Subject: Formal Inquiry for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Dear Ms. Garcia,
My name is Darcy Lewis; I’m a doctoral student at Columbia University in New York, currently researching my dissertation in Politics and Terrorism at the College of Political Science. I understand this is a bit out of the blue, but I was wondering if you would be willing to provide me with any contact information for anyone you might know who might be willing and able to be interviewed in regards to the phenomenon of lone wolf attacks in the United States, primarily from a basis of determining behavioral, psychological, and cultural influences.
I completely understand if you are too busy to answer this email, but I would really appreciate it if you could give me even just one name. Obviously in New York City there are any number of people I could talk to about this, but I’ve heard really good things about the quality of knowledge and expertise exhibited by the BAU, and it would be a tremendous help to me if I could talk to someone whose entire career is centered around the psychology of lone wolf threats, be they terrorist-based or more criminalistically inclined.
Due to the nature of my dissertation and the topics involved, I have provided both my project proposal and a previous transcript (name blacked out) of a previous interview I have conducted to give you a better idea of the time constraints and topics which may be involved.
I hope to hear from you soon!
Darcy A. Lewis
Phone: 212-555-0912 | 212-555-4938
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
Subject: Re: Formal Inquiry for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Dear Ms. Lewis:
Well hello there smarty pants! I am not really the person that would best be able to answer your questions, so I’m going to forward your email to the person that would be. You should be hearing from Dr. Reid soon. You want someone with excellent quality of knowledge; he’s your guy. He’s also the most qualified member of the team based on the details of your proposal. In the meantime, if you need any sort of raw data, I am your gal. Within parameters, I can help with compiling data lists that might aid in your research. I’ve attached the form necessary to request information from me. It’s your typical government document, so if you need help parsing the red tape aspects of it, you know where to reach me.
Best of luck!
Subject: Re: Fwd: Formal Inquiry for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Dear Ms. Lewis:
The scope of your proposal is fascinating. You’re taking an interesting bent by considering the microcultures that produce these “lone wolves” and the potential predictable behaviors based on the norms of these cultures. It really calls into question the moniker “lone wolf.” I assume you’re planning to look at the socio-political implications should these behaviors have specific, identifiable features.
I’m curious, though, if your interest in this topic has to do with your own experiences at the hands of what many would consider a lone wolf. You were at the center of one such attack in New Mexico, though on a scale unlike other such attacks. Are you perhaps trying to find reason in a Norse God’s madness?
Whatever your reasons may be, I am happy to participate in an interview with you. However, I am unable to do so in person as my own schedule (as I’m sure you are aware) is rather erratic given the nature of my job. Phone might be better, though it is equally likely I will be called away. You can send along your list of questions and I can type up responses, or we can try over phone as long as you are comfortable with knowing the call might have to end abruptly.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Dr. Spencer Reid
BAU, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Subject: Re: Re: Formal Inquiry for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Thank you kindly! I have been researching on my own, obviously, but I would love to get my hands on the documents that I’ve listed in the attached form. (I submitted a FOIA for these ages ago but you know how the wheel of bureaucracy grinds: slowly, and with many screams.) Also, I don’t know if you’d be able to access anything to do with the attacks in either Orlando, Florida (i.e. Pulse) or in Las Vegas (as obviously that’s an ongoing investigation, and I’m not even sure if it’s under the FBI’s purview) but if you could get anything on either of those at all, I would be forever grateful and probably owe you a chunk of my soul.
Hopefully I’m not being offensive when I say that you’re saving my butt, Miss Garcia. I appreciate it a lot, and if you’re ever in the city, you should claim a lunch from me; I owe you.
Subject: Re: Re: Fwd: Formal Request for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Dear Dr. Reid,
Thank you; it means a lot to hear that someone thinks this is a project worth pursuing. Obviously the national security issues are multivarious and complicated, not to mention the issues in the constitutional law sector, but I’m hoping to at the very least come to a better understanding of sociocultural drives in the fundementalization or isolation of those who eventually become lone wolf terrorists. Up until now it’s been impossible to be able to describe any one general personality type or come up with a list of characteristics which describe them, as they’re too varied in political or personal motives to really have any kind of overarching descriptor, but at the same time they have to have some kind of similarity somewhere. There’s also been studies done on mental illness in regards to lone wolf attacks, but I refuse to think that that could be the only possible reason.
