A Role for the Behavioral Scientist in Hostage Negotiation Incidents

    Volume 23, Issue 4 (October 1978)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 October 1978

    Page Count: 7


    Johnson, TA
    Chairman, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington,

    (Received 3 November 1977; accepted 4 January 1978)

    Abstract

    Brian Jenkins of the Rand Corporation has reported [1] that from 1968 to 1974 there were over 507 incidents of terrorism around the world, and, since 1968, terrorists have killed more than 520 people and wounded 830 worldwide. As shaking as these statistics are, the total amount of violence is not that large since the number of 520 people killed in an eight-year period is exceeded by the annual homicide rate of some major U.S. cities, and is far exceeded by the more than 18 000 homicides committed annually in the United States. However, what is illuminating about Jenkin's study is not solely the number of people injured or killed by terrorists, but the intricate relationship between mass media and terrorist activities. In short, terrorists attacks are often carefully choreographed to seize the interest and attention of the mass media. The abduction of hostages increases the drama, and Jenkins notes that in this sense terrorism is theater for it is aimed at people watching and not at the actual victims or hostages [1, p. 12]. Moreover, Jenkins observed that while terrorists may sometimes kill wantonly, the primary objective of the terrorist is not mass murder, since terrorists want people watching and listening to their activities and not necessarily murdered [1. p. 3]:


    Paper ID: JFS10740J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10740J

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    Title A Role for the Behavioral Scientist in Hostage Negotiation Incidents
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30