Friday, December 3, 2010


I wonder if people who watch security cameras ever try to quantify the expressions that they see on the faces of those committing criminal activity--I mean, past "Look at this jackass."

This past month I saw one film up close and personal. It was of someone I knew and had tried to establish rapport and friendly relations with.  He was filmed going through someone else's possessions, taking the contents, and putting the box back. His face was hard, sharp, triumphant--cruel, in other words. Past predatory.

I have met other predators: almost been carjacked, had my purse snatched, nearly been mugged, blah blah blah. All these faces were different than the face I saw on film.

So I wonder if there is a register of expressions out there, a quantitative or qualitative scale. But I already have an opinion.

I have seen that cruel face before, but not in connection with a theft. For some reason, this was an emotional crime. If you saw the face but not the hands, you would say it was a beating, an abuse, a kill.

This man thought he was winning. And every viewer was outraged. Everyone who saw or heard about it said he was an idiot. They said he'd "thrown it all away for nothing."  I know from past experience, how the details spun out, that he was unimaginative. His method was just so ordinary. What nobody said--absolutely no one--was that he was morally and ethically wrong.

And that still bothers me.


Bob G. said...

One thing I have never quite figured out is how some people can utterly and completely have NO REMORSE for what they do, as if they feel they're 'entitled" to perform a heinous it's their God-given right or something.

That IS wrong in SO many ways.
Everything we do...every choice we make has it's own consequences.

Very interesting, watching sec-vids...been there, done that.

Have a great Saturday.

Ann T. said...

Oh, now, Bob,
You can't just leave it at that!

"Very interesting, watching the vids."

I need more details. I have to say I was totally shocked by that expression on the face.

He did feel entitled. And like you, that just burns me up. It also makes me feel, in this case, a little sick.

You have a great Saturday too!
Thanks for stopping in!

Ann T.

BobKat said...

Ann T., welcome back.

Good post.

My opinion, the look on his face was the motive. Crime itself is a general term. The crime a person commites has unique motivativators. Yes, with the advent of video monitoring, facial expression could be key to understanding a crime. "The Motive".


Slamdunk said...

It almost seems that folks are not trained to notice things anymore. People walking on the street wear their headphones or are lost in their own world--I don't see too many folks interested in the specifics going on around them. I would guess the facial expressions are not paid attention to much by the majority.

Ann T. said...

Dear BobKat,
Thanks for welcoming me back!

I think you might be right--he had something to retaliate for, but not exactly directly. Maybe.

Anyway, it's definitely worth the thought! I keep trying to figure it out.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,

Oh, I think that too--that we have lost some peripheral awareness due to all the earphones and multi-tasking we do. That said, I'm finding my over-focus on single tasks doesn't fit into the way the world works either.

I think I may get a smartphone, but not use it on the street. A compromise--I surely have a skill to learn, and one to retain.

Have a great day!
Ann T.

BobKat said...

We are referring to two different issues here. 1) Video captures and facial expression; 2) being observant and acting upon our observations.

1) Video capture is a relatively new tool in solving crimes. Ann T. has an interesting perspective that I don't think we were aware of prior to this topic.

2) Being observant: The majority of people would by current nature choose to be oblivious to what goes on around them, even if wearing a headset. Fact is, we as a society have learned to ignore unusual behavior, have learned that being a "witness" most likely will make us a victim.

I got in involved in two missing person cases because my internal sense of justice over-ruled my concern for my own safety. I didn't get involved getting off on it... I truly had more concern for the individuals than my own motives or safety.

Ultimately, I was hurt and frustrated by the lack of progress. In a sense I feel I failed. In another sense, I succeeded in shaking things up enough that much of the information and facts now known about the two cases wouldn't be known if I had just sat on my ass and done nothing.

The rule of thumb in our society: " Don't get involved - you know something - shut up!"

Not exactly the original purpose of Ann T.'s post, but Slam Dunk injected the "horse-blinders" idea, oblivious under a head-set, and I'm simply adding my two cents to his observation.

The reason behind my involvement here is directly related to my belief there are crimes, and there is criminal acts. The motive behind crimes against humanity, causing harm, particularly concern me.

The motivation behind harm to others is important, and understanding these motives is of interest to me.

Ann T. said...

Dear BobKat,
Thanks for clarifying comments. I do think maybe Slamdunk's comment is related b/c we have to practice that awareness of people's faces. I think in a video we have the act recorded, so maybe we don't look at the emotions. And on the street, if we don't look for emotions, then maybe emotions won't look for us.

So maybe it is all of one piece. Very interesting! I am enjoying thinking about this.

As to getting involved, no, there isn't a lot of that these day. It is a risk to extend yourself, and I honor you for the work you have done on those missing persons cases, and that Slam does for them too. I know some very interesting people!

Thanks for a thought-provoker.
Ann T.