On that note, I have to say that this is the first time anyone’s been so up-front about Googling me. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an FBI agent has read any or all of the documents from Widowgate (though considering the literal tens of thousands of gigabytes of data Natasha Romanoff dumped, it’d surprise me if anybody’s read all of them) but I can say that no, that’s not really why I’m interested in researching lone wolf attacks. It’s slightly unsettling to consider Loki as a perpetrator of a lone wolf attack, though I suppose it does fall into the category in broad terms. Considering the attack on New York in 2012, though, it might be a better idea to call him the head of a terrorist cell? I’ll have to think about it.
Anyway, not to be distracted: I figured that it would be difficult to schedule an in-person meeting. I’ve heard how busy the BAU can be, and I’m sure that there will be days or weeks where you won’t even be able to get back to me via email, let alone phone calls or personal meetings! If you’re willing to try Skype at some point, that could also work, but we can start off at least with a list of questions (mostly in broad terms) about your background and occupation, about your experiences with those who might be categorized as lone wolf attackers, and a few other things. I’ll have a list of questions for you in the next few days.
Thank you so much, Dr. Reid! I hope to hear from you soon.
Subject: I like drinks that need limes in them
Attached is all the data I am allowed to release with regards to your FOIA requests as well as what is available for Florida and Vegas. Are you ever in DC? Because chica, I am always game for people that want to thank me with good food and even better stories. Reid said you’d probably have some, but I didn’t ask him to elaborate (sometimes he gives more detail than you need). Speaking of, if he happens to cause you any trouble, go ahead and let me know. I know all his soft places and will apply pressure accordingly.
The future is female,
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Fwd: Formal Request for Doctoral Dissertation Interview
Of course your research is worth pursuing. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Should your pursuit provide a series of characteristics or even similarities, it would be of high interest to me and my team. We use work like yours every day. My job is about understanding things about criminals that they sometimes don’t even know about themselves. Finding patterns is one of my specialties, and your work could help us understand one of the least understood groups of killers. It has the potential for great impact.
And it’s that interest in finding patterns and using them to trace behaviors that made me think that you had, possibly subconsciously, selected this topic based on your life experiences. I’ve been aware of you and what happened in New Mexico since the files dropped. I found the files to be light reading during down time on cases. While I could recall any detail from those files, I found your file to be particularly interesting specifically because of your behavior. You did what most people like to imagine they would do when faced with a life-threatening situation: you reacted with fearlessness and gentleness. That gentle compassion and concern for others, I promise you, is rare.
I’ve attached the answers to your first set of questions. We are heading into the field in an hour, but I will get back to you again as soon as I can if you’d like to send me some more questions.
Subject: I figured we should kill the Fwd chain before it grows fangs
I think you’re more supportive of my dissertation than my actual dissertation advisor, and that’s saying a lot. I’m pretty sure my advisor is convinced I’m going to join an ultra-liberal First Amendment cult and advocate for anarchy, though, so that’s….that, I guess.
I hope you don’t mind, but I might have Googled you a little bit after your last email, and holy jeez, I can’t imagine doing more than one doctorate right now, let alone as many as you have. It’s really impressive; thank you so much for being willing to take the time to answer these questions on top of everything else you must be doing. I don’t know if my dissertation will live up to the hype, but I can cross my fingers and hope to find some kind of answer to help all of you out in the field.
I’ve given some thought about the influence Loki had on me, re: your first email. Maybe in some part of me it had some effect, but I think--at least, in my case--it’s more the fact that I’m a Jewish woman watching Nazis openly rally in the country I grew up in. Obviously there hasn’t been a lone wolf killer this decade that I’m aware of that ascribes to the Nazi political agenda, but judging from how the political climate has been leaning I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. I’d rather be able to provide a way to find those people, and probably make Captain America mad in the bargain by doing it.
(Not that Steve would be angry with me for fighting Nazis, but he gets twitchy about anything that might categorize any sort of person. See: Widowgate. I’d rather he not drop me into the Potomac if I can help it.)
(Then again, considering he’s AWOL and he made my boss cry, I’m not super fussed about making Captain America mad anymore. I have my loyalties.)
Thank you for thinking that kindly of me. I’m nowhere near fearless and I’m not very gentle, either, but it’s really nice to hear.
I hope everything goes well for you in the field, and I’ve attached some follow-up questions to this email. Get to them when you can; I have to go through the answers you sent last time, still. Time crunch at Stark Industries.
Subject: And I like drinks that don’t make me act like an absolute moron
Hey, so. Dr. Reid hasn’t mentioned being offended by anything I’ve sent to him up until this point, has he?
