As seminars go, it doesn't seem as if it would appeal to many but Rocky Abramson has no shortage of journalists and aid workers willing to listen to him. Based in Israel, Abramson is a Canadian-born organizational psychologist and a former member of the Israel Defence Forces. In his four-hour seminar on the hostage experience, he stresses that the best-case scenario involves avoiding being taken hostage in the first place but, in the event of capture, following some important guidelines can increase the likelihood of survival. These guidelines include:
- If you must venture into dangerous situations where kidnapping is a possibility, do so in a group, rather than on your own, because there really is strength in numbers.
- If faced with capture, try to resist passively, a tactic that will at least buy extra time and may confuse your captors.
- During interrogation, insert a lengthy pause before answering any question, even the most straightforward – a tactic aimed at preventing your interrogators from determining which subjects you are most reluctant to address.
- Do not initiate casual conversation with your captors.
- If your captors try to chat with you, do not reciprocate until you obtain some benefit, no matter how small – a loosening of your bonds, some food or drink, anything that increases your sense of control.
- When speaking in your native language, try to enhance your control of the conversation by using lots of slang or rarefied constructions in order to make it difficult for your captors to understand you (assuming they do not speak your language well).
- You are more likely to be hit or physically abused if you slouch, so try to maintain an erect posture with your head held high.
- Make it clear to your captors that you are willing to co-operate with them but only if they do not hurt you.
- Do your best, surreptitiously, if possible, to disconnect the wires from any explosive device placed near or on you; don't worry about which wires to pull out, because it is only in the movies that bombs are designed to detonate if the hero cuts the wrong strand (real bombs don't work that way).
- Think – constantly – about a means of escape.
These tips (along with many others) are presented through four hours of role-playing, discussion and lectures and are designed to given seminar participants a sense of control over what is often seen as uncontrollable. He states that "Generally, they don't want to kill you. You'd be surprised how much of your environment you can control".