Loose Cannons Personified: The Art and Science of Hostage Negotiation

He receives the call…  He knows only the basics and starts assembling his team and creates a strategic plan in his head… He makes his calls while a protocol begins;  ‘establishes a safe place of operations and they begin the process of behind the scenes team preparation to save lives under the influence of a crazed, criminal or crusading personality who is “at the end of their rope.” ‘Question is…. is that rope long enough to penetrate the psyche of the perpetrator? Is there room for negotiation with this one?  Can Derek Gaunt establish a “window of hope” for hostages and their families?

Volatile: Likely to shift quickly and unpredictably; unstable; explosive.

Negotiation: is a dialogue between two or more people or parties, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage. Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process.

Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life and….. HOSTAGE SITUATIONS [Last item added by Ladyjustice]

Example: “Dog Day Afternoon “Trailer, 1975, Starring Actor  Al Pacino; (Based on a TRUE Story…)

(Following the radio podcast, return to this clip to identify elements discussed)

The ”Shattered Lives” Radio team ventured down such a road with Derek Gaunt for a fascinating hour of learning about the art and science of negotiation of the most important type…when lives hang in the balance! Join us…We guarantee you’ll be wiser and better prepared for having listened…


  • Introduction to our guest;
  • An introduction to Black Swan Negotiations Consulting Firm;
  • A 93+ % success rate in hostage negotiation!
  • Myth of a sole hostage negotiator – an analogy to a military sniper’s job…;
  • A Coach; a scribe; a situation board person; a team leader; other negotiators managing intelligence, a supervisor, an incident commander….
  • Delilah asks about similarities in all hostages cases?
  • “Crazy, Criminal, Crusader” Categories…What’s it all about?
  • Respect and Empathy – the importance of viewing the world through their eyes…
  • “The ultimate compliance professionals”-difference between corporate and hostage orientations;
  • Which personality is the most difficult to establish a rapport?
  • Instrumental and Expressive criminals explained…; Scenarios A or B;
  • Delilah votes for the most difficult scenario…
  • “Aha moment…”
  • Ladyjustice challenges the “correct answer;”
  • Why does a person take a hostage when the police are present?
  • A discussion of suffering multiple losses, losing control… if I can’t have you….”
  • Ladyjustice asks about negotiation across the board… in every situation; “Getting someone on the phone; I’ve got a shot;”
  • Derek explains how he communicates with other team members during the acute situation;
  • Do and don’t’s if you are taken hostage…
  • The importance of slowing things down…. the critical time;
  • Why is it so important to get them on the phone quickly- verbal containment?
  • It’s a crime scene… The importance of observation….
  • ***When we come in “Face down on the ground” as soon as we hit the door – the physical logistics…
  • The clock’s ticking  2 to 3 minutes…. 30 to 60 minutes;
  • What do you do… The case of Antoinette Tuffs: Averting tragedy:
  • http://www.officer.com/news/11121036/decatur-ga-school-bookkeeper-helped-avert-tragedy-in-standoff
  • Asking what happened – “Dumping their bucket…”
  • Ladyjustice asks about a hostage taker showing compassion…or making demands…;
  • “A guy on the bridge that was threatening to jump…” scenario;
  • “Swomie”-Suicide with other motivation explained;
  • The importance of consistency…
  • The aftermath of the hostage situation…;
  • A protocol of critical incident stress de-briefing;
  • Testifying in court – re-victimization; flashbacks and the role of victim advocates;
  • Delilah asks about Derek’s personal de-briefing;
  • The story of six negotiators witnessing a deadly force incident at the same time… More aftermath;
  • Ladyjustice asks about the role of technology versus one to one communication;
  • Geography and jurisdiction issues;
  • “Derek’s singular message” to our audience…”

Questions for the Audience…..

  • What are the qualifications needed for a hostage negotiation expert?
  • What are the factors influencing business and hostage negotiation? How are they related?
  • What do the other behind the scenes team members do in a hostage negotiation?
  • What is the primary similarity among cases?
  • What technique is needed to establish empathy and rapport in order to influence behavior?
  • What are the challenges in changing behaviors?
  • Why is the instinct for self-preservation and the emotional attachment so important?
  • What are the reasons for taking a hostage…. suffering loss?
  • What can we do on the prevention side?
  • What are techniques to utilize in order to survive when taken hostage?
  • What does containment involve?
  • How are your observations used later?
  • As a victim, does Derek advise negotiating for your own release?
  • How do you frame the discussion to begin to establish a rapport?
  • How does bargaining work?
  • What’s the significance of small concessions in a hostage negotiation?
  • How are the hostages treated after release?
  • How are the family members of hostages and family of the perpetrators dealt with?
  • What’s the “curveball” technology creates nowadays?
  • What was Derek’s important takeaway message?

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.







Loose Cannons Personified: The Art and Science of Hostage Negotiation

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