Posts tagged “surveillance

Is Critical Thinking a Thing of the Past?

Within the range of two weeks, a missing person’s case, the disappearance of a high school student, and a bizarre occurrence at a local supermarket , illustrate why information still unknown is simply speculation.

Milwaukee police consider Kris Zocco an obvious person of interest in the disappearance of Kelly Dwyer, a metro Milwaukee woman who was last seen on October 11. Sources say investigators turned their attention to a large Menomonee Falls landfill after they learned that Zocco had his vehicle portered.  Yesterday, Milwaukee’s Fox News 6 reported that detectives have recovered possible evidence at the landfill.

http://fox6now.com/2013/11/09/potential-evidence-recovered-from-landfill-in-kelly-dwyer-case/

In the Dwyer matter it is fair to say that investigators fear the worst, as was the case earlier this week when 15-year-old Kathryn Stalbaum supposedly left for Kettle Moraine High School on a bicycle but never arrived.  A few days later, however, Stalbaum approached a police officer in Chicago and reported herself found. One can only speculate why the 15-year-old girl thought it a good reason to leave the state without notice, although, if passed experience bears any precedent, it might be due to someone she met online.

Of course, speculation is just that, speculation, which is why it is important to let investigators sort through the facts — one way or another — before jumping to conclusions.

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a woman, shopping at an Aldi grocery store in Wauwautosa, discovered a Black Widow spider in a package of grapes. The story sparked an interesting debate on the first-page of the comments section of the fish wrapper (also known as the newspaper, for readers not familiar with Milwaukee PD vernacular).

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/milwaukee-aldi-stores-yank-grapes-after-black-widow-spider-discovered-b99138407z1-231285071.html?page=1#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

One reader suggested that the woman’s story didn’t pass his “BS detector.”  He was immediately challenged by another commentator and Karen Herzog, of the newspaper’s staff. Suggesting that something might not be reality until more follow-up is conducted is, in this instance, prudent.  However, simply assuming that information is factual is naive.

These comments made about the Black Widow spider, I think, speak to a much broader issue: a large segment of the American populace lacks critical thinking skills.  They would rather be willing dupes, especially if the disinformation conforms to their world view, than dig below the surface and expose unpleasant realities.

Former Judge Andrew Napolitano frequently points out that it is a crime for a citizen to lie to a government agent but perfectly lawful for a government agent to lie to a citizen.  This is the ultimate ‘do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrisy.  Yet when the President of the United States lies to the American people, as long as he is lying in the name of their political philosophy, supporters try to explain away the deceptions.

President George H.W. Bush told us to read his lips and promised he would not offer new taxes, even though he later jacked them up.

President Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”  DNA on a blue dress proved him a liar.

President George W. Bush said the United State did not torture, even though water boarding, which he authorized, is torture.

President Obama lied to Jay Leno by denying that the United States does not have a surveillance program that targets its citizens.  His lies about health care are off the charts.

Quite frankly, the reason politicians and others speak mistruths is that they are fully aware that a large percentage of the population is willing to tolerate them, even if the lies are self evident. Other Americans are so simple minded that they would prefer to believe that everything the government says must be true.

Why the police chief, the President, or a judge would never lie, right?

Wrong.

God gave human beings a brain for a reason.  Before taking a statement at face value it is important to verify whether what was said is true. This is the primarily difference between a reporter and a detective.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Book Review: A Government of Wolves

Is America slouching towards a police state or is our nation already an “electronic concentration camp?”

In his recently released book, A Government of Wolves: the Emerging American Police State, John W. Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, makes a strong case that our out-of-control federal government has already crossed the Orwellian line of no return.

To make his point, the author quotes Milton Mayer, who made the following observation:

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.”

Mayer, however, was not pontificating about post-9/11 America.  Instead, his observations concerned the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

In A Government of Wolves, Whitehead details the methods and technologies that the federal government, as well as its co-opted local law enforcement ‘partners,’ uses to keep tabs on all Americans.  The debate, as he sees it, is weather the new “electronic concentration camp” is more in line with George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, since both novels offer slightly different versions of how the government seized the freedoms and privacy of the populace.

Personally, I think the Huxley scenario—that the culture is so consumed by entertainment and technology “that the citizenry does not realize they occupy a prison until it is too late’—is spot on.  A thriving democracy depends on a high percentage of knowledgeable voters, and, quite frankly, the knowledge most voters possess is the equivalent of sixth grade reading level.

