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 Post subject: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 06:07am
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So, I'm not completely educated about how a hostage situation is handled, but I was curious to know what would happen if the police simply disregarded the presence of hostages.

To make an example: say we have a couple of guys in a place, asking for something, and they have hostages. What would change in if the police simply said "I don't give a shit about you or the hostages, come out and surrender or we'll come and kill you?"


Just to make this clear, I know this is a massively immoral way to act, and I'm not saying random tough-guy stuff about this being "macho" or whatever, I'm just curious to know what would change, especially in criminal activities and tactics. Would it make them more eager to kill? Less eager to kill? Something I'm not aware of?



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 06:50am
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Do hostage takers regularly get what they ask for, under the current system? I don't think I've heard of any instances in recent memory where a hostage-taker actually gets the proverbial suitcase of money, helicopter, and free ride to Mexico.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 07:48am
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Perhaps you might observe a slightly less number of rational, non suicidual individuals taking hostages, and a slightly greater number of irrational, suicidal individuals taking hostages.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 09:00am
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More to the point, you will observe a sharp rise in public vs. police antagonism, as the entire approach reeks of the government not caring about the lives of the people in their charge. This will undermine all aspects of police work.

Also, when criminals are cornered (which happens) with civilians still in the building, they will usually take the civvies as hostages now ; If they know that hostages won't stop the cops from storming the building, and are not inclined to surrender, they will simply kill everyone so that they don't have to bother actually managing hostages.

Remember that outside of psychos, most "classic" hostage situations are actually incidental to the main issue, that is an armed criminal finds himself accidentally with innocent civilians: such as a botched robbery, high-risk arrest etc.

The other type of a hostage situation is a kidnapping, but the dynamics of that are entirely different.

EDIT: Incidentally, the OP's approach would make people less inclined to cal the cops in case of kidnapping, too.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 12:47pm
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I always thought that given the amount of gases and chemical weapons we have available that are far more powerful than tear gas they could pop one through the window and incapacitate all within aerosol blast rage one way or another even if that way is extraordinarily unpleasant.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 01:28pm
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This is probably because contrary to your belief, no knock-out gas exists with the necessary properties?

The Russians used some sort of gas during that Moscow theatre siege a while back, but it illustrated perfectly every single issue with that approach: the "sweet spot" between incapacitation and death is very narrow, and affected by the victim's age, physical condition, weight, outstanding health issues etc.

This is compounded by the fact people who've been hostages for as little as a couple of days can physically deteriorate to the point that a dose which would be harmless otherwise is lethal. If you have children and the elderly or asthmatics amongst hostages, then even tear gas can kill!

In short: using highly potent gas stands a very high chance of doing little to the hostage-takers (who run on adrenaline, and often are young and healthy) while killing all the hostages except the young healthy males.

Every single gas that can cause unconsciousness can also cause death. It's all in the dosage, and you can't control that accurately enough to be certain you won't kill hostages.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 01:49pm
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Remember that device that causes the surface of your skin to heat up as a deterrent? What if there's something like that, but instead the wave penetrates into the muscles, and electrically disrupts them like a taser?

The result of this (probably impossible) device is that everyone within a certain range would drop to the floor, and then the SWAT wearing special suits could go in and arrest the gunmen.



...

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 02:27pm
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Humphnaegal wrote:
Remember that device that causes the surface of your skin to heat up as a deterrent? What if there's something like that, but instead the wave penetrates into the muscles, and electrically disrupts them like a taser?

The result of this (probably impossible) device is that everyone within a certain range would drop to the floor, and then the SWAT wearing special suits could go in and arrest the gunmen.

The only thing you would achieve is that every hostage taker team would now come with a guy holding an armed hand grenade in his hands. He drops, the bomb drops, the hostages drop.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 02:53pm
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Interesting replies here, thanks to everyone posting so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:05pm
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Purple wrote:
The only thing you would achieve is that every hostage taker team would now come with a guy holding an armed hand grenade in his hands. He drops, the bomb drops, the hostages drop.

