Norway's First Hijacking Ended Peacefully, With The Hijacker Drunk
Stein Arvid Huseby graduated high school at 24. This was a bit late, because he had by this point spent a few years in prison for a variety of offenses, most of which involved him pointing a gun at people. Now, he had a bone to pick with the nation about the way they treated ex-cons. And he figured that the best way to get an audience to air his grievances was to point a gun at people.
The very day after his graduation, he bought a gun, and then he boarded a flight to Oslo. No one spotted the gun in security because there was no security. This was 1985, and though the world was gradually shifting to checking passengers for weapons, Norway had yet to see a single hijacking. If someone did hijack a plane and divert it somewhere new, that would waste a few hours of everyone's time, but checking every single passenger on every single flight for weapons might waste even more time.
In the air, Huseby pulled his gun on a stewardess. He ordered the plane to land in Oslo as planned, revealing he had an objective in mind beyond reaching a new destination. He was keeping the 120 people on the plane hostage, he said, both with his gun and with explosives he'd planted in the restrooms (he was lying about the explosives). His demands? He wanted an audience with the prime minister, the minister of justice, and the press, to talk about how society deals with people after releasing them from prison.
Possibly, committing new crimes wasn't the best way to engender public sympathy toward his cause, but Huseby didn't think about that. Possibly, this was because he was drunk. He drank beer during the flight, and with the plane now grounded and him in control of the aircraft, he had also had full control over the plane's remaining beer supply. He drank all of it, while police on the ground negotiated with him.
The negotiators got him to release the passengers, and they got him to give up his gun in exchange for more beer. A lot of hostage negotiations go like this. It sounds ridiculous, when you hear that a terrorist, say, surrendered in exchange for a pizza, but negotiating is all about building rapport with an opponent then breaking them down, and a little treat can feel very tempting after a few stressful hours of cops wrestling control away from you.
The authorities put Huseby in prison for a few more years, figuring that would teach him. But then, starting in the '90s, Norway changed its whole prison system, and they're now known for the most humane prisons in the world, leading ex-cons to commit far less crime. We have no official sources saying that this was in response to Huseby's crusade, but we also have no official sources saying it wasn't.
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Top image: Michel Gilliand