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MCRP 3-02E Terrorism

The Individual's Guide for Understanding and Surviving

1 Dr. Frederick Hacker, author of Crusaders, Criminals and Crazies: Terror and Terrorism in Our 2 Time, divides hostage-takers into three main groups in his book title. This is an easy way to 3 remember broad but still accurate categories of hostage-takers. However, hostage-takers may not 4 be clearly categorized into only one specific group. A hostage-taker may pretend to be in one 5 group when he really belongs to another. The lower you go in the ranks of a terrorist 6 organization, the wider the range of personalities present-the disillusioned, the mentally ill, the 7 sociopaths recruited from prisons, the ideologically motivated and the monetarily motivated or 8 "mercenary" terrorists.

9 Most hostage incidents involve political extremists. The political extremist is a crusader and 10 may be a criminal, and a crazy. These hostage-takers are very difficult to cope with. Their plans 11 are extensive, intricate, and complete. These people are often from upper-or upper-middle-class 12 families with parents who are politically active but not violent. They come from professional 13 parents and have either professional training themselves or incomplete professional training. 14 Usually they are single, urban, bright, and dedicated people, often from such professions as 15 medicine and law. Terrorist backgrounds and personality styles tend to vary from country to 16 country, and they tend to be abnormally idealistic and inflexible. They may have immediate 17 demands such as the release of prisoners, but generally, demands are also part of a set of 18 long-range goals such as anarchy or the spread of Marxism. This group of hostage-takers is often 19 backed by an organization that is outside the hostage-holding area. Sometimes they are prepared 20 to die for their cause because of their dedication or because of pressure from the outside 21 organization. They are not likely to give up hostages unless their own escape is guaranteed. 22 Usually, if any terrorist with significant group backing is freed, he will only take hostages again. 23 This explains why many countries kill hostage-takers if they are from an international group.

24 The fleeing criminal plays outside of society's rules. This person is not the kind of criminal you 25 find in a political extremist group, but one who has been frustrated in completing his crime. He 26 takes hostages on impulse to avoid immediate apprehension and to have a bargaining chip for 27 escape. He often settles for much less than originally demanded if he slowly perceives his 28 powerlessness and is allowed to give up with dignity. A too sudden loss of power can create 29 agitation, despair, or panic. With those emotions stirring, an impulsive killing of a hostage can 30 occur. Time is on the side of peaceful resolution. In this age of the electronic media, the fleeing 31 criminal may resort to political rhetoric during the negotiation process. Remember, he does not 32 want to die nor does he want to kill, especially if he has killed before and that crime is recorded. 33 If he wanted to kill his hostages, the authorities would be investigating a homicide case, not a 34 hostage situation.

35 The wronged person seeks to notify society of the defects in the "system" or the "Establishment" 36 because of some disagreeable experience. He may be trying to "right that wrong" or publicize it. 37 He tries to take justice into his own hands. Group dynamics outside the hostage situation may 38 become complicated because other people who have suffered the same type of social injustice 39 then start backing the hostage-taker. The wronged person is motivated by personal revenge. He 40 is convinced that he is absolutely right and behaves in a grandiose fashion.


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