This is a hostage situation, because Bradley is holding Susan, her professor, and nine other students in a room. Bradley has weapons and is in a distraught emotional state, refusing to let any of the hostages leave. "In most hostage incidents, the explicit threat is to the hostage's life. It is not the loss of property, status, or belonging to a community that is at stake. Life itself is at stake" (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.12). Therefore, this qualifies as a hostage situation. However, it is a specialized type of hostage scenario in that one of the hostages, Susan, is Bradley's wife. In a true hostage scenario, the "hostage has no value to the hostage taker as a person" (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.13). In a family-violence hostage scenario, the hostage has value to the hostage taker as a person. The other nine students and the professor do not have value as individuals to the hostage taker. As a result, the scenario is a hybrid of a true hostage scenario and a family violence hostage scenario.
"Crises can be seen as happening in stages that have different characteristics and require different skills to manage" (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.25). Bradley is in the crisis stage of crisis. He is actively holding the people hostage. He is volatile and unwilling to speak with the negotiator. He is not planning the activity, though the presence of his duffle bag full of weapons suggests that there was some planning prior to the incident. That means that a negotiator should approach him with an attitude of acceptance, caring, and patience, with the goal of establishing a relationship, establishing credibility, and trying to create an atmosphere...
However, whether a situation is negotiable is not defined by whether or not the hostage taker is negotiating. Instead, the FBI has identified eight characteristics of a negotiable situation: 1) a need to live on the part of the taker; 2) a threat of force by the officers responding; 3) demands by the taker; ) time to negotiate; 5) a reliable channel of communication between the taker and the negotiator; 6) the negotiator must be able to deal with the decision-making hostage taker; 7) the location and the communications of the incident must be contained; and 8) the negotiator must be seen by the taker as a person who can hurt the taker, but who wants to help the taker (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.151). Honestly, there is insufficient information to determine if the situation is negotiable or non-negotiable. At this stage in the incident, I do not know if the taker wants to live, will allow a reliable channel of communication, or views me as a threat. However, because the hostage taker is already making some demands (the desire to just have time to talk to his wife) and there is a way to communicate with the hostages, I would approach the scenario as if it were negotiable.
Once Bradley begins discussing his demands with, they fall into two categories: instrumental and expressive demands. Instrumental demands are those that serve a purpose for the hostage taker. Expressive demands are those that meet the hostage maker's emotional needs (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.17). His instrumental demand is for food; food is a substantive issue that deals with Bradley's needs in the moment. His expressive demands are for whiskey, which is not a need, and for the promise that he does not have to do any jail time. He realizes that he is significant trouble and is looking for reassurance and a potential escape from the situation.
Bradley is in the accommodation/negotiation stage of the event (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.25). He has begun talking to me as…
A psychologist should never solicit demands from the hostage-taker as this will give the hostage-taker an increased sense of power -- something that should be avoided at all costs (Hatcher etal, 1998, p. 460). Rather a psychologist should wait for the hostage-taker to make demands. Once demands are made, the psychologist (or anyone else talking with the hostage-taker) should never dismiss the demands as unreasonable, impossible, or trivial. These demands
Crisis Management: Hostage Scenario The primary issue determining whether or not a crisis situation is a hostage scenario is whether human lives are at stake (McMains & Mullins, 2010, p.12). Bradley has taken a total of 11 hostages: his wife Susan, her professor whom Bradley believes is her lover, and nine other students. Bradley has not made an explicit threat to their lives, but he has weapons with him, is not
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Hostage Negotiations Following the deadly aftermath/fallout from the Attica prison riot in New York State in 1971 -- and from the bloody terrorist attack during the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany -- there have been attempts to change the way in which authorities go about crisis negotiation. This paper discusses the responses that authorities have had to these crisis situations and outlines the steps that have been taken to improve the
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