Thursday, August 26, 2010


Earlier this week, the Philippine National Police embarrassed itself and the nation by bungling the outcome of a hostage situation. (Click here, here, and here for three accounts of the incident: by a local TV station, by Reuters, and by CNN.)

A good friend of mine sent me an email describing how Chinese authorities, in a situation with many similarities, handled their hostage situation. Here it is:

FIRST, I have three demands. Meet them or I shall kill this hostage.

SECOND, The authorities confer in the next room.

THIRD, The head negotiator speaks with the hostage-taker.

FOURTH, Negotiations continue.

FIFTH, Negotiations conclude.

SIXTH, The mess is cleaned up and life move on.

As you can see, the situation was resolved quickly, inexpensively, and effectively. To illustrate one similarity between this situation and the recent Philippine incident, the photo below shows the hostage-taker in the recent Philippine incident. It was was taken during his negotiation with the Philippine authorities.

Why wasn’t he just shot at this point?

Another example of the police’s mistake occurred when they attempted to shatter the bus windows with a sledgehammer. The windows simply bounced back. They should have used a spring-loaded pointed tool or even this $15 pointed hammer:

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