The world’s most dangerous jobs are often rough and rugged. Frontline infantrymen, minefield clearers, Arctic crab fishermen, and oil workers all deal with the reality of death on a daily basis.
One job that may not be as rugged as those but is just as dangerous is a wartime reporter. We’re not talking about Anderson Cooper in front of a camera reporting from a hotel balcony in Israel, but the actual people on the front lines.
Besides the danger of death from gunfire or explosions, correspondents in the field run the equallly hazardous risk of capture by unfriendly forces. With that possibility in mind, many have figured out a trick that can keep them safe: Wearing wedding rings.
Even if reporters are not married, it’s not uncommon to see wedding rings on their fingers.
As style magazine Racked reports in a piece about female war correspondents, war reporters are often the targets of kidnappers. Western hostages command high ransoms, especially when working for a major network.
Local reporters will not command even a fraction of the price that an American journalist would bring.
Because of this huge danger, and the fact that many are carrying bulky recording equipment instead of weapons, they have to get creative to defend themselves.
The reporters have a trick up their sleeve, however. “Women at risk for kidnapping are advised to bring a fake wedding ring and baby pictures to create empathy with the kidnappers,” Racked reports.
Wearing fake rings and carrying pictures of fake sons and daughters, captured journalists might be able to convince their captors to be easy on them.
However, married reporters — male and female — can also make a point of sporting their rings, not only to remind themselves of their wedding vows, but also to give themselves an extra element of humanity in the eyes of the enemy in the event they are captured.
The world is filled with conflict zones, and reporters flock to them for the latest stories.
Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mexico all have their share of bad guys who want to do harm to innocents. For war reporters kidnapping in these areas is a very real reality.
The Islamic State group is an especially heinous organization that was not afraid to kidnap journalists to fund their failing caliphate. Not all of them survived the ordeal.
Reporters carrying firearms is often strictly prohibited in war zones unless under severe circumstances. A bright blue flak jacket with the word “PRESS” emblazoned on it is usually all journalists get to help them in a war zone, as neither side is usually interested in targeting a reporter during a firefight.
With all of these things considered, sometimes appealing to the humanity in an inhuman enemy is all these reporters can do.
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