Earlier this month, noted conspiracy theorist Mark Dice released a ‘man on the street video,’ showing what occurred when some college-educated people where asked to sign a petition asking President Obama to ban the Bill of Rights.  Proof that Low Information Voters (LIVs) abound, many signed without hesitation.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/09/watch-and-weep-heres-a-video-of-people-signing-a-petition-to-repeal-the-bill-of-rights/

These are the sheep, too caught-up in the latest episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, to realize that they are being led to the political slaughter.  As long as the politician that they support gives his blessing, LIVs apparently are too busy to even care that their government is lying about the IRS scandal, NSA spying, or the establishment of a police state in the name of security.

Another assertion Whitehead makes is that the local police are being turned into a federally subsidized army; whereby, the federal government continues to borrow and print money while offering ‘grants’ that equip police departments with drones, cellular telephone tracking equipment, armored personnel carriers, and other high-tech gadgets, such as LED lights that cause nausea.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal echoed this concern in an article entitled, Rise of the Warrior Cop.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

Whitehead also makes a case that, in the near future, society will be divided into two broad categories of classes: the watchers and the watched.  In the United States, over 850,000 people—either contractors or government employees—are involved in the implementation of the Patriot Act-based surveillance state—the one that was supposed to keep tabs on terrorists. Of course, the term “terrorist” is rather subjective, which is why A Government of Wolves notes that intelligence fusion centers have monitored libertarian groups and other organizations that believe the federal government is too large, too intrusive, or no longer abides by the Constitution.

One a scale of one to ten, with one being the worst, the Spingola Files gives A Government of Wolves a nine.  For those who cherish freedom, for the government lap dogs in the mainstream media, and for students of criminal justice, this book is one that you should make a point to read.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


With Government Scandals in the Headlines, New Book Takes a Swipe at Big Brother

Traditionally, June is a good month for new books.  Publishers typically offer some of their best titles in summer, when millions of overworked Americans search for good reads to knock down during vacations. With government scandals on the front pages of many news organizations’ Web sites (formerly the front pages of newspapers), authors of books dealing with issues of bureaucratic excess will likely get an unexpected boost in sales.

One such book, A Government of Wolves: the Emerging American Police State, by John Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, was set for release on June 25.

http://www.amazon.com/Government-Wolves-Emerging-American-Police/dp/1590799755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370058590&sr=8-1&keywords=a+government+of+wolves+the+emerging+american+police+state

With timing being the essence, the book’s publisher, SelectBooks, made Whitehead’s critique of post-9/11 America available on Memorial Day.  Inside, the author takes aim at the 77 federally subsidized Intelligence Fusion Centers, which have cost federal taxpayers at least $1.4 billion.  States and local government spent millions, if not billions, each year staffing these centers that use cellular telephone technology to follow and track citizens absent judicial oversight.

Whitehead further provides a scathing critique of the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center—a mammoth $2 billion facility that records and stores telephone calls, electronic communications, and text messages, once a user types or utters one of 500 select words, many of which are rather benign.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/nprs_all_things_considered_weekend_edition_spotlights_constitutional_attorn

To get an idea of just how widespread the reach of government surveillance has become, visit the below link:

https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/pressure_points_the_electronic_concentration_camp/

MILWAUKEE-BASED CRIME NOVEL NOW AVAILABLE IN TRADITIONAL PRINT VERSION

Readers of the Spingola Files range in age from criminal justice students to veteran law enforcement retirees.  If you’re a member of the latter category, not that technologically savvy, or simply find reading from the screen of a computer or tablet annoying, here’s some good news: author Mitchell Nevin’s crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee, is now available in print.

Lemon Press—a publisher based in suburban Atlanta—has agreed to produce a second edition of this Milwaukee-based crime novel in print.

Some of you, especially those who have served as members of the Milwaukee Police Department from about 1970 to 2005, might recognize a few of the scenes from Nevin’s novel.  Although described as a work of fiction, I did locate at least three major incidents within The Cozen Protocol’s pages that are eerily similar to actual events.  In fact, the book’s new cover features a picture of a man killed by an arrow, an incident the appears premised on the slaying of Karl Lotharius—the former owner of Von Trier’s tavern on N. Farewell and E. North Avenues, killed when a 30 inch, wood-shaft arrow ripped through his abdomen on December 20, 1981.

The print version of The Cozen Protocol is available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Visit the link below for more details.

http://www.bookwire.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-9781936617180.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.


Just Say ‘No’ to High-Tech Drone Surveillance

This comes to us courtesy of a friend of SF, liberty activist Kaye Beach. Please take a few minutes to watch his video about ARGIS—a drone surveillance system that enables 24/7 surveillance of 15 square miles of any city with the data retained and stored for up to 10 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QGxNyaXfJsA

This technology is scary. If our state legislatures do not get onboard and prohibit drone surveillance absent a court order, freedom, as we know it in America, will die on the vine.

When speaking about the intrusive nature of high-technology, I have noticed that some of those present seem to shrug their heads as if to say, ‘It is here and there is nothing we can do about it.’

