I get variations of this email from my readers every few months: I have corrected some of the misspellings and added some material of my own, but substantially it goes like this:
Warning, some of the pictures in the following sequence may be disturbing. These are actual photos of a kidnapping/negotiation that took place in Japan.
Demands of Kidnapper & Release Negotiations
"I have 3 demands or I'll kill the boy!"
Negotiators assess the situation from next door.
Head Negotiator dispatched
Everyone goes home in time for dinner.
(Well, almost everyone...)
In the U.S. we would assume this guy is innocent and we would attempt to discuss the situation for hours, but more likely, even a day or longer. During this time we would feed him anything he asked for and provide warm clothing, etc. to ensure his comfort. When it was all resolved we would give him a fair trial, having appointed the finest Lawyer free of charge to represent him. If we found him guilty (unlikely) we might send him to prison for a few years.
The prison would be close to his home, so as not to cause distress or anguish to his relatives. While in prison he will have a roof over his head, watch cable TV, visit the gym and sauna daily, eat like a king and maybe learn the law, gain a degree (for free) and have all his medical needs looked after. Before we know it he'll turn around and sue the Police negotiator, the Police Department and the State and Federal Governments - all this and more is paid for with our taxes!!!
In Japan - They keep their expenses and time to a minimum!
No wonder their cars cost less.
[End of email]
Well, this is all well and good and certainly makes a point. Sadly the venue is not Japan, but China:
Hostage taker gets shot
A man armed with two kitchen knives bargains with police after he took two children hostage in a fifth-floor classroom of a children's center in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province August 17, 2004. Patrol police, SWAT team and firefighters rushed to the site for rescue operations. After a two-hour negotiation, police had to shoot the kidnapper when he was on the verge of hurting the hostage children. The two children were rescued unhurt and the kidnapper, identified as Zhang Kailin and in his 30s, fell to the ground and was rushed to hospital for treatment. It is reported Zhang, from southwest China's Guizhou Province, asked for 2,500 yuan [US$300] as travel expenses to see his relatives in Shandong, and later demanded for a gun and took one of the hostages with him. The case is still under further investigation. (Yanzhao Metropolis Daily)
But this doesn't mean it couldn't have happened in Japan.
On a side note: The man who was shot by police was shipped off to be cremated but was found to be alive by funeral workers who heard him groan. Zhang Kailin, 36, was put in a coffin and taken to a funeral home, but workers heard a groan on opening the coffin and were shocked to find the man still alive.
In a somewhat related matter:
WorldWide Religious News, 21 Mar 2007, Islamic militants jailed for beheadings
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Three Islamic militants were found guilty Wednesday of decapitating three Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia and dumping their bloodied heads in nearby villages, judges said. They were sentenced to between 14 and 20 years.
This is how a Muslim country lightly treats murderers who behead Christian schoolgirls.
Photo Credits: People's Daily Online.