Fiction Pet Peeves: Hostage situation
Recently (or maybe not so recently by the time you read this), terrorists launched a few simultaneous attacks in Paris. Many of us, after hearing the news, would have feelings of horror, anger, confusion, and all kinds of bad stuff. For me, this sparked an old thought.
Hostage situations aren’t unusual, especially in popular media. I’ve always wondered how effective it actually is.
As far as I know, the policy for hostage negotiation is to not immediately give in to the hostage-taker’s demand. If not everyone else would start taking hostages if they want stuff, like becoming the next prime minister. So if you’re going to take someone hostage, it’s going to take awhile, and you’ve gotten yourself into that situation, your life is basically in the negotiating team’s hand. Refuse to budge? They could just look at the greater good and kill you at the cost of a few hostages’ life. Then not only did you not get what you want, you dragged other people down with you too.
And that’s when negotiation teams are dealing with ransom demands and stuff. What about more personal matters?
At some point, we would have seen a scene where someone takes a hostage, usually when the hostage-taker’s outnumbered and wants to get out. When I see this, I wonder, what if the hostage just drops to the ground? The hostage-taker actually needs the hostage alive the most, because the human shield is the only thing standing in between the hostage and a lot of angry people. Doesn’t a hostage become a burden instead?
Then again, most hostages value their lives too much to become dead weight to the hostage-taker and risk getting killed, so it evens things out. I wonder if there’s a scene out there where the hostage-taker ended up in an even worse position because he/she grabbed a hostage.