:roll: Is this supposed to be a serious comment? Hand grenades are regulated in virtually every nation on earth, even gun happy USA. Real life ain't like Gotham City, dolt. :lol:

Also, didn't you notice Pezook's post about how the majority of hostage takers are criminals trying to improvise their way out of a botch? If a "wide beam stun" style ray-gun was possible and available, these are the situations where it would be extremely useful. Of course, this is assuming it didn't cause serious burns or something, say, if you have keys in your pocket; the weapon Humphnaegal referenced had this problem, since it used microwaves which react to metal quite a bit differently than it does flesh. Its the same reason you should never put tin foil inside a microwave oven.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:09pm
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someone_else wrote:
So, I'm not completely educated about how a hostage situation is handled, but I was curious to know what would happen if the police simply disregarded the presence of hostages.
Civil cases against law enforcement would be astronomical. And this attitude would most likely bleed into other situations, creating major trust issues with law enforcement which makes their jobs that much harder.

Purple wrote:
The only thing you would achieve is that every hostage taker team would now come with a guy holding an armed hand grenade in his hands. He drops, the bomb drops, the hostages drop.
I don't know about other countries, but military grade grenades aren't easy to get ahold of. At least not nearly as easy as getting a .38 revolver and/or 12-gauge pump shotgun (two of the most common weapons robberies are committed with). Homemade explosives are finicky to begin with without resorting to the installation of a "dead-man" switch. Criminals going this route would be more likely to blow themselves up before they even get to their target.

Scepticalguy wrote:
I always thought that given the amount of gases and chemical weapons we have available that are far more powerful than tear gas they could pop one through the window and incapacitate all within aerosol blast rage one way or another even if that way is extraordinarily unpleasant.
Ever wonder why Anesthesiologists are so well paid (I think I stole that from a cracked article)? As PeZook said, there's a fine line between unconscious and dead when it comes to drugs.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:36pm
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Humphnaegal wrote:
Remember that device that causes the surface of your skin to heat up as a deterrent? What if there's something like that, but instead the wave penetrates into the muscles, and electrically disrupts them like a taser?

The result of this (probably impossible) device is that everyone within a certain range would drop to the floor, and then the SWAT wearing special suits could go in and arrest the gunmen.


Whats to stop this from killing people? The heart is a muscle after all, and there are issues with the use of tasers on those with heart conditions. Really, I'd imagine anything that disrupts muslce movement/control has the potential to cause serious issues with the target's heart and breathing. That may be an acceptable risk for people resisting arrest, but what about innocent bystanders or people not given the chance to surrender peacefully?

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:37pm
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Humphnaegal wrote:
Remember that device that causes the surface of your skin to heat up as a deterrent? What if there's something like that, but instead the wave penetrates into the muscles, and electrically disrupts them like a taser?


Actually a device like that exists in a (very) prototype form called, obviously enough, a "wireless taser". It's not something you can use to blanket an area with, though, and has a great many issues (like just plain not working half the time) right now.

If it could be perfected and deployed in a way you describe, then yes, it would be an invaluable tool in certain situations. Most likely though it would have limitations that would constrain its use. At the very least it would be dangerous in the same way ordinary tasers are, to people with heart conditions etc.

Unless it could reliably work through thick clothing, it's unlikely it would be deployed with the entry team itself, either. In the sort of split-second life-or-death situation that happens when you storm a building with hostages, you want the certainty that a gun gives you.

Purple wrote:
The only thing you would achieve is that every hostage taker team would now come with a guy holding an armed hand grenade in his hands. He drops, the bomb drops, the hostages drop.


First, this is a pretty ordinary tactic used by organized groups that take hostages for political reasons. Except not quite, because nobody will be able to actually carry around a live grenade for the duration of a typical standoff, which can take days. That doesn't mean the suspects can't carry grenades at all, mind you - just that there probably won't be a guy clutching a live one all the time. Try squeezing something tightly for two days to see why :D

More likely, since hostage-taking is kind of suicidal anyways, there will be actual improvised explosives with any organized group. In the Moscow theatre, for example, several hostage takers wore suicide belts. So it's a prevalent tactic that would remain unaffected by presence of wireless tasers - it's used anyways, because it greatly complicates an assault that DOESN'T use such tools, too.

