It was a "textbook case" of how to deal with a hostage-taker. Ashley Smith talked shooting suspect Brian Nichols into turning himself in. After several hours in her apartment, Nichols allowed Smith to leave, and she immediately called the police.

"To avoid this thing becoming even more crazy, it wasn't a question of who was right or wrong, but how do we get this thing taken care of, managed, so nobody else gets killed?" Robert Benjamin, a veteran conflict negotiator in Portland, Oregon told The Christian Science Monitor. "And her deft touch, unstudied as it was, was quite frankly a moment of brilliance."

Reading Smith's account of the story, it's clear that sharing her faith with Nichols did much to help them both get through the situation safely.

We went to my room. And I asked him if I could read.
He said, "What do you want to read?"
"Well, I have a book in my room." So I went and got it. I got my Bible. And I got a book called The Purpose-Driven Life.
I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was Chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it. After I read it, he said, "Stop, will you read it again?"
I said, "Yeah. I'll read it again."
So I read it again to him.
It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was. What were you—what talents were you given? What gifts were you given to use?
And I asked him what he thought. And he said, "I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you."

As Nichols began to open up to Smith, she told him about her life. Smith's husband was murdered four years ago. "As a teen, she was arrested for shoplifting and was on probation for a year. Later came arrests for drunken driving, speeding, and battery," according to CBS News.

Two days before, ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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