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Why Surrender Is Never an Option

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First published Jan 9, 2012. The first phase of surrender is failing to be armed, trained and committed to fight. We are prepared to surrender when we are unprepared to resist. The second phase of surrender is failing to be alert. You must see trouble coming in order to have time to respond. The warning may be less than one second but it will be there and it must be recognized and acted upon immediately.

The Third phase of surrender is giving up your weapons.

The last phase of surrender is up to the monsters who have taken control of your life and perhaps the lives of your loved ones. The last phase of surrender is out of your hands.

Surrender during war
During the American Revolution 12,000 Colonists captured by the British died in captivity on prison ships, while only 8,000 died in battle. Had the 12,000 who surrendered continued to fight, many would have survived and they could have done great damage to the British and likely shortened the war.

Civil War prisoners were treated so badly that some 50,000 died in captivity. More Americans have been killed by Americans than by any foreign army in any war. Six hundred and eighteen thousand Americans died in the Civil War.

As many as 18,000 captured American and Pilipino prisoners died or were murdered at the hands of the Japanese during the six days of the “Bataan Death March.” Had most of these soldiers slipped into the jungle and fought as guerrillas they could have tied up elements of the Japanese Army for months or years and perhaps more of them would have survived the war.

Of the Americans who actually reached Japanese prison camps during the war, nearly 50,000 died in captivity. That is more than 10 percent of all the American military deaths in the entire war in both the Pacific and European theaters combined.

In addition to the 50,000 captured Americans who died in Japanese prison camps an additional 20,000 were murdered before reaching a prison camp. If those 70,000 Americans had continued to fight, they could have provided time for the United States to build and maneuver its forces, perhaps shortening the war and saving even more lives. Some of them would have likely survived the war. If they had all died in battle their fate would have been no worse.

During the early stages of the “Battle of the Bulge” American soldiers were massacred by the German troops who captured them.

During the Vietnam conflict many American Prisoners Of War were tortured daily for years by the Communist North Vietnamese. Many Americans died during the process. Only Officers (Airmen) held in North Vietnam were ever repatriated. Enlisted Americans captured in South Viet Nam were routinely tortured, mutilated and murdered by the Communists. As a combat soldier and knowing my fate should I be captured, I was committed to fighting to the death. I made specific plans to force the enemy to kill me rather than allow myself to be captured.

In recent years, American troops captured by Islamic terrorists groups have virtually all been tortured and murdered in gruesome fashion. If I were fighting in the Middle East, I would make a similar vow and plan to fight to the death. Under no circumstances would I allow myself to be captured by our Islamic enemies.

Death by Government
RJ Rummel, who wrote the book, “Death by Government” states that prior to the 20th Century; 170 million civilians were murdered by their own governments. Historians tell us that during the 20th Century perhaps as many as 200 million civilians were murdered by their own governments.

Some of the Nations where the mass murder of civilians occurred during the 20th Century include Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, The Congo, Uganda, Armenia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nigeria, Laos, China, Cuba, Manchuria, Iraq, Iran, Biafra, Rwanda and many others. The slaughter of civilians by governments appears to be as common as not.

Most of these slaughters were only made possible by disarming the victims before killing them. Had these people resisted, their fate would have been no worse and perhaps better. Resistance is much more difficult after the government has already taken the means of resistance away from the people. Planned genocide has been the primary reason for weapon confiscation throughout history.

Jews and others who surrendered to the Nazis were murdered in slave labor camps by the millions. Had all the Jews in Europe resisted when the Nazis started rounding them up they could have made the Nazis pay an enormous price for the holocaust. The fact that Hitler confiscated guns in 1936 made resistance far less feasible.

Had the Jews in Germany resisted, the outcome may have been the same but the world would have learned about the holocaust years earlier and may have intervened. Most people would prefer to die fighting and trying to kill their oppressor, than be taken off to a death camp and starved to death or murdered in a gas chamber.

William Ayers, former leader of the Terrorist organization “The Weather Underground,” and close friend of Barack Obama, told his followers in the Weather Underground, “When we (Communist Revolutionaries) take over the United States, we will have to kill 25 million Americans.” He was referring to those who would never submit to a Communist takeover. Those who would refuse to deny and reject the Constitution would have to be murdered. If this sounds impossible, remember that Genocide by Government was the leading cause of death in the last Century.

Surrendering to Criminals
The “Onion Field Murder” in California was a wakeup call to Law Enforcement Officers everywhere. On March 9, 1963, two LAPD Officers were taken prisoner by two criminals. The Officers submitted to capture and gave up their weapons. They were driven to an onion field outside of Bakersfield.

One Officer was murdered while the other Officer managed to escape in a hail of gunfire. The surviving Officer suffered serious psychological problems, having been unable to save his partner. As a result of this incident, the LAPD policy became, “You will fight no matter how bad things are.” “You will never ever surrender your weapons or yourself to a criminal.”

