The Nation: America's Menacing Misfits

The most common seizure of hostages in the U.S. has long been the type dramatized in the award-winning film Dog Day Afternoon: criminals who have been surprised by police use innocent bystanders as tools in escape negotiations. But in the past 18 months, there has been an alarming increase in the number of cases of hostages being taken to express a complaint about society, to publicize an offbeat cause or merely to attract attention to a personal problem. Among such incidents:

> Oct. 6, 1975. An apolitical drifter, Ray ("Cat") Olsen, 23,...

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