Americans should never concede their liberties to the world depicted in Orwell’s novel 1984.

In Olmsted et al vs. the United States (1928), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that wiretapping, absent a court order, was perfectly legal. Why? Because the court determined that telephone companies actually owned the lines, which meant that the renters of the lines—those who used the telephone—did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5577544660194763070&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

Since conversations of a very personal nature occur over telephone lines, Americans demanded that Congress act to protect their privacy from unwarranted government intrusion. In response, the Communications Act of 1934—landmark legislation that prohibited wiretapping of any kind absent a court order—became the law of the land.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Act_of_1934

Now is the time to get on the horn and call your state and federal representatives to demand that legislation restricting the use of drones be propose and passed.

So far, only one American city, Charlottesville, Virginia, has prohibited the use of Unmanned Ariel Aircraft absent a court order or exigent circumstances.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/relying_on_rutherford_institute_model_resolution_charlottesville_becomes_fi

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Privacy Advocate: Surveillance Initiatives a Response to Coming Debt Crisis

This week, the Spingola Files (SF) had an opportunity to interview privacy advocate Miles Kinard, whose e-magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying, shines a light on many of the technologies federal, state and local law enforcement use to monitor and track the movements of Americans.  

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354972345&sr=1-1&keywords=american+stasi

Polls in recent weeks have given President Obama his highest approval ratings in three years. Kinard, however, believes the government is in a rush to construct an Orwellian surveillance infrastructure prior to the coming U.S. sovereign debt crisis.

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SF: Now that the election is over, do you see cutbacks in the federal budget affecting the enormous federal grant outlays given to state and local law enforcement for the continued expansion of surveillance?  

MK: I don’t see the Obama administration cutting back on funds for government surveillance. I actually believe these grants will increase.  Do the math. If interest rates climb to eight percent, which they will when once investors realize the risk in U.S. Treasuries, and the national debt hits $20 trillion, the debt service—tax dollars used to pay the interest on the total owed—will consume 75 percent of all tax dollars collected by the federal government. The Obama administration will address the problem by asking the Federal Reserve to print more money—a QE4 or QE5 scenario.  Hyper-inflation will ensue, wiping-out the savings of elderly Americans.  The cost of simple commodities, like as food, will shoot-up 50 to 100 percent in a relatively short period of time.  This will cause government instability and large scale civil disturbances.

SF: What types of policies do you see being put in place in regards to surveillance to monitor and control the population?

MK: Drive down your local inter-state highway and look at what is mounted on those poles on the side of the road, on bridges, or on the roofs of squad cars. Those little white boxes, those are cameras operated, at least in Wisconsin, by the Department of Justice/State Patrol.  Some can be easily retro fitted for RFID readers, which can ascertain the VIN from a passing vehicle from a chip implanted in new tires (See the below link, inserted by SF).

http://www.rfid-ready.com/201202153398/goodyear-integrates-rfid-tags-in-truck-tires.html

Coupled with Automated License Plate Reader technology—generally cameras mounted on squad cars, although some are permanently placed at strategic locations—that capture, time stamp, and geo-tag the location of passing vehicles, and government agents will soon be able to place a license plate into a data base and easily determine the whereabouts of a vehicle.

So you see where this is going. Total surveillance, where everyone is a suspect and their individual data is stored, in some instances, up to ten years on government servers, for retrieval whenever they become a target for whatever reason—criminal or political.

SF: So you believe these enhanced technologies might be used to control constitutionally protected speech and assembly?

MK:  It is not difficult to imagine. Remember Joe the Plumber? He was the man who dared ask candidate Obama a question during the 2008 campaign in Ohio, where Obama admitted that his goal was wealth redistribution.  Within hours a Democratic Party operative in the Ohio state government unlawfully accessed a government data base in an effort to locate dirt on this man.  There they found Joe the Plumber had some type of relatively minor tax lien. This info was then leaked to other Democratic operatives and then the media in an effort to discredit a citizen who did little more than ask a simple question of a candidate for public office.

Now, let’s say a particular individual chooses to take to the streets in order to lawfully assemble, maybe to protest against the sovereign debt crisis or out-of-control government spending, i.e. the Tea Party.  No doubt this person’s image will be captured on some type of surveillance camera. These cameras might be private or public, but the 74 intelligence fusion centers throughout the country, including the two in Wisconsin, have access to the surveillance cameras of their ‘private sector partners,’ or they might be captured by drones. Real ID laws now require individuals in Wisconsin to submit to biometric photographing at the DOT.  Biometrics is a mathematical equation that is given to a facial or bodily image. A computer can then identify this image, using facial recognition software.  