Second, most hostage takings are actually mundane things, rather than organized operations, so like most tactical tools such a wireless taser would be useful at least for certain situations, minimizing the potential for loss of life during those annoying botched gas station heists.

Third, the REAL issue with using a wireless high-power device that can affect the nervous system remotely is the potential for it remotely detonating any explosives present :P



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:49pm
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TheFeniX wrote:
Homemade explosives are finicky to begin with without resorting to the installation of a "dead-man" switch. Criminals going this route would be more likely to blow themselves up before they even get to their target.

Also, while we're on the subject, I pretty sure that hostage takers are generally averse to blowing themselves up period, whether by mistake or by dead man's switch. Terrorists are about the only exception I can think of, really.

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Ever wonder why Anesthesiologists are so well paid (I think I stole that from a cracked article)? As PeZook said, there's a fine line between unconscious and dead when it comes to drugs.

I will note however that there are drugs which do not have this problem, though they do not cause unconsciousness. The US military experimented with all sorts of "incapacitating" agents such as cannabinoids, psychedelics, and anticholinergic agents, all of which have a much wider safety margin. However, those chemicals were intended to make a soldier unable to operate on the battlefield, a slightly different standard and intention from what we're talking about. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 05:55pm
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Formless wrote:
Also, while we're on the subject, I pretty sure that hostage takers are generally averse to blowing themselves up period, whether by mistake or by dead man's switch. Terrorists are about the only exception I can think of, really.


That's not really true nowadays, though - since hostage taking today is pretty much suicide, if an organized group takes hostages in a place where law enforcement can get to them (unlike, say, Somali pirates who don't have to worry about THAT) it is now very likely that they are, in fact, prepared to die - and may even expect the situation to end with an assault, hoping to inflict terrifying casualties on the hostages and the counterterrorists.

That's part of what made Beslan so fucked.

Of course that's only true for organized political actions, not your everyday hostage situation where the guy does (mostly) want to survive.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 06:03pm
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My point was a general remark to point out the obvious. The moment the police escalate so will the bad guys. And for every multi billion dollar solution like a stun ray you throw at them the bad guys can come up with their own cheaper yet deadly countermeasures. Things like this might help with the problem of accidental hostage situations but they won't be useful against a dedicated enemy. And given the costs of developing and deploying such a system it is likely that you won't be able to use it for the former as much as for the latter.

Some people take things way too literally.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-21 07:47pm
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someone_else wrote:
So, I'm not completely educated about how a hostage situation is handled, but I was curious to know what would happen if the police simply disregarded the presence of hostages.


It would make it blatantly easier to kill all the terrorists. We don't care about hostages? Okay, level the building with tank fire, or throw white phosphorus grenades in the windows. Egypt acted exactly like this during the retaking of several hijacked airliners… using in one case fragmentation grenades and in another a bomb to blow in the roof of the plane so powerful it instantly killed 20 hostages, followed by fragmentation grenades. People stopped hijacking Egyptian planes after those incidents.

Pumping in chemical weapons also works great, like Russia did in the Moscow Theater siege. This wasn't explicitly designed to kill, and the situation was pretty bad, but the overall handing showed a complete disregard for the hostages lives. The handling of Beslan which ended with BTRs and T-72s firing cannon and heavy machine guns into the building wasn't much better; though this came after a major terrorist explosion. Russian infantry also gunned down numerous hostages being used as human shields.

The end result of things like this is people stop emphasising taking hostages, and just act to kill people.

