in statute. It only says threatening or use of physical force against another is allowed to the degree a reasonable person would believe it necessary to protect himself from another's illegitimate use of deadly force against them. So, what is the trigger point for deadly physical force? I believe the trigger point is simply old fashioned, human fear. I fear, we fear, someone else fears, that I, we, or another, will be illegitimately harmed, mortally or fatally.

    Cool calculation, reasonableness and stoic personification of the "professional" gunfighter might be what the on-line persona of a writer may exhibit, but I think we all feel fear...fear drives the action...fear is the trigger and drives the trigger. We may be calculate with cool calm, articulate reasonableness and necessity of action, be stoic and professional in our statements, appearance and self-depiction, but it has been my experience when 5.56mm projectiles fly overhead that fear drives the action. We may act with the above mentioned positive attributes, but I believe we do not need to be afraid of fear, we do not need to deny it, we do not need to withhold it's driving force in articulation of the trigger point.

    Last time I saw a heavily altered male holding a Remington 700 to his family through my rifle scope I feared he would kill them. The more reasonable and rational person might have waited to see what would have happened - after all, he was not actively pulling the trigger. Fear as a trigger point is useful.

    One final example of fear as a trigger point: In an active shooter in a restaurant scenario the reasonable and rational person would run away to seek safety. The fearful person might "fear" for the safety of others, especially those incapable of defending themselves, and choose to stay and fight it out. Fear is a trigger point I want and can articulate to my advantage. Logical and rational rarely have a place at the interview table.

    Fear as Use of Force Justifier

    Fear as a use of force justifier.... If I was not fearful an imminent aggravated assault and/or murder was in progress or about to be committed I would not act. Fear is my justification for ending what might become versus what might currently be. Rational and logical thought as justifiers may hinder justification for stopping the future event - the subjunctive case, the hypothetical. I can place a 77 grain 5.56mm projectile in a human's upper torso based on my fear of "what might happen if what is happening continues" whereas I might have interference if I attempt to mitigate only what I currently see with violent force.

    Fear as Jury Appeal

    Jury appeal! The statute says use of deadly physical force is "when and to the degree" a "reasonable person" would believe is necessary. I hate to tell all of you this but the average American juror is an emotionally driven, non-law enforcement trained, human being that understands fear. If you stand in front of the panel and say, inn a cool, calm and calculated manner, with precision and rational application, "I fired a 230 grain Federal .45 ACP cartridge at the suspect who was trying to behead me" they will wonder why you didn't just walk away. They need and want emotion.. They need and want to feel what you felt.. They need and want to know what you felt at the moment you decided to use deadly physical force.. They need to understand your fear, feel your fear, personalize your fear, and substantiate your fear if they are going to agree with your application of deadly physical force.

    Fear from Investigator Viewpoint

    From the viewpoint of the man behind, next to, and in front of the table I need, desperately need, to get your emotion of fear across to my scene processing skills, emotions and "heart." I need to know the same things mentioned above for the jury. If I can't feel what you felt, see what you see, fear what you feared, and assign justification to your actions....you're fucked.

    Fear as Self-Doubt Eradicator

    I have calmly caused harm to another individual and will do so again, but this is an external, experience driven persona. Without feeling, without fear of potential actions and side-effects, of collateral damage caused by inaction, - without fear - I would not act the same way. There is calm after the fact in knowing your actions were undeniably justified and the scene could not have gone another way. Use that fear to eradicate self-doubt.

    Summary

    Understand fear as a trigger point, use it as a justifier of action, see how it is needed, wanted and required by the reasonable person and investigator, and then let it free you from self-doubt.

    Best of luck out there.

    Also, being afraid and/or fearful doesn't have a damn thing to do with how your let yourself appear to the outside world, your squad or the public. You control the fear - you use it - but you don't let it be seen to others who look to you for direction and guidance at the time of the event.
    Last edited by JonathanNobody; 05-09-2018 at 07:18 PM.

  2. #2
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    Excellent.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

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    Teaching currently so short post during break.

    Fear is a tool...you cannot allow the tool to control you. Things you do and say in emotional states may not be what you wantbto do or say. Self control is still imperative.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  4. #4
    I tell my squad "Fear is your bitch - wield it as needed."
    Last edited by JonathanNobody; 07-30-2017 at 01:00 PM.

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    Thanks for writing some great stuff recently.

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    Resting up after a long week, including 15+ yesterday, so hope this makes sense.

    FDR was wrong about fear. At some level fear drives everything we do: fear of hunger, injury, death, loneliness, loss--fear for ourselves and for those we love.

    Fear's not just a gift. It's a gift horse.
    Look fear in the eye, grab the reins and ride the hell bitch.

    Not showing fear is one thing: showing fear is the outward sign that fear is in control, not you--and your display of fear encourages the same in others at the worst possible times.
    Not admitting you were afraid is quite another: we don't admit we're afraid, even if our actions show that we've mastered it and responded as we should.
    "Grace under pressure" means just that. Without fear, no pressure, and no graceful action.

