Disarming a killer.
Get Religion has an interesting set of links about Ashley Smith, the heroic single mom who helped capture courtroom-shooter Brian Nichols.
Go. Read. It's a textbook example of the number one way to survive a hostage situation--making sure you humanize yourself to your captor.
[The number two way being making sure you are rescued by Israelis.]
I also heartily concur in Douglas LeBlanc's prayer:
The same story mentions that Smith already has hired a law firm to handle negotiations for book or movie deals. Please, God, please, don't let it be on Lifetime.
[Thanks to Amy for the link.]