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What to do in a Hostage Situation
Your Mantra=I Will Survive!
Given the horrific situation which took place in Florida this week I thought it useful to provide this information to our readers this week. First, it should be known, I personally never travel anywhere unarmed and I know this isn’t always practical for everyone, but it is something everyone should at least investigate for themselves.
The first thing I was taught in the military was to always be aware of your surroundings and to be ready to make use of what is readily available as a weapon. IMPROVISE! A makeshift weapon can be fashioned from a tightly rolled magazine, or your shirt, a yardstick or fashioned from the leg of a chair. An extension cord can be used as a whip. A man’s belt and buckle make for an excellent weapon. Even a bic pen can be used to stab an eye in a close encounter.
If you’re among a group, do not hesitate to band together and attack as an overwhelming force throwing whatever you can [shoes make good weapons, especially high heels] to overcome your assailant.
In a kidnapping situation find something that you can use to cut your finger and draw some blood. Wipe that blood in an area which is not obvious such as under a table, in a corner, on piece of carpet to leave just enough evidence behind for police to find it. This lets them know you are still likely alive.
These clues will alert police and increase your odds of survival.
In a hostage situation, consider your various options. Can you and your fellow captives surprise and overwhelm your captor? Can you improvise a weapon from a table leg, pipe, or do you carry a weapon? Would it be wiser to play dead? Can you take refuge in an out of way spot?
Here are some other thoughts on how to react if you are taken hostage.
- Stay calm. That’s tough to do in any crisis but absolutely essential if you become the target of someone with a gun and a grudge. The first ten to thirty minutes of a hostage taking are often the most panicked. “Remember to breathe,” says a friend at the CIA. “Inhale to a slow count of ten. Pause. Exhale to a count of ten. Repeat as long as it takes to slow your heart rate and bring back your ability to focus.” Calm is contagious. If those around you see you keeping cool, it will help them maintain their composure.
- Fast moves may get you killed. But if you see a clear chance to escape during the first moments, take it. You’ll give yourself more opportunities if you routinely practice awareness of your surroundings. Any time you enter a public space make it a priority to find the exits and decide how you’ll reach them if there is an emergency.
- Even as the threat develops, stay alert. Continue to focus on your surroundings. What’s the physical layout of the room you’re in? Is there just one bad guy or more? What do they look like? How do they behave? How are they dressed? Are they wearing body armor? How are they armed (pistols or long guns like rifles or shotguns)?
- Keep in mind the hostage-taker may be just as scared as you are. Move slowly. If you are told to produce identification or valuables comply but act with deliberation. Speak only when spoken to and then speak softly and do not make aggressive statements. Tough talkers are often the first to be killed because hostage-takers view them as threatening and unpredictable.
- Don’t try to be a hero. Considering escape is one thing. Trying to rush or overpower an armed individual, unless you have been specifically trained to do so (police, military, covert operations) seldom turns out as well as it does on TV. As former FBI hostage negotiator Clint Van Zandt puts it, “It’s better to be a live hostage than a dead victim.”
- If you have a health condition or require medication, state your needs politely but firmly at the first opportunity. If you have a safe opportunity to engage the hostage taker in conversation, be respectful. Listen carefully to what he says, and the tone. Don’t discuss politics or religion. Talk about your life or family.
- If you think you are about to be killed, act decisively. Use the escape plan you’ve been considering or use any weapon you can find and do so with as much noise and violence as you can muster. Fight without stopping until the threat is neutralized.
- If rescue begins, hit the floor and stay there. Standing up suddenly as police or other tactical responders come through the door may get you shot.
Your Mantra=I Will Survive!
Within weeks of being discharged from the military, I had a man pull a gun on me while I exited at store in a bad neighborhood of Cleveland. He then forced me to drive him to his home. Demanding that I leave the car to enter his home, I stood by him while he aimed his pistol at me. As he bent down to loosen the gate, I blasted him with a kick and slammed him against the house. I disarmed him, grabbed the gun, jumped in my car and took off…about three miles down the road it finally sank into my how lucky I was to have learned how defend myself.
I urge folks to sign up for self defense classes whenever possible and to always carry some kind of weapon even if it is a cane or Kimber Pepper Spray which you can from Amazon or eBay.
Given Obama penchant to blame everything on our so-called lack of ‘gun control’ I strongly suggest obtaining a pistol and a home defense shotgun now and learn how to use it. If you’re not well trained in the use of firearms I suggest a revolver, a .357 will work for most home owners but if you have children, think twice about storing it safely and practice at a range under supervision.
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