Chapter 36
The Art of Conflict Resolution
It seems like an everyday occurrence these days—at least it does in Los Angeles where I live. Somebody has a gun and they’ve taken a hostage. SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams are called in, barricades are set up, and news helicopters circle overhead, transmitting the live drama, as police negotiators try to resolve the conflict.
Sometimes it’s a botched robbery; sometimes it’s an angry employee or ex-employee who wants to settle a grievance with a boss. Sometimes the issue seems ludicrously minor. In Orange County we recently had an angry parent take a school board member hostage over a dispute about his child’s education. How do these hostage negotiators handle these conflict situations? And ...

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