Police standoffs in movies are always cool, with lots of tension, ticking clocks and often ending with Bruce Willis throwing a European through a window.
Real life, as we so often see, is much, much stupider.
Thomas Clemens took his wife, her friend and their twin infant daughters hostage, thereby scoring a 4x "women and children" innocent victim combo bonus. The police found him with an AK-47 in one hand, a 12-gauge in the other, a Glock and a Magnum tucked into his waistband--and presumably the most terrified pair of testicles in the world just below the barrels.
This was a serious problem for the police, who know there are many ways a situation like this can go wrong, and not a lot where it can go right. Then sergeant Richard Horner asked "Wait a minute... what if he's retarded?"
Horner, hereafter to be known as Saint Manly the King, approached Mr. Clemens, who was adding to his "Armed Asshole Of The Year" resume by swigging beer with one hand while waving automatic weapons around with the other (alas, he failed to mix the two up, thereby saving the world the hassle).
Horner casually asked Thomas if he could have a swig of the beer.Thomas figured "Hey, this guy likes beer like I do--and he has a gun like I do! Maybe these police fellas aren't so bad!" When he leaned over to share the beer, the cops piled on and violent subduing ensued.
"Where did I go wrong? I guess I'll never know."
Nobody was hurt, and Thomas had to live with the fact that he probably could have held out if he had just been a little more of an alcoholic.
When a Michigan sheriff and two deputies went to serve a warrant on John Shulick, he didn't react well. He came down the stairs, smashed the sheriff in the face with the butt of a shotgun, then sprinted back inside. Police from all over the area sped to the scene, and the standoff was on.
More than 60 cops showed up, guns trained on the building. All roads were closed. People huddled in their homes, anticipating the well-armed madman going out in a Scarface-style hail of bullets.
Hours passed. The man wouldn't respond to pleas, orders or threats. He wouldn't say anything at all, in fact. The siege dragged on for 35 hours. It seemed as if nothing would break the will of this psychopath. The police fired tear gas canisters, presumably to relieve the monotony, but there was no response, mainly since Shulick's furniture is incapable of human speech.
"But we do know how to love."
That is to say, Shulick wasn't home. What the cops didn't know was after his confrontation with the sheriff, he bolted out of a back door to the building. The cops had been having a tense standoff with an empty apartment. A confused Shulick was apprehended shortly thereafter hiding on a neighbor's boat.
We guess it could have been worse. They could have found out they were having a standoff with a cardboard cutout, as cops in New Jersey did.
John Knight did what many men dream of doing: he took a lawyer hostage. But to ruin whatever popular support that may have earned him, he also threatened to detonate a bomb he had with him, in downtown Jacksonville (an area including a daycare, if you're looking for pro-tips on making terrorism even worse).
He didn't want a million dollars, or the release of his comrades, or for the FBI to cut the power so that he could break into a secret vault and steal millions of dollars.
No, he wanted the judge who sentenced him to one day of jail, five years ago, to resign. And he wanted her to do it on live TV. And if you think the lawyer he was holding hostage had anything to do with her or that case, you vastly overestimate the intelligence of the armed assholes.
You may be surprised to learn that Judge Tanner did what the guy asked, issuing the resignation right into Channel 4 cameras. It ended the standoff and Mr. Knight was apprehended, presumably being pretty damned proud of himself. Unfortunately for him, the law allows for people to say things on TV that aren't actually true. The only person who thought the judge saying "I resign" into a camera made the resignation legally binding was the crazy man.
"I would also like the spacemen on my television to take me on adventures with them, please."
We'd better watch out for his release, though. If he threatened to blow up a building after one day in jail, he's going to need the country's entire nuclear arsenal when he gets out this time.