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Posted 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:



1. wmmbb - December 17, 2014

The obvious point that at the critical point when the hostage taker is losing it, the pressure is reaching point, it is probably exactly the wrong moment to disarm him. More generally, the hostages were left to suffer without moral support. The question then becomes, would the hostage taker have accepted a third party? At this point the police who the person is, and how he could be approached. The easiest outcome is for a police person to do the intervention, but perhaps in this case this was not a option.

2. wmmbb - December 17, 2014

More should be observed concerning the implications of a militarized police force confronted with a lone armed person. Bob Ellis, rightly or wrongly, is not accepting the officially constructed narrative of events and raising pertinent questions.

3. wmmbb - December 18, 2014

My further concern is that if violence is used to resolve these issues as a matter of course. It has to be said that any person who takes hostages with loaded weapon is headed for jail. That people died during the rescue and were doubtless traumatized only compounds the result. However, nonviolence can work as in the case of Antoinette Tuff in the school in Decatur, Georgia.

The hostage taker wanted to speak to the PM about the war in Afghanistan. That might have been done to establish a connection. There are reasonable questions to ask about the continued presence of Australian Military. Once the connection had been established and then transferred to experienced police negotiators. Talking has, it seems to me, many positives, including saving lives.

4. wmmbb - December 18, 2014

Rolling Stone had an article: Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World. This included Unarmed Intervention and Mediation Teams:

Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. This is real and it exists in cities from Detroit to Los Angeles. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/policing-is-a-dirty-job-but-nobodys-gotta-do-it-6-ideas-for-a-cop-free-world-20141216#ixzz3MAPTcEHc
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

5. wmmbb - December 18, 2014

I should resolve the contradiction here. While Antoinette was not rigorously trained as such, was fully committed to saving the lives of the children, she had live experiences and followed her pastor’s advice to grounded. She did not dehumanize the young man was suicidal and had mental problems. Rather she humanized him. She was the right person. In any situation some people will be better equipped to meet it.

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