    What do you fear? What do you fear most? Think about it now. Write it down.
    I suspect the list for forum members will be a short one, and will include failing to act when you could or should, failing to act decisively and effectively if you do, and "letting down the side."

    Consider how articulating that fear can explain and justify your actions if you're touched upon the shoulder. TR was right, even if FDR was not.
    Warrior for the working day.

    Es una cosa muy seria. --Robert Capa

    "...I ride the range in a Ford V8...Yippy Yi Yo Ki Yay." --Johnny Mercer

    "Can I move?...I'm better when I move."

    1, 0, 10. And a wakeup.

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    I mentioned it elsewhere...fear is simply the body's survival mechanism kicking in. If you're feeling the effects of adrenaline, you're experiencing fear. So what?

    From another seminar (Grossman's?) I sat in: fear is to the mind what pain is to the body. It's nature's way of telling you that something ain't quite right. That's not to say that it has to be debilitating. It's very much something that you can use to own a situation. If you *do* happen to feel it turning master instead of servant, get mad. Anger is the emotion that is pretty much guaranteed to redirect us from flight/freeze into the fight component of the survival reaction. And, again, it doesn't need to be a rage that blinds you. It is best used as a righteous indignation that motivates you to set things right.
    __________

    "To spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary." Pournelle

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    Sitting in hotel bar with a tall Stoli and soda...in no particular order

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa View Post
    Not showing fear is one thing: showing fear is the outward sign that fear is in control, not you--and your display of fear encourages the same in others at the worst possible times.

    Showing fear is an outward sign that fear is in control - EXACTLY AND PERFECTLY STATED. Fear is contagious...as is its effect on you. Iyou show control over it...others will follow. The opposite is also true.

    Not admitting you were afraid is quite another: we don't admit we're afraid, even if our actions show that we've mastered it and responded as we should.
    "Grace under pressure" means just that. Without fear, no pressure, and no graceful action.

    Grace Under Pressure. Everyone is afraid at some point. The more comfortable you are with some things the less I suppose. The greeks had many words for fear as they had for love. English is such a limited language. Perhaps, like the Spartans, we should someday do a deep study of the nature of fear. I have felt many things at times of duress. They would all be thrown into the fear bucket by common thought, but what I felt was distinctly different than the "scream through the house terror shown by the victim in Saw".

    I recall the feeling of chasing the home invader through the dark parking lot in the ghetto...seeing his muzzle flashes, and still chasing...what did i feel as I brought the 870 to bear? The three robbers outside the 7-11 - I knew what I was going to and the sense of being shot at within ten feet is interesting. I suppose it could classified as fear too...but it didn't feel that way...nt with what we might associate with the word. It wasn't a paralyzing thing...nor one of what the "victim in the horror movie" feels. If words must be used...a shrill and intense apprehension of impending hurt that impels you forward and then converts to an intense almost animal urge to hurt them first.

    Does that count as "fear"? It might but that catch all word fails.

    When have I felt what I would associate with the common use of the word fear? When I was told for the first time I was being investigated for civil rights violations regarding a shooting. When I was sued for the first time. When I found out there was a contract on my partner and I - and our families. When I first found out forces inside my agency had mobilized to investigate me and destroy me. And yet...



    What do you fear? What do you fear most? Think about it now. Write it down.

    That is easy. And failing is not an option. I came to terms with that a long time ago. I will die before I fail those entrusted to me. I will die before I betray my own expectations of myself...my own self-image. Once you know what the "IT" is for you, everything else is very simple.

    I suspect the list for forum members will be a short one, and will include failing to act when you could or should, failing to act decisively and effectively if you do, and "letting down the side."

    Consider how articulating that fear can explain and justify your actions if you're touched upon the shoulder. TR was right, even if FDR was not.

    Its funny how some are incessantly focused on things like holsters and ammo...and look what this tribe discusses. The things we ponder would melt the weak brains of most others...we really do speak a different language.

    FDR was the first communist president in the USA...Theodore...he was in fact right. But men like him make others very nervous, because by their own understanding of manhood, they constantly condemn the weak...simply existing. We accept what we feel...but we need to understand what the really is so that we can use it to our service. Failure is never an option.
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 07-30-2017 at 08:47 PM.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  9. #9
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    I think this needs to be a sticky.
    I am in a sunny place full of shady people

  10. #10
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    Would I understand you all correctly, if I said, "Be calm when you act; but express the fear you felt when later you explain why you reacted."? AND "Fear may not be required by statue; but it is FEAR that explains your perception of the threat."?

    I would also offer that fear does not have to mean a puddle of your own urine at feet. Fear is that "hair on the back of your neck", that pause for a deep breath, that wait, lemme look behind me or go left instead of right. And lets not forget the tunnel vision, audio shut down, and jolt of adrenalin that allows the Viking scream and charge into battle. FEAR is a powerful and it works both ways.

    As warriors, we don't like to call it fear because we think it makes us weak. We prefer to call it courage; but fear and courage are both the same and different at the same time. When the time comes to do battle allow the courage to flow through you; and later when called to defend your actions express the fear. Cowards do not understand the courage side of fear; but they do know the power of fear....

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