Within minutes, a government agent can determine the protesting party’s identity.  

Then, an NCIC and DOT record check is run.  This will determine if the person is wanted, the status of their driver’s license and the contents of their criminal record.  Now a government an agent can do a work-up with Choice Point, a private company that collects data on all adult Americans and sells this information to the others, including the government.  Next, the agent can conduct an ‘Alpha check’ with the State Patrol do determine what vehicles the individual owns.  With the license plates in hand, data bases are then accessed to determine the travel of the vehicle’s owner.  With data procured from smart phones and computers, agents can determine what Web sites one has visited, what type of purchases were made with credit cards, financial transactions, as well as the particular movies and books a person enjoys.  The next stop is Facebook and Twitter where most Americans—like sheep being led to the slaughter—give their private information, political beliefs, and other details about them away for free. 

Hence, the government—one desperately seeking to quell discontent—can develop a dossier to smear virtually anyone who dares question the President or any other representative of the government.

SF: Why is the mainstream media turning a blind-eye to the creation of the surveillance state?

MK:  Well, let me preference the following comments by saying I am a Libertarian.  I did not support either of the big government candidates—Romney or Obama.  This is no longer just a ‘surveillance state.’  We are on the fast track to a police state.  Our judiciary is a joke. Most judges, so-called liberals or conservatives, are simply politicians more concerned about getting reelected to the bench and/or supporting their political party through their decisions than the intent of the Constitution.

Then there is the media, 90 percent of whom voted for Obama.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed the mainstream press literally cover for a political candidate like they did Obama.  When Ronald Reagan was President, the press went crazy when the budget deficit hit $100 billion.  The press has never seriously questioned Obama on these huge annual deficits. Think about it, when Obama leaves office the national debt will likely be $20 trillion. That means Obama—the 44th U.S. President—will have racked-up more debt in eight years than all 43 prior presidents did in 232 years.

Yet even with all this debt and proof that a turn-key police state is being quickly constructed, the mainstream media simply refuses to ask Obama or any representatives of his administration any tough questions.  After all, Obama ran as the constitutional law professor who valued civil liberties.  Instead, Gitmo is still open, he has given the order to kill at least one American citizen absent due process, and has used drones in Pakistan—a sovereign nation we are not at war with—to kill terrorists and thousands of other civilians who just happened to be around the terrorists when they were killed. Remember the press grilling the Bush administration about water boarding terrorists?  Yet when the Obama administration simply kills them and the other civilians considered ‘collateral damage,’ well, there apparently is nothing for the mainstream press to skeptically see.

SF: What can Americans who value free enterprise, hard work, the true meaning of the Constitution, and limited government do to preserve the rights and freedoms of the republic?

MK: Cut federal, state, and local spending to the minimum needed to provide simple core services. A government willing to print money and borrow money at a record pace to buy votes and create an apparatus to spy on its own people is not a government that can be trusted. Whatever happened to the concept of ‘We the People’?  Support groups like EPIC (www.epic.org), the Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), and listen to straight-talkers like Peter Schiff (www.schiffradio.com).  And, of course, let me make a plug here, purchase American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His lastest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Update: New Spingola Files Book Now Available

If you own a Kindle, an i-Phone, an i-Pad, an Android, a Mac or a PC, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You is now available for purchase exclusively at Amazon.com.  Simply download the Kindle app to any of these devices and click this link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354678740&sr=1-1&keywords=spingola+files

Readers will get my take on a killer drifter, the details of the homicide investigation of two young Milwaukee girls, the guilty verdict of Drew Peterson, an examination of the emerging American surveillance state, as well as 36 additional articles of criminal justice import.

Within 24 hours after the book’s release, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You debuted at #5 on Amazon.com’s criminal procedure list and ranked #15 on Amazon’s list of “hot new releases.”

Kindle gift cards are available at Amazon.com. Give the gift of reading this Christmas!

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Security vs. Privacy: An Interview with WUWM

Yesterday, WUWM aired an interview I did with Lake Effect’s Stephanie Lecci regarding America’s post-9/11 surveillance state. We discussed the use of drones, the expansion of intelligence fusion centers, infrared technology, the spread of facial recognition software, as well as the ever-evolving state of the law pertaining to surveillance.

To hear the interview, please visit the following link:

http://www.wuwm.com/programs/lake_effect/lake_effect_segment.php?segmentid=9105

BOOK UPDATE:  to learn more about intelligence fusion centers and the role of the local police in the surveillance state, checkout privacy advocate Miles Kinard’s magazine exposé: American Stasi: Fusion Center’s and Domestic Spying.  The article is climbing the charts at Amazon.com—listed at #3 at 5 p.m. CST. 

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334787921&sr=8-1

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012