Give me $200,000 and two parachutes

That was a line I heard more than once when I was a kid in the early-'70s. Lots of hijackings back then, but I’ll guess the line was based on ‘D.B. Cooper’.

Here’s the thing: Why wouldn’t law enforcement just give the hijacker sabotaged 'cutes?

Back then, marshals didn’t ride on the plane.

Because they’d be guilty of murder.

Parachutes and large sums of money aren’t carried either.

Depends on your definition of ‘murder’. The hijacker doesn’t have to jump, and nobody ever said the parachutes were functioning properly.

By asking for two chutes, the hijacker is usually implying that he intends to jump with a hostage. Sabotage the chutes, the hostage will get killed as well as the hijacker.

Hadn’t thought of that.

I believe that he claimed he wanted one of the chutes was for a hostage. Which means you can’t give him a defective one (or two) without endangering the life of an innocent.

DB Cooper asked for four parachutes, two main and two reserve. He never told anyone why he wanted four, and the FBI speculated that it was either two for him and an accomplice or four for the four crewmember still on board. It would have been bad if he kicked out the crewmembers wearing parachutes full of FBI holes.

The FBI later revealed that they accidentally gave him 1 reserve chute that was sewn shut for classroom instruction and it wasn’t found on the plane. So maybe he did jump with one bad chute.

They did, but not on every plane. The Sky Marshal program was started in 1968, renamed some time later to Air Marshal, and expanded after Sept-11. I only know because the older Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course is one of my favorite courses to shoot. Supposedly, standards have been lowered since the expansion.

I wouldn’t run this as a defence at the trial, if I were you.

Odd definition.

So would you say a policeman who shoots a bank robber in his getaway car is guilt of murder?

I don’t think the police will be shooting at a fleeing criminal unless the criminal is shooting back, right?


There’s a notion that centers around the subject being a “fleeing violent felon”.
Shooting a suspect who’s running away with a stolen TV acquired without violence [hiding it under a shopping cart, perhaps] is considered excessive force in many places.
If the same guy shot 5 stores employees and 12 customers in the process of stealing the TV and fails to comply with repeated police demands that he halt, it’s a different can of worms.
In the first instance, maybe murder, maybe not, but not a good shot to take, generally.
In the second instance, I doubt the cop would generally be held in most locales to have used excessive force if he shot the subject dead. There may be other use of force or firearms concerns that could be raised, especially if the shot endangered innocent third parties.

YMMV, and the last time I read up on this stuff it was 15 years ago. In the unlikely event you’re a cop reading this and don’t immediately know the answer to the hypotheticals, consult your supervisor.

Possibly. Police aren’t supposed to just shoot people who are running away. They shoot people in self-defense or in defense of others.

A robber fleeing in a car will be chased until he can be subdued, if possible. That might involve shooting him if he were shooting at officers from his car, or there was a good chance that he was going to crash into people, etc.

Would a bank teller who hands the robber a bag with a real bomb in it rather than a dye bomb be guilty of murder? Homicide? Manslaughter?

“…and nobody ever heard from D.B. Cooper again.” I’m pretty sure that’s how it ended. What makes you so sure he wasn’t given a brace of Acme Para-anvils?

D.B. Cooper got away scot-free and nothing you can say will ever change my mind.

Well, if someone came up with a rotting corpse that had four parachutes and $200,000, I’d certainly consider that might be D.B. Cooper.

Contrapuntal said:

What are the circumstances? He’s being held and gun point, but give the robber the bag and the robber will leave? Murder.

He’s being held at gun point and two other people have already been shot, and he’s seriously threatening to put a bullet in your head when he’s done, and he’s going to open the bag and check before he leaves, which will trigger the bomb? Self-defense.

It’s all in the circumstances, but generally you can’t arrange for someone to die after they have ceased being a threat to you.

I am going to move this knife in a stabbing motion back and forth like this. If you don’t get out of the way, it’s your fault!

There never was a D. B. Cooper. The name he used was “Dan Cooper” and due to a mistake people started calling him D B Cooper.

There’s also the possibility that Cooper knew something about parachutes and would have seen that they had been sabotaged. This probably would have pissed him off and maybe he would have decided to kill some of the crew. The FBI probably just wanted him off the plane and they wanted the crew to be safe.