Hostage negotiation is as much of an art as it is a science. The negotiator not only holds the lives of the victims in his hands, but the lives of law enforcement and the hostage taker as well. His persuasiveness and communication abilities have the power to protect and save lives. The Hostage Taker
One of the most common reasons for a hostage taking situation is desperation. The hostage taker feels desperate because of either what he has done or what he is doing. (DeFao) Taking a hostage is a split second decision usually made out of desperation. (DeFao) A person who is in the process of committing a crime, for instance a bank robber who has been surrounded or confronted by police, may resort to taking a hostage, or a person who has recently committed a crime and is running away from police is also a potential hostage taker.
The most common hostage situations involve a subject who is holding someone with whom there was a romantic involvement, a family member, or someone whom they have had previous problems with. (Fuselier) Romantic involvement and love gone bad are often the emotional driver which leads the subject to lash out. These cases are also the most difficult to negotiate and unfortunately many of them often end in tragedy due to the delicate nature of the subjects emotional state. The mood of the hostage taker often changes from depression to anger, these mood swings pose difficulties for negotiators because they have to keep changing negotiation strategies. (Fuselier)
The third type of hostage taker is either a disgruntled employee or a student. Workplace violence can often be triggered by stress on the job, oppression from co-workers and boss, less than standard performance on the job. Often employees who feel that they do not fit in with the corporate culture experience multiple levels of stress from both the environment and co-workers. (Feldmann) These intense stress levels often interfere with job performance, which lead to management reprimands, which increase the stress level. The disgruntled employee feels that he is spiraling downward and often blames others for his troubles. (Feldmann) These intense emotional levels often lead to a distorted sense of reality. If the subject is terminated from employment, anger is the stressor and sometimes violence is their way out. (Feldmann) Gaining revenge takes over logical thought and tragedies occur. As far as...