NON-ARMED INTERVENTION December 16, 2014Posted by wmmbb in Nonviolence, Peace.
I don’t know anything about civilian non-armed intervention, or how it works and in what circumstances, but it seems to me in regard to the recent hostage event in Martin Place, such an option might have been very useful.
This idea crystallized for me when I read Geoff Andrews response to Rossleigh’s tongue in cheek suggestion, “Why I will not ride with you”. He posed the question, while recommending “Popcorn” by Ben Elton: Why weren’t the breaking headlines this morning “SYDNEY SIEGE DEFUSED: ALL SAFE”?
Around 2am, most people might be expected to be sleeping and their body clock is adjusted to this pattern of behavior. So the early hours of the morning were going to be a critical time in the hostage situation. The armed hostage taker has to be hyper-alert that takes its toll, and presents the apparent opportunity to disarm him. As soon as gun shots are heard, the militarized police go into action. Thus the possibility of the loss of innocent life. That seems roughly to be what happened, while crediting the police officers limiting the loss of life.
The police and the authorities are naturally going to consider that such people are putting their lives in danger. Indeed they are. At the same time they have to be independent by keeping good faith with both sides. Nonetheless, if the risks can be accepted, it might just work well enough. The presence of heavily people on either side of a conflict, or other situation, such as one involving hostages, escalates the potential and likelihood for violence. The outcome was perhaps predictable.
The rigorous training and discipline required is the sticking point. Most people, especially including me, will fold when the pressure is applied, and be useless. On the other hand, some people train to run marathons. Quaker, David Hartsough, with experience in the Civil Rights lunch counter protests, is good value, even if this is a more general presentation, than the specific hostage situation I had in mind: