Citizens skeptical of Obama hostage ransom rule change - 164 citizens, 348 responses

Jun 29, 2015

Diane Foley, mother of slain New Hampshire journalist James Foley, has criticized the federal government for blocking her family's efforts to save her son by raising ransom or speaking to the media. In light of President Obama’s recent announcement that will allow families to pay ransom for hostages taken by terrorists, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members to weigh in on the debate, posing the question, “Do you support President Obama's announcement that will allow families to pay ransom for hostages taken by terrorists?”

A total of 77% of respondents answered the question directly or with a concurrence, and of these an 82% majority opposed the announcement with 18% in favor. Of the remaining respondents, 13% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 10% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 164 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 348 responses. 

Many of the majority opinion noted such a measure will ultimately prove counterproductive. “Once you pay, [terrorists] want more,” one commenter said. “It will not work.” Others agreed, including one gentleman who added, “Paying ransom to kidnappers will only encourage more kidnappings.” Several respondents questioned the need for government intervention. Remarked one respondent, “If you choose to go to dangerous areas, you take on the risk.”

Those in favor of the announcement countered with the notion that it is a family’s right to make such a decision. Noted one gentleman, “We'd all love to take the hard line, but when it's your child it's really hard to abandon all hope of their return in the name of country.  Blood is thicker than water.” Another commenter added, “If it were my child, I would do everything possible to obtain their freedom.”

For those who did not provide a direct “yes” or “no” to the question, several expressed displeasure at the government in general, while others debated the merits of the announcement itself. One woman remarked, “This is surely a catch-22—damned if you do, damned if you don't. There is no guarantee that terrorists would turn your family member over at all—[it’s] risky at best.”

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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