As a total counterpoint, that Philippines bus siege the other year showed what happens if the police value the life of the hostage taker, who was a cop, over the hostages who were Chinese tourists. They had numerous opportunities to kill him, didn't take them even after he'd shot several hostages, then stormed the bus in the most absurdly inept manner ever.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 06:13am
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
It would make it blatantly easier to kill all the terrorists. We don't care about hostages? Okay, level the building with tank fire, or throw white phosphorus grenades in the windows. Egypt acted exactly like this during the retaking of several hijacked airliners… using in one case fragmentation grenades and in another a bomb to blow in the roof of the plane so powerful it instantly killed 20 hostages, followed by fragmentation grenades. People stopped hijacking Egyptian planes after those incidents.


Well, to be honest, hijackings of American and European airliners are practically nonexistent now as well, and had been since the 1980s, so you don't really need to go all violent.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
The handling of Beslan which ended with BTRs and T-72s firing cannon and heavy machine guns into the building wasn't much better; though this came after a major terrorist explosion. Russian infantry also gunned down numerous hostages being used as human shields.


Now, to be honest, I think Beslan was planned from the start to cause a massacre, since nobody sane could possibly believe Russian authorities would give in to terrorist demands. On the other hand, if an organization can make security forces look like bloodthirsty psychos, they could conceivably cause widespread unrest. If they could keep it up that is, which is harder than it sounds...

Purple wrote:
My point was a general remark to point out the obvious. The moment the police escalate so will the bad guys. And for every multi billion dollar solution like a stun ray you throw at them the bad guys can come up with their own cheaper yet deadly countermeasures. Things like this might help with the problem of accidental hostage situations but they won't be useful against a dedicated enemy. And given the costs of developing and deploying such a system it is likely that you won't be able to use it for the former as much as for the latter.


Dude, those organized hostage takings are ALWAYS imabalanced in favor of the hostage takers. It costs millions of dollars PER PERSON to train up a counterterrorism force. Millions more to equip them. The fact counterterrorism costs a lot of money (well, relatively to terrorism, anyways) isn't really a particularly good argument, because generally speaking nation-states value hostage lives and rule of law far more than the money.

And they have deeper pockets than terrorist organizations, anyways. Going by your arguments, complex equipment and training for SWAT and other CT units shouldn't be done at all, because one guy with a pistol and a hand grenade can hold a bunch of hostages for a grand total of 10 000$, yet needs millions of dollars worth of equipment and operating costs to apprehend.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 07:45am
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By Purples logic, almost ALL law-enforcement should cease immediately, since it costs more to train&equip the police than it costs the individual criminal to commit the crime.
The obvious fault in that logic is that we have to consider more than just monetary costs - when facing a well-trained&equipped police force, the criminal is also bargaining his freedom and/or life.

The obvious error in this thinking is even more obvious: if we cease law-enforcement, then crime-rates will go up and cause more damage than it costs to prevent them.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 08:13am
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PeZook wrote:
This is probably because contrary to your belief, no knock-out gas exists with the necessary properties?

The Russians used some sort of gas during that Moscow theatre siege a while back, but it illustrated perfectly every single issue with that approach: the "sweet spot" between incapacitation and death is very narrow, and affected by the victim's age, physical condition, weight, outstanding health issues etc.


My impression from the Moscow Theatre was completely different. Gas proved exceptionally effective, ending the siege with minimal (as compared to conventional assault or even waiting the kidnappers out) casualties, it was the fucked up post-operation medical response (delayed and disorganized) that actually killed most of the hostages (by something as simple to avoid by rescuer as drowning in your own vomit, no less). All the opinions I read on it agree it was well executed and had the medical help post it been adequate, it would have been one of the most successful AT operations in history.

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In short: using highly potent gas stands a very high chance of doing little to the hostage-takers (who run on adrenaline, and often are young and healthy) while killing all the hostages except the young healthy males.


Yes, because in the only case it was tried on big scale that's exactly what happened. Oh, wait :wtf:

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 09:16am
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Irbis wrote:
My impression from the Moscow Theatre was completely different. Gas proved exceptionally effective, ending the siege with minimal (as compared to conventional assault or even waiting the kidnappers out) casualties, it was the fucked up post-operation medical response (delayed and disorganized) that actually killed most of the hostages (by something as simple to avoid by rescuer as drowning in your own vomit, no less). All the opinions I read on it agree it was well executed and had the medical help post it been adequate, it would have been one of the most successful AT operations in history.


