The troublesome nature of conscience

When the best negotiator in the country was accused of a crime, he took hostage the two detectives assigned to bring him in, and barricaded himself in his home. That he was the most qualified and successful hostage crisis negotiator was beyond question. The Chief of Police, faced with this predicament, did what he would normally do and called the negotiator for his professional opinion.

The negotiator took the call and, despite the incongruity of his position, agreed to investigate the threat and offer his personal assessment.

After three hours of talking to himself, the negotiator made a breakthrough. The two detectives were released in return for food and more time. The negotiator was still holding himself against his will and the situation remained tense.

For nine more hours the negotiator talked, listened, cajoled, and pandered to himself. Time was running out, and the Chief of Police knew that, sooner rather than later, he would have to bring the standoff to a head. The negotiator pleaded for more time. He was allowed one hour. He gave it everything he had. As the hour drew to an end, and the armed response team readied their incursion, the negotiator, to the great relief of all involved, agreed to release himself. He walked from the house with his hands behind his head and was immediately taken away for questioning. When they entered the house, the police found it empty.

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