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4 Regular People Who Negotiated High-Profile Surrenders

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Trained law enforcement officers and negotiators apprehend the vast majority of criminals. Sometimes, though, a civilian steps in and makes their job much easier. Let’s look at four citizen heroes who helped negotiate high-profile surrenders.

1. Sergeant-at-Arms Earns His Title

A body’s sergeant-at-arms has the duty of keeping order during its meetings. On May 7, 1984, one Canadian sergeant-at-arms went above and beyond his normal responsibilities. That morning, 25-year-old Denis Lortie, a supply corporal in the Canadian Forces, stormed into the National Assembly of Quebec dressed in fatigues and armed with two submachine guns. Lortie opened fire and quickly wounded 13 others in an attempt to destroy the ruling Parti Québécois.

Lortie had originally targeted Quebec Premier René Lévesque, but his timing was off. Lévesque had not yet arrived at the Assembly building, but the Assembly’s sergeant-at-arms, René Jalbert, was on the scene. Jalbert, a retired army major, approached Lortie and said, “I see you're an army man. I'm an army man myself.”

Jalbert gave Lortie coffee and a cigarette and calmly asked the gunman to come into his office to discuss what was bothering him. Amazingly, Lortie agreed. The retired major and the disgruntled corporal spent the next four hours talking, and Jalbert eventually convinced Lortie to talk to a police negotiator. When Lortie finally surrendered to military police hours later, the media hailed Jalbert as a hero. He modestly replied, “Every sergeant-at-arms across Canada would have done the same thing."

2. Japanese Soldier Finally Gives Up

The story of Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who refused to surrender following the end of World War II, sounds like something from a bad movie. Rather than laying down their guns, Onoda and a small group of comrades hid in the jungles of the Philippines for decades following the war. They refused to believe that Japan had really lost the war, and the men even launched small raids on Filipino villages and farms.

Onoda and his brethren assumed that any news of the Japanese defeat was merely a ruse to trick them into surrendering. By 1974, Onoda was the last remaining member of his cadre, and he still maintained that he would only surrender to his old commanding officer, a Major Taniguchi. Until then, he would keep carrying out his original orders of destroying infrastructure while evading capture and surrender.

Since Onoda was still actively waging a guerilla war in the Philippines, the Japanese government tracked down the officer, who by that point had been a bookseller for years. The government flew Taniguchi to the Philippines, where he officially gave Onoda the order to surrender. Onoda turned in his sword, his still-functioning Type 99 rifle and 500 rounds of live ammo, and several grenades.

3. Georgia Mom Stays Cool

Brian Nichols’ escape from an Atlanta courthouse was major national news in March 2005. Nichols, who was on trial for rape at the time, overpowered the deputy who was guarding him, locked her in a cell, and took her gun. Nichols then murdered the presiding judge in his trial, a court reporter, and a sheriff’s deputy while escaping.

Nichols immediately became the target of a massive manhunt, but he managed to elude capture for an evening and kill a federal agent while stealing his car. Very early the next morning he took Ashley Smith hostage in the parking lot of her apartment complex and forced her back into her apartment. Nichols bound Smith while he took a shower, but the young mother didn’t lose her composure.

Smith later recounted that she complied with Nichols’ demands while also trying to connect with him on some deeper level. Smith talked to Nichols about her five-year-old daughter, read to him from the Bible, and watched news reports about his escape. Gradually, Nichols seemed to feel at ease around his hostage, and he eventually put away his weapons.

The next morning, Smith asked Nichols if she could leave the apartment to visit her daughter. When he agreed, Smith left and called 911. Nichols ended up surrendering to police outside of Smith’s apartment.

Smith’s calm thinking and ability to develop a rapport with Nichols helped save her life while ending Nichols’ crime spree. It also netted her quite a bit of cash. Thanks to various agencies’ bounties for Nichols’ capture, Smith pulled in $70,000 in reward money for aiding in the arrest.

4. TV Priest Helps Nab Drug Lord

Up until his death in 1992, Rafael Garcia Herreros was arguably Colombia’s most famous Roman Catholic priest. As the host of the nightly television program “God’s Minute,” he had the nation’s ear.

He also had the ear of feared drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. In 1991, Escobar was Colombia’s most wanted man, but authorities weren’t having much luck convincing him to surrender. Enter Father Rafael Garcia. When Escobar kidnapped a group of journalists, the 82-year-old priest began ministering directly to the drug lord during his show. Eventually, Father Rafael Garcia met with Escobar and broke the story that Escobar was releasing two hostages.

Eventually, with the priest acting as an intermediary, the Colombian government and Escobar worked out a surrender agreement. In exchange for giving himself up, Escobar would receive a light sentence in a luxurious prison built to his specifications. More importantly for Escobar, he wouldn’t be extradited to the United States.

In late May 1991, Escobar formally offered to surrender to Father Rafael Garcia. On announcing the news, the priest said of Escobar, “He is tired of hiding and he believes that Colombia can judge him with wisdom and justice.”

Escobar, of course, only remained in his cushy prison for a little over a year before escaping.

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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