Except that it took two and a half hours before any of the hostages could be removed from the building. It took that long to kill 30 or so gas-affected hostage takers and clear the building of explosives: a portion of the hostage-takers were still conscious and fighting while most hostages were knocked out. Some terrorists had gas masks, which none of the hostages will ever have.

It's far from clear that it was the medical response which caused most of the deaths ; In fact, death certificates were deliberately filled out vaguely, listing "terrorism" as cause of death, so it might be impossible to figure out who actually died inside ; However, dead bodies were being removed from the theater immediately after the all-clear was given, so an unknown number of people died in their seats before anyone could ever have a chance to get to them ; Dozens of survivors have been crippled by the gas, too, medical response or not. 64 people received compensation from the Russian government because of long-lasting health problems.

And despite that, it was a great success, because 84% of the hostages survived ; But that doesn't mean gas use isn't risky. It was deployed despite the risks, not because it's a good go-to option in these sorts of situations. Just like it's usually not a very good approach to storm an airplane in the middle of a hostile country, but you might not have a choice.

Irbis wrote:
Quote:
In short: using highly potent gas stands a very high chance of doing little to the hostage-takers (who run on adrenaline, and often are young and healthy) while killing all the hostages except the young healthy males.


Yes, because in the only case it was tried on big scale that's exactly what happened. Oh, wait :wtf:


It's not exactly what happened, doesn't mean that's not a risk. People certainly did die from gas poisoning inside the theatre. Therefore, using gas isn't anywhere near the proposed scenario where a CT team pops a can inside, everyone is knocked out, no casualties.

Here is an annex to an RTO report on non-lethal weapons dealing specifically with the use of non-lethal agents in the theatre siege.

It states in chapter M.6:

Quote:
This counterterrorist action showed on the other hand that chemical “non-lethal” weapons are not always non-lethal. The variability of the situation (e.g., where one was located within the theatre) combined with the variable sensitivity of the population of individuals in the theatre (e.g., age, body size), combined with the disastrous consequences of failure, created a situation where non-lethality could not be guaranteed.


So...not a silver bullet solution to every problem. Not even close, because two out of three problems will always be present.



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 12:00pm
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just peeking in, and I like the quality of the replies so far. :mrgreen:

PeZook wrote:
If they know that hostages won't stop the cops from storming the building, and are not inclined to surrender, they will simply kill everyone so that they don't have to bother actually managing hostages.
I find this questionable to some extent. Apart from the cases of suicidal-oriented guys where they kill people anyway, I doubt the average robber will prefer to become a murderer and face much higher charges and/or find much more cops working to find him if he escapes.

Scepticalguy wrote:
I always thought that given the amount of gases and chemical weapons we have available that are far more powerful than tear gas they could pop one through the window and incapacitate all within aerosol blast rage one way or another even if that way is extraordinarily unpleasant.
Last time I checked there are no 100% safe ways to incapacitate everyone of any conditon/age/weight. Otherwise SWAT teams would just spam that and wait everyone drops, duh! :lol:

Purple wrote:
Things like this might (the magic zap ray) help with the problem of accidental hostage situations but they won't be useful against a dedicated enemy.
For terrorist-ish threats the main defence is an intelligence agency that doesn't totally suck. Any serious action requires significant preparation, which isn't going to be totally impossible to be detected.

Quote:
We don't care about hostages? Okay, level the building with tank fire, or throw white phosphorus grenades in the windows.
That's also disregarding significant economic damage, not just hostages. But good to know that some "law enforcement" went apeshit that way too. :wtf:



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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 12:08pm
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someone_else wrote:
I find this questionable to some extent. Apart from the cases of suicidal-oriented guys where they kill people anyway, I doubt the average robber will prefer to become a murderer and face much higher charges and/or find much more cops working to find him if he escapes.


