Yesterday Harney County (Oregon) Sheriff Dave Ward met with Ammon Bundy at an intersection near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge - federal land which was seized last Saturday along with other militia-activists.
From a body language viewpoint this handshake between Sheriff Ward and Mr. Bundy tells us some critical information. There were other law enforcement personnel present (by some reports, sheriffs of neighboring counties) as well as some other activists - with Ammon Bundy as their apparent leader.
Note that Mr. Bundy is pointing his body approximately 90 degrees from the sheriff. During a handshake, the entire body - feet, hips, torso, shoulders, face - and most importantly the eyes - should be pointed directly toward the other person. The sheriff is pointing toward Bundy - but Bundy is not doing the same.
A few seconds later - after the 2-5 second duration handshake - if good rapport is to be achieved and/or maintained one or both people should rotate their bodies so that collectively there is a 20-30 degree rotation (so that their bodies are not directly pointing at each other). If, after a handshake, this body rotation does NOT occur - it will serve to elevate the tension between the two people (the same is even true in the animal world). Here we see an extreme rotation AND it's DURING the handshake (not after). In isolation, such body nonalignment may signify disrespect, dislike, lack of engagement and/or lack of sincerity.
If there's one time when there should be eye contact - it's during a handshake. Note that Sheriff Ward is looking at Bundy, however Bundy is looking off in the distance - to Ward's right. It's amazing how frequent those who are leaders (or who call themselves "leaders") will not look another in the eye during a handshake. This non-eye contact during a handshake, when interpreted in isolation could convey lack of respect, deception, insincerity, acquiescence or being intimidated.
Notice also that the Sheriff's left hand is out at his side, while Bundy's left hand is in his pocket. This is also an extreme body language faux pas. It doesn't matter if it's winter. The left hand should never be hidden or pocketed when shaking hands. Taken on its own, this hidden-hand behavior also has the same possible meanings as the above described low degree of eye contact - being intimidated, lack of respect, deception, acquiescence or insincerity.
Did you notice how the Sheriff is leaning into the handshake but Bundy is leaning a bit backwards? What do you think this means?
While this is only but moment in time - it's very telling. When interpreted in toto, this particular handshake-meeting is significant for low respect, insincerity, a non-compromising mindset - on the part of Mr. Bundy. Law enforcement should strongly consider these during their negotiations as well as very possibly a clandestine plan.
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