Military families offended by ‘Hostage Run’ event, military charity breaks ties

(Screenshots from "HOSTAGE RUN" teaser video)

Military families in the metro Atlanta area are fuming over a local charity run that involves black bags and zip ties.

The “Hostage Run” event is one where runners mimic a kidnapping by running with a black bag over their head and their hands zip-tied behind their back. Organizers of the run said that that all proceeds were supposed to go to a military charity and raise awareness about human trafficking.

However, some military families aren’t taking the event so well.

“This is a fear of all military wives, husbands, children –  of all military mothers,” said Renea Carl, whose husband served in the Army for 21 years and has a son-in-law who is currently deployed.

“I was driving down the road and I saw these signs and I got sick.”

Carl claims that there is nothing funny about being a prisoner of war.

“When I saw this I just wanted to know what kind of a sick and twisted individual would put this together,” she said. “It makes no sense. It shows no support for our military.”

Carl and colleague Katherine Anders have attempted to talk to the event organizers, saying that the event is way out of line and they they are right to be upset about it.

“Trying to make it something fun is not how we should be communicating with society that this is acceptable,” Anders said. “It’s not acceptable.”

Event organizers said that the idea for the debate came about around the time when waterboarding became a topic of debate, adding that  “this event has nothing to do with the out of control and heartbreaking events going on around the world.”

US servicemembers have not always been the only individuals “zipped and bagged”- the practice is commonly used by US troops to control detainees during operations overseas, as well as being practiced by entities of varying legitimacy all over the world in various degrees.

Still, Anders and Carl are not convinced, and have started an online petition to put an end to the event.

“To be honest, when you’re at home and you don’t hear from them for days, you just don’t know,” Anders said. “You don’t know if they’re ok, you don’t know what’s going on and it’s hard to explain to your children why they haven’t heard from their dad in a couple days…It’s not fun, it’s not lighthearted and it’s a disgrace to everyone who has lost and sacrificed their lives.”

According to 11 Alive, the organizers’ website says that while all proceeds will go to the charity Hero Hugs, which they said sends care packages to deployed service members.

However, the page has since updated their statement, saying that “Due to our former charity partner, Hero Hugs (which was started by an amazing young and hard working girl that did amazing work over the years,) received never ending and harassing hate mail from one or two individuals in particular that didn’t like this run’s theme, we have decided to produce this event with no charity affiliation and only to raise awareness of human trafficking. All current donations will be refunded to participants.”

The event website still stands behind the event’s secondary message of raising awareness for human trafficking.

YouTube video

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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