I don’t know if you talk to him outside of work, or anything, but. I thought I’d ask.
The future is sober females,
Subject: So you drunk….mailed?
I decided to take this off the official email because that gets monitored and whatnot, so hopefully you opened this up. Anyway, based on your subject line and closing…I’m guessing you drunk emailed someone? I feel like I should dig more into that, but we’re not that good of friends yet, but should we become so, know that I will absolutely get the dirt.
As for Reid, well, the whole team is pretty close, but I can’t say he’s said a whole lot about working with you. That doesn’t mean much, though, because he can be kind of quiet like that and also they’ve been pretty busy lately. But, because I’ve got your back (and I have some guesses about who that drunk email went to), I asked him how it was going. He didn’t have much to say except that he thought things were going well so far.
Waiting for some gossip,
Subject: Crossing a Line?
Is it acceptable to drop the formalities at this point? Not to be unprofessional, but this seems like it might end up being a long back and forth. Besides, I would think that after you Googled me, we could at least be on a first name basis. (I’ve never Googled myself before. I’m curious what you found besides my degrees.) If you’re not comfortable with first names and I’ve stepped over a line, let me know and I will cease all informality.
I’ll be frank, I don’t know a lot of people that also have doctorates, so it’s refreshing to talk to someone going through the process. Part of why I continue to pursue them is my personal quest to know as much as I can. Working for the BAU means seeing bad things happen to undeserving people. If knowing one more fact or making some new connection between pieces of information could help stop that from happening, I can’t allow myself to rest. Your topic feels important in a “better the world” sort of way, so I was fascinated, and am more than happy to continue to help. That doesn’t change though that I should apologize for asking such pointed questions in my earlier emails. Why someone chooses to research a topic is their business and not mine. I pushed you into sharing (fairly personal) information with me based on questions I had after reading files that were probably never meant to be unclassified. I possibly let my excitement at getting to talk to you get the best of me.
You still claim to not be fearless and gentle, but I’d ask you to consider the last email you sent to me and all those reasons you shared (and those you did not) for wanting to tackle this topic and even your degree. And then I’d like you to really consider whether or not those words describe you.
PS. I’ve attached my answers to your most recent questions. I’m sorry for the delay, but we just got back from a rather difficult case.
Subject: Why cross when you can jump?
Whoops, called out. To be entirely honest when I emailed Penelope about maybe talking to someone in the BAU, I didn’t expect an answer for a good few months, let alone such an immediate positive response, so I didn’t get a chance to look at any of the bios of anyone involved. Though I’d be lying if I’d say that’s the entire reason why I Googled you; y’know, you know stuff about me through Widowgate, but I didn’t know anything about you, so it seemed...fair? I don’t know.
(Plus, it’s good to at least have some idea where your specialties are, research-wise, so I have a better framework to develop questions from. Confession time: I might have been sucked into Youtube hell watching shaky cell phone footage of lectures you’ve done at grad schools in DC. I’ve always been most comfortable in a cubicle or liaising with one or two people, in controlled conditions, but I have to say, the work you guys do sounds fascinating. I wish I could observe at some point, though clearly considering respective schedules and the sheer unpredictability of cases that you get, that’s probably not possible. It’s fascinating stuff, and you’re a good public speaker, so that helped even with bad audio.)
(...that’s an obscenely long parenthetical, apologies.)
And while I’m on the subject: please don’t feel like you have to apologize. I’d be hella naive to think that talking to a behavioral analyst wouldn’t come with some prying questions, and to be quite honest, I don’t hide very much? I’m kind of boring, so there’s no point in keeping secrets, really. I’m still not used to people recognizing me from Widowgate files, so I’ll admit the suggestion about Loki took me aback a little bit--I’m usually more anonymous than, say, my boss, or her (possibly ex? I’m unclear still) boyfriend, or my best friend the Good Doctor Foster--but it didn’t offend me at all. Honestly I’m usually the one asking prying questions of people I barely know, so it’s good for me to have someone turn the tables.
All that babbling is to say: Don’t worry. You’re fine. We’re cool.
(Hey, you said dropping formality is okay. I reserve the right to go back to slangland.)