No, the average robber won't, he'd most likely just surrender or try to escape. Organized groups full of recidivists? Hell knows. It's known that extraordinarily harsh penalties for things like robbery DO encourage people to murder their victims, so you can expect incidents.

And as Skimmer said, terrorists would just go for murdering people outright instead of taking hostages. Although to be honest, that's how it works now, since hostage taking clearly doesn't work anyways even without rabidly homicidal law enforcement.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-22 12:29pm
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When did hostage taking actually work, anyway? Was there a period back in the '60s or '70s where it was at least occasionally effective?

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 Post subject: Re: Less-humane handling of hostage situations PostPosted: 2012-03-24 04:40am
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PeZook wrote:
Now, to be honest, I think Beslan was planned from the start to cause a massacre, since nobody sane could possibly believe Russian authorities would give in to terrorist demands. On the other hand, if an organization can make security forces look like bloodthirsty psychos, they could conceivably cause widespread unrest. If they could keep it up that is, which is harder than it sounds...


OF COURSE it was planned as massacre. That isn't in doubt, it still doesn't make the Russian handling even slightly competent. Remember that some of the Chechens got away from that siege, and others were caught and killed only by armed Russian civilians.

PeZook wrote:

Except that it took two and a half hours before any of the hostages could be removed from the building. It took that long to kill 30 or so gas-affected hostage takers and clear the building of explosives: a portion of the hostage-takers were still conscious and fighting while most hostages were knocked out. Some terrorists had gas masks, which none of the hostages will ever have.

It's far from clear that it was the medical response which caused most of the deaths ; In fact, death certificates were deliberately filled out vaguely, listing "terrorism" as cause of death, so it might be impossible to figure out who actually died inside ; However, dead bodies were being removed from the theater immediately after the all-clear was given, so an unknown number of people died in their seats before anyone could ever have a chance to get to them ; Dozens of survivors have been crippled by the gas, too, medical response or not. 64 people received compensation from the Russian government because of long-lasting health problems.


According to some Russian doctors all but one of the hostages killed died from the gas. The only Chechens to able to fight back were in a backroom away from all but IIRC one hostage who was showing them the video the theaters cameras had taken of the initial seizure. They were killed rather quickly. All the rest were simply executed out of hand. It was not any major pitched battle that took place. Some of the hostages were done for from the initial gassing and that’s more or less acceptable given how hopeless a storming was without gas, but to then remove the rest, place them sitting upright and unconscious on buses, which took hours to load in some cases before heading to the hospital, and then refusing to tell doctors what drugs they had been exposed too.. all murderous incompetence. But its Russia, the goal was to kill the terrorists.

Simon_Jester wrote:
When did hostage taking actually work, anyway? Was there a period back in the '60s or '70s where it was at least occasionally effective?


What? It’s working great to this day against the Israelis who will release hundreds of people just to get back a dead body , let alone someone alive. It also works great for kidnap and ransom schemes, like the Somalia Pirates or Columbian rebels; though FARC just announced I believe that it was ending this practice because it had lost too much public support. It worked against the US as late as the 1980s arms for hostages deal with Iran.

Back into the early 1980s it was pretty common for hostage takings to succeed and , however a large number of the 60s and 70s hostage takings that took place had no goal other then to use a hijacked plane as actual transport. Criminals, terrorist bombers and lone nuts would hijack stuff to fly from Europe to Africa, from the US to Cuba, to fly around the USSR ect… That kind of stuff is what got completely wiped out. Successes getting people released from jail did occur, but not nearly so often. In terms of the wider issue of did terrorism ever work on its wider goals of changing national policy... that one is a pretty much never scenario. Pablo Escobar came close though, but still ended up dead. Terrorism can support a specific insurgency, it generally does nothing on its own. Too bad all the terrorists are far too retarded to understand this. They had some excuses back in the 1960s, when people really believed the concept that terrorist attacks would cause national scale repression that in turn would drive the population away from its government. History of course has shown, as in the US example, that it will in fact drive the population to suck down the repression and ask for more.



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