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[Opinion] Police: Complete Novices

Posted August. 09, 2004 22:10,   


“Reading People” by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius is an American bestseller. Dimitrius is a jury consultant for the defense who helps identify perfect jurors.

She played a crucial role for white Los Angeles Police Department officers to be acquitted of assault in the Rodney King trial in 1992 (which were the cause of the L.A. riots that year), and for the football star O.J Simpson who was accused of killing his wife, to be acquitted of murder.

According to Dimitrius, people have separate databases in the capacities of their conscious and subconscious minds. A judgment made in the subconscious database is “intuition,” that logically inexplicable “something is quite not right” feeling we get sometimes.

Usually women have a more highly developed intuition, the sixth sense of human beings, than men. Intuition enables people to grasp a situation, and that ability is linked to fast and appropriate situation control. A grandmother or a mother will notice better when a child tells a lie than a grandfather or a father would. Women in general are socialized to read the feelings of others faster, even from an early age. They are brought up to be more interested in fashion, hairstyles, shoes, jewelry and appearances. A mother receives repetitive training sessions for finding out reasons just by looking at the expressions and behavior of her baby, who cannot speak yet.

In one particular situation where the police seemed to be complete novices, a 49-year-old lady showed excellent crisis control ability in the process of capturing cop killer Lee Hak-man. She calmed down Lee, who was threatening her with a knife, and treated him with noodles and fruits. The way she made him comfortable enough to tell her his excuses and pleas for his crimes was amazingly calm. While the convict was surfing the internet, she turned on the vacuum cleaner and called her son’s cell phone to tell him to call the police. That illustrates an absolutely admirable crisis-control ability. The police, on the contrary, were bewildered, and at one time, put the woman and her grandson in danger.

While the woman and the baby were taken as hostages, the police came to the site blasting a siren and knocked the front door just to make the convict perplexed. Had the woman not hid in the bathroom fast enough, the murderer could have harmed her and the baby, or worse. The police have a lot to learn from the lady who read the emotions of the murderer, reported her circumstances promptly, and managed the situation smartly.

The sixth sense of a 49-year-old woman is not a theory written in a textbook.

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial Writer, hthwang@donga.com