Originally created 09/17/02

Stay alert, watch for signs of deception



There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

- James Thurber

I don't think we should make fun of that north Georgia nurse who reported a carload of terrorism suspects, who appear to be nothing more than med students with bad attitudes.

We've all been asked to be on our guard, after all, and here's how you can help.

The Associated Press reports that FBI agents are now being trained to watch body language of people suspected of terrorist involvement.

"Training includes deciphering all the clues you get - not just what someone tells you," the FBI's Roger Trott said.

What are some of those clues?

Raised eyebrows for one. Yes, according to the Center for Nonverbal Communication, there's a good chance somebody's lying when his eyebrows go up while he's talking. (Think of a kindergarten teacher telling a fairy tale.)

Some other indications of anxiety or deception include: widening pupils, blushing cheeks and ears, constant looking at surroundings and shaky or sweaty hands.

Speaking of hands, a lack of hand gestures when talking indicates that one is not being entirely forthcoming.

So, let's review: Be wary of people who talk without using their hands, who are always checking out their surroundings and whose eyebrows go up when they speak.

That pretty much describes most of the network TV reporters who rushed down to a Florida swamp last week to report the latest threat to America.

Make fun of them, if you want, not the nurse.

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: If aliens are smart enough to travel through space, why do they keep abducting the dumbest people on earth?

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MAILBAG: Tommy Earhart of Aiken is traveling with the Millbrook Baptist Church group and sends a postcard from Sydney, Australia.

Rich and Nancy Parris of Evans and Randy and Wanda Knowles of Augusta are spending the weekend in Baltimore.

John and Colleen Quinn are in Minnesota, where Colleen is celebrating her 50th high school reunion. And Jim and Jane Cordell send a card from Quebec, Canada.

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TODAY'S JOKE: As a surgeon was finishing up an operation, the patient woke up and demanded to know what was going on.

"I'm about to close," the surgeon said calmly.

Fearing pain, the patient grabbed his hand and said, "Oh, no you're not!"

"OK," said the doctor, handing him the needle. "Suture self."

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.