“Mum’s The Word!”
BY: Linda M. Gilbertson
In the last issue, my article stated that if you don’t “kick” fear out of your mind and replace it with anger, you might not survive a life and death encounter. And in this article, if you don’t manage the results of your actions, you may not survive the legal system. How you deal with the public, law enforcement and the courts after a life-altering event will greatly affect the outcome of your case and subsequently your mental and physical well-being.
The secret to your survival is to say nothing to anyone. Mum’s the word! During decompression from the adrenaline which propelled you to success, you’ll not only shake, but possibly cry. Let it happen as it is a normal response. You must realize that your emotions will be like a rollercoaster and one moment you may be expressing sorrow, the next moment you’re elated at having survived. And any four-letter words expressed during these emotional swings may seriously effect how society views you. Assume that the public is always listening.
If the public offer you a glass or water or a chair to sit in while you bawl your eyes out of course accept it, but don’t respond to any questions. You can anticipate that someone will approach you for a statement as to what occurred. That someone may have a Smart Phone aimed in your direction. This phone will record everything you say and do, and you and your utterances may appear on the 5:00PM news of your local TV station, or on You-Tube. Whatever you said or did will be subpoenaed and you’ll see it produced in court. What you said or did may seriously damage your case, or lead to your indictment.
When the police arrive, don’t answer their questions, unless you’re giving them a description of a co-defendant who may have run away. But if they ask for a statement about what occurred, you must politely refuse. You’ve been through a traumatic experience and you’re under the effect of Auditory and Visual Exclusion. You may not recall having seen or heard valuable information which will lend credence to your statement. Your mind (Conscious & Sub-Conscious) need time (approximately 24-48 hours) to put the pieces of the puzzle together as to what happened. Any utterance to questions prior to the 24-48 hours may be fractured and incomplete. Many victims (witnesses) have been destroyed on the stand due to inconsistent statements conflicting with the evidence.
If the police pressure you to give a statement, invoke your Miranda Rights and ask for an attorney. Then go home, eat, and sleep and allow the 24-48 hours to pass. If you’re feeling psychologically in need of counseling, confer with someone with whom you have a confidential relationship. Choose a doctor, mental health counselor, your spouse, or pastor, but not your girlfriend, as she’ll be subpoenaed and will testify as to what you told her.
Once the pieces of the puzzle form a comprehensive story, write it down and hire yourself an attorney. The attorney will accompany you to the police department when you submit your statement. Give one complete statement and no more. When you’re called to court to testify, answer the questions asked of you and nothing more. Do not volunteer information. It may be used against you to discredit you. You must realize that the court experience is part of a game between two sides. Whomever successfully convinces the jury will be the winner. Many times at the expense of the victim (witnesses).
The secret to survival in this world is to avoid a confrontation in the first place. If unavoidable, utilize anger over fear to survive and then be prepared for the 24-48 hour period to prepare your statement. Remember, “Mums” the word until you are ready. The world we live in today is far more dangerous than in decades past. We must be vigilant in our personal protection.