It’s kinda funny to be pursuing a doctorate in aspects of political science and criminology (kind of a weird blend, I know, but my bachelor’s is in PS and my master’s is in crim so I’m slamming the two together in some sickening spiral of hellscape) when I’m working at Stark Industries, y’know? I’m surrounded by physicists and astrophysicists and engineers and mechanics and that’s all wrapped up in one person. But it feels right to keep going as far as I can, so I can kind of understand that idea of wanting to learn as much as possible. Human beings are finite, but information is infinite, so to speak. (Jane would kill me for that analogy.) It’s a little weird to think that someone with at least three doctorates who flies around the country catching serial killers is excited to talk to me, since I was just an intern at the time and even now all I am is an assistant, but I’ll take compliments where I find them.
I’m still not sure I can really believe that I’m either fearless or gentle, but I can tell you I’m….digesting it? I guess? It still doesn’t really feel like those words really apply to me--if you read my file, then you’ll know that all I really did was kinda stand around and help sometimes and provide requisite snark--but I’ll accept that compliment, too. If it was intended as one.
PS. Penelope said something about your work emails being monitored, and it made me realize that mine are too; if you’d rather switch over to private emails (just for convenience’s sake, since god knows I have like three different phones at this point trying to keep everything straight) mine is firstname.lastname@example.org (Yes, before you ask, I am both Puerto Rican and Jewish; it happens.)
PPS. I hope everything went okay with your case, even if it was difficult.
Subject: You have your own website??
Nixing the official email is probably a good idea. I know for a fact Stark likes to hack my work emails when he gets trashed.
I….kind of did? I mean. I managed to get a little trashed (whatever, I’m already pretty trashy even without alcohol) and I remembered I hadn’t responded to Spencer’s latest email or looked at his answers to the interview questions, so I maybe replied while I was kinda wasted. Not that it wound up mattering in the end; apparently my grammar and spelling are just as good drunk as they are sober, praise be to spaghetti. End of scene, exeunt stage right.
And I honestly really shouldn’t be telling you any of that, but from what little Google-fu I’ve been able to use about you, you could probably find out anyway by like. Breaking into my phone or something. So why hide?
It’s good that the whole team is close. I can get why, especially considering what y’all do. The Avengers were the same, before they broke up.
(....that makes it sound like they’re a band??? Which is a great image.)
Disappointingly lacking in gossip,
PS. ….is it weird to be stressed out by compliments? I feel like that’s weird.
Subject: It’s Spencer
I actually didn’t have another email address, so Penelope helped me out. For some reason she thinks this is hysterical, but refuses to explain why.
You keep underselling yourself. Why is that? You talk about how you were “just” an intern; “just” an assistant. But Dr. Foster and (presumably) Pepper Potts are not the type of women to have “just” anyone working for and with them. You say you’re boring and not often recognized, but here I am, across the internet, seeing you. Since you confessed about being “sucked into Youtube hell” I can feel free to also confess to you. I read all the files in “WidowGate” and while fascinating, I didn’t walk away particularly interested in knowing most of the people that I read about. But for some reason, a few words in those Shield reports made you stick out in my mind. It was the saving of a dog while destruction rained down on you that made me pause in an otherwise boring field report and wonder what you must be like. And now I know; at least a little bit, that is.
You know, you don’t have to Google me to learn about me. You could just ask. There’s probably nothing else you need about me since you now have a bio and publication list. That should be all you need for your paper. But in case you need more, you can ask.
Considering we can’t make our schedules work out for even a Skype conversation, I’d say that having you follow us in the field would be difficult to arrange. Something to still consider, though. Perhaps once you get a bit further in your thesis it might be beneficial to see our work in action.
Related: did you forget to attach new questions? I didn’t see any attached to the last email.
PS The last case wasn’t great. We caught him, but it wasn’t good. Thanks for asking.
Subject: Why yes I COULD hack you...
...but why would I when you tell me such interesting things? That’s right, Darcy, I can read between the lines and you said so so much there. Where to start? Hmmmm…
How about we start with this: When did he stop being Dr. Reid and start being Spencer? Was it after your drunk email? (Just what was in that email to lose all that formality??) And further to the point you said “I remembered I hadn’t responded to Spencer’s latest email or looked at his answers to the interview questions” which makes me wonder: just what’s in those emails that isn’t the interview questions?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Quick interlude before the second part of my interrogation: Um, YES. Imagining the Avengers as a boy band that broke up is a GREAT mental picture.
Now then, back to gossip I need to know. What’s this question about compliments? Who is complimenting you and what are they saying that is making it so hard for you to accept whatever awesomeness you exude that they so clearly noticed? I need names. I need details. I NEED DIRT.
Waiting not so patiently,