SMOKE: Another Day, Another Hostage

Originally published: 24 January 2003

On Thursday night a 28-year-old Plattekloof Glen man - Danie Kruger - pulled into the Smugglers Sports Pub in Parow at 6pm, let off a shot from a handgun to get everyone out of the bar and proceeded to take two female bartenders hostage.

Why? No idea. He didn't appear to tell anyone.

Within minutes the police had the place surrounded and began negotiations, which were unsuccessful. At about 11pm Kruger moved away from the two women and the police lobbed a stun grenade through a window.

Kruger pointed his gun at them and they pumped a couple of caps into his ass, seriously wounding him. On reaching Tygerberg Hospital he was announced DOA.

And perceptibly - nothing has changed, other than the world is now short one more bloke who just couldn't hold it together. Patrons will rock up next day, beer and sexist jokes will flow, peri-peri peanuts will be dispensed and a kid or two will end up in the gutter. Business as usual.

The way I see it is thus: either hostage takers truly believe that by taking hostages their demands will be met, or they're just desperate sods who are approaching suicide from an alternative point of view. Either way - do me a favour.

If your motives are to get yourself killed and grab some headlines while you're doing it so that your girlfriend can read about it and feel guilty for leaving you, then I don't have much sympathy.

But if you're taking hostages in order for your Demands to be met (quick aside: who the hell is anyone to make Demands - just shut up, man, and wait your turn) then your intelligence must seriously be called into question.

It's not as if it's a business model that works - in fact it's a proven failure. The only folks to have made any success out of hostages are the Kidnap and Ransom blokes, who do vast amounts of trade with spoiled, rich Euro-Brats and their influential and wealthy fathers.

But taking urban hostages because you can't cope with the drink, the gambling, the job loss or the Pig Wife is just not going to gain you anything other than at worst a long, reflective time behind bars with all sorts of homosexuals who don't believe in the concept of denial, and at best a slug in the head for your troubles.

It's just so stupid. And once fellers like me have written columns about you and the brief public interest that was ignited by your actions extinguished, you just become another asshole who nobody would listen to, much less take seriously.

The sad thing about it all - and this extends to real suicide victims as well - is that no matter what you think, or how bad it all seems, happier times are ahead. Guaranteed.

If you could just wait out the rage, let your head clear, have a chat with someone different, look at the world in a different way - hell, man. Just wait. In the hostage taking/suicide game there is far too little waiting.

I often wonder (actually I don't - this is the first time I'm wondering this) whether cavemen took hostages, or bashed their own skulls in with billy clubs and rocks.

The picture doesn't quite fit, as cavemen have never struck me as having been particularly stressed (mind you - having to chase down T-Rexes for supper or face the wrath of CaveWife must rank pretty high on the alltime stress list).

What I'm getting at is that modern day stress has just got too much for people and it's frying their brains.

Cavemen wouldn't have got road rage as they didn't have cars, but did they get Path To My Cave Rage? Doubt it - there wouldn't have been enough slow-asses going to and fro to have warranted the kind of rage we get in traffic.

What about CaveBosses? Did they give their employees a day off every now and then, for having turned a good club or found a cutting edge rock? Or did they - as ours do - not give a flying, continental fuck about their employees and insist on more work, less pay, longer hours and greater output?

I'm just seriously doubting that you had hostage situations in Caveman times. No shootouts with CavePolice and Rock Snipers. No weeping relatives trying to understand the Meaning of it all. Just a bunch of folks going about their business, with the common good of all in mind.

We've come a long way.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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