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Author Topic: Ponderings 6  (Read 1404 times)

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Ponderings 6
« on: October 05, 2005, 08:24:48 PM »

Listen - One of my first bosses when I went into law enforcement, a man who I consider morally and ethically bankrupt, once passed on a gem during a training session that I have found to be quite rewarding.  He said: “Listen to what anyone says–they may have the piece of information you desperately need.  That person may be a bum, a pillar of the community, or a child.  Listen to what they say.”  The older agents in the training session simply did not get it or want to hear it.  Me, I was just out of the academy and full of p!ss and vinegar–eager to learn and use every technique.  I have always remembered those words.  Nowadays, I interview nice people for a living.  Very few criminals cross my path but I occasionally will interview one out of necessity.  I have found information comes easier when folks decide I’m really interested in what they have to say and so I really am interested in what they have to say.  Somehow, I manage to gain their confidence and often the person being interviewed concludes I should be the first one to hear what they have been wanting to say.  It might be that I present a “listening aura.”  It happened again today.  I interviewed a widow (widowed within the past year) and learned how her terminally ill husband passed his last days, how he underwent treatment, how he decided against further treatment, how he was diagnosed, how it affected their relationship, how he died at home with family in attendance.  It was cathartic for her.  It was educating to me. In terms of gain, we both gained. On the surface, it had nothing at all to do with my line of questioning for the interview but I can rationalize the entire listening session because it gave me an insight into the values and belief systems of the person being interviewed and how her conclusions related to the investigation.  In the language of the 60's, I was determining “where she was coming from.”  Somehow I have been designated possibly by my Creator or my demeanor or my Appalachian accent and culture, or my “style” or all the above to be “the one” folks decide is to hear what they need to say.  Another example: I went to see a medical professional back in 1988.  We talked during the exam.  Just chit chat.  Seemed to click so to speak.  At some point, and I really don’t know why, he decided I was “the one.”   He told me of his assignment as a corpsman at a Marine firebase in Viet Nam.  They got hit by North Vietnamese Army regulars (NVA) one night and the battle raged on through the night and into the morning.  Everyone but him was killed.  He was badly wounded.  As the NVA crossed the wire, he pulled the body of a buddy over him and played dead.  To his horror, they systematically bayoneted each and every Marine just prior to looting watches, rings, equipment from the bodies.  A guy bayoneted the body over him, took the watch and ring, grabbed his watch as well, then prepared to bayonet him.  But just when the body over him was being moved so a good bayonet thrust could be made, a major find at a body a few yards away drew his would be killer and other soldiers away.  Apparently it was a good find as they never came over to finish the job.  Later, they left the firebase and much later, U.S. forces came to the base where they found him.  Fast forward twenty years.  He tells the incident for the first time to a complete stranger–a patient who he decides should know.  After all those years of holding it in.  He remarked he didn’t know why he was telling me about it but felt it should be told.  I believe it was his time to tell and it was my time to be there and to listen and learn.  Transition from the above to the more mundane.  We have folks around us every day who lived through hard times.  Folks who have experienced adversity first hand.  They may be Depression era folks, street people who are down on their luck through circumstances beyond their control, the person sitting beside you who, unbeknownst to you, has undergone trials and tribulations you shudder to even think about.  If they have something to say, consider taking the time to listen.  You don’t have to agree with them.  You may not even really want to hear it.  But, you may be rewarded beyond your imagination.  I believe I have been.  I listened to a former boss who I have absolutely no respect for, a man morally and ethically bankrupt, but, oh, did I get a gem of advice.
Admit nothing.  Deny everything.  Make counter-allegations.
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