Crisis hostage management/criminal justice Essay

It is saddening when every day we read about reports of hostage taking happening all over the world. Reports from police intelligence departments across the world indicate that, hostage taking cases ranges from kidnapping of infants to taking hostage of crew of big water vessels, as is rampant along the coast of Somalia in Africa. US is not an exeption, infact many cases of hostage taking have been reported especially in the southern region states. An example of hostage taking case happened at Hillary Rodham Clintons campaign offices in Rochester, New Hampshire.

A nicely dressed grey haired man known as Leeland Eisenberg walked into the offices on a Friday demanding to talk to Hillary Clinton about helping him get mental health care and ended up taking at least five people hostage including an infant. The ordeal went on until night when the last hostage walked to freedom and the hostage taker peacefully surrendered to the police. Although Eisenberg had a packet of road flares taped on his body, when he was persuaded by the states police negotiator he gave up and surrendered to SWAT police team.

According to Hillary Clinton as she addressed a press conference later in Portsmouth that night, Eisenberg was in need of help and was seeking attention in absolutely the wrong way. Eisenberg was held on state charges of kidnapping and reckless conduct, federal charges were being considered. (http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/22043358). Another hostage taking incidence occurred in Louisville whereby a mother (Gail Lynn Coontz) killed her two children aged 14 and 10 years in their beds and later went to a college she attended with a gun before handing over the weapon to the college’s health counselor.

The threat at Louisville University College ended with no injuries about half an hour after it began, but school officials asked police to check on the children, which were found dead with gunshot wounds. Mrs. Coontz was taken to a psychiatric clinic and later taken to Louisville jail. According to university police, Maj. Kenny Brown, she was charged with terrorist threatening for pointing a gun at a police officer. (http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/23827059). The two counts of hostage taking were very different from one another because the first case was carried out in a mild manner i. e.

no violence was reported, the road flares posed some considerable danger, had the suspect decided to use them. The hostage taker was just trying to seek attention according to Hilary Clinton because he unconditionally released the hostages after persuasion by a police negotiator. The second case was a serious one, with the suspect having shot dead her two children earlier on. It’s true that both hostage taking incidences were perpetuated by people who were undergoing psychological problems. For instance Eisenberg had a court case filled by his wife for drug abuse, assault, and verbal threats, while Mrs.

Coontz was a window and therefore was stressed by family burden. In both incidences of hostage taking, the hostage takers were persuaded into giving up peacefully, i. e. they never put up any violent resistence. in view of the US governments policy on hostage taking threats, based on past experience, making concessions that benefit hostage takers in exchange of release of hostages increased the danger that others will be taken hostage. At the same time the US government always makes every effort to contact the captors or even their representatives so as to secure the release of hostages.

under current US law, 18 USC 1203(act for prevention and punishment of the crime of hostage taking, enacted oct 1984),seizure of a US citizen as a hostage anywhere in the world is a crime and therefore subject to investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to prosecution by US authorities (http://www. state. gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/8190. htm. ) In the first incidence Eisenberg was sweet talked to by a state police negotiator into giving up and surrendering peacefully to the police. And in the second case Mrs.

Coontz although pointed a gun to police a officer she voluntarily gave out the gun to the college health counselor. This shows clearly that the negotiators played their part professionally and with a lot of patient. From both counts it’s evident that very minimal force was applied by the police to free the hostages. In the first incidence for instance, although police camped outside the building they never attempted to use excess force lest they provoke the hostage taker into doing a nasty action. Similarly, in the second incidence police played safe until Mrs. Coontz surrendered the gun to the college health counselor voluntarily.

Therefore the outcomes of both cases of hostage taking were a success on the part of police since no one taken hostage was injured and the suspects were apprehended. The articles from which I extracted these two hostage taking counts were fairly written, providing detailed information about the hostage takers, and the hostage taking incidence. But the part on negotiation between the suspects and the negotiators was not well expounded in both counts. Readers would want to know the agreements leading to the softening of hostage takers and hence giving up. The writers also gave very little coverage on police action about the incidences.

The motive of the killings of the two children by their mother should have been provided . References: A man takes more than five people hostage at Sen. Hilary Clinton’s campaign office in Rochester N, H, available at; 1) http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/22043358 accessed on April 15, 2008 a mom takes terrorizes a college with a gun after killing her own two children, available at; 2)http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/23827059accessed on April 15, 2008 US policy on hostage taking threats, available at; 3) http://www. state. gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/8190. htm accessed on April 15, 2008

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