I don’t know how the French do it, but here in America when people call us up and say they’re holding a couple government employees hostage (at gunpoint), we call the cops and let them handle it…For some reason though when Pierre Haski, a co-founder of the French news blog Rue 89, received a call of this nature, he thought he’d tweet about it first.
A man, claiming to be an unemployed 45-year-old computer technician, said he was holding two people at gunpoint inside of a government employment center in Paris.
“I thought it was a bad joke out of a film,” Mr. Haski later wrote on the blog. But he began believing the man a few minutes later, after receiving an e-mail from the address of one of the hostages, the director of the agency, and an outline of demands.
“My name is Christian Denisot, 45, average intelligence, average education, without any particular talents, average French,” the man wrote in his e-mail, according to Rue89. “Since the early 2000s, like a number of French citizens, I’ve been struggling, but in the past few years, I reached the last stages of my ability to cope.”
France 24, an English-language broadcaster, and Reuters confirmed the hostage-taking with police sources.
Translation of the French Twitter feed, by The New York Times:
The hostage taker at the unemployment office called Rue89: denounces economic insecurity and wants an end to “zionist groupings”
The hostage-taker at the unemployment office called me back to say that he sees masked men in the office with battering rams, fears an attack.
The hostage-taker assures me that in the case of an assault, he will not hide behind his hostages, but he will defend himself. “I have nothing to lose.”
The line with the hostage-taker has been open for 45 minutes. It seems to me that talking to him calms the situation, reassures him.
Telephone contact police-hostage-taker in an attempt at a negotiated exit. Still wants his demands to run during the 8 o’clock news.
After several hours Mr. Denisot did surrender to the police, and Mr. Haski defended (let’s go with “attempted to defend”) his actions regarding how he responded to an event in which his news organization became part of the hostage drama.
To read more about this, the full article can be found here.
Side note: The gun was fake. And the hostage-taking didn’t even make the evening news.