Consider the Ogden, Utah record store murders. Read the book if you do not know the story. The manner in which the criminals murdered their young victims cannot be described here. Resistance might have been futile. Compliance was definitely and absolutely futile.

The courts in this country have ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect anyone. Why do Law Enforcement Officials always tell civilians not to resist a criminal, while they tell their Officers to always resist and never surrender? Police administrators fear being sued by a civilian victim who gets hurt resisting. Furthermore, the police, like all government agencies derive their power by fostering dependence.

According to Professor John Lott’s study on the relationship between guns and crime, a victim who resists with a firearm is less likely to be hurt or killed than a victim who cooperates with his attacker. His book is titled “More Guns, Less Crime.”

The Doctor and his family in Connecticut complied and cooperated, meeting every demand of the home invasion robbers to whom they had surrendered. The Doctors wife and daughters were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and burned alive. How did surrender and cooperation work out for them?

In another home invasion robbery, a kindly couple with 9 “adopted, special needs children,” surrendered to the robbers. The victims opened their safe and did not resist in any way. When the robbers where finished ransacking the home and terrifying the children, they shot both parents in the head several times before leaving. How did surrender and complete cooperation work out for them?

Handing over your life by surrendering to someone who is in the process of committing a violent crime against you is a form of suicide. Some survive but many do not. The monster gets to decide for you.
We have heard brutalized victims say, “The robber said that he would not hurt us if we cooperated.” Why would you believe anything that someone who is committing a crime against you says? He will be lying if he speaks. As we say in law enforcement, “If a criminal’s lips are moving while he is speaking, he is lying.” Criminals by definition are dishonest and should never be trusted or believed.

You have no doubt heard friends say, I would not resist a criminal, after all why would he kill me? This is stupid and naive. In law enforcement, we call these people “Victims by Choice” (VBC). There could be a long list of reasons why a criminal would kill you despite your cooperation.

You may be of a different race, thus a different tribe. Only members of his tribe are actually human in his mind. He may feel hatred toward you because you have more than he does. Gratification from being in a position of total power is reason enough for some.

Criminals are sometimes members of a Satanic Cult who worship death such as the “Night Stalker” in California. Eliminating a potential witness is often cited as a reason to kill a victim. Sometimes criminals simply enjoy causing suffering and death. There are people who are in fact, pure evil. I have heard criminals say, “I killed her just to watch her die.”

A victim who begs for mercy can give his attacker a tremendous feeling of power which many criminals seem to enjoy. You cannot expect mercy from someone who does not know what mercy is.

We each have a duty to ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, our community, our city, our state and our country to resist criminals. Reasoning with a thug who believes that his failures are because of people just like you is not likely to be helpful. Pleading with a terrorist who has been taught from birth that his salvation depends on murdering people like you is a doomed plan. Resist!

Resist! His gun may not be real. After you are tied up it will not matter. His gun may not be loaded. After you are tied up it will not matter. He may not know how to operate his gun. After you are tied up it will not matter. Resist!

Statistically if you run and your assailant shoots at you he will miss. Statistically if you run and he shoots and hits you, you will not die. Bad guys shooting at the police miss 90 percent of the time. The odds are on your side. Better to die fighting in place than to be tied up, doused with gasoline and burned alive. There are things worse than death. Surrender to a criminal or a terrorist and you will learn what they are. Resist!

If you resist with a commitment to win you may well prevail, especially if you are armed and trained. If you lose it is still better to die fighting in place than to be taken prisoner and have your head cut off with a dull knife while your screams gurgle through your own blood as we have witnessed on numerous videos from the “Islamic practitioners of peace,” as well as the Mexican drug cartels.

Some who have refused to surrender.
History is filled with brave people who refused to surrender. Some of these men and woman have won their battles despite what seemed to be insurmountable odds. Others have gone down fighting and avoided being tortured to death. Some fought to the death to help or save others. Many have fought to the death for an idea or a belief.

When General Santa Ana (also the President of Mexico at the time) ordered 180 “Texicans” to surrender the Alamo, Col. Travis answered with “a cannon shot and a rebel yell.” Eventually General Santa Ana was able to build his troop strength to ten thousand. The Mexicans then swarmed the defenders and killed them all.

The battle of the Alamo delayed the Mexican Army long enough for Sam Huston to build his Texican Army, which met and defeated the Mexican Army and captured General Santa Ana. General Santa Ana traded Texas for his life and the sacrifices of the Alamo defenders changed history.

Frank Luke was a heroic aviator in WWI. Shot down and wounded he refused to surrender when confronted by a German patrol. He killed 4 German soldiers with his 1911 Pistol before being killed. Luke was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

When his unit was pinned down by German Machine Guns and all of the Officers and non commissioned officers in his company were killed or wounded, Alvin York never considered surrendering. Instead, he attacked hundreds of German soldiers killing about 25 with his rifle and pistol and then captured 132 others by himself!

Most of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto (Poland) surrendered to the German Army. They were taken off to death camps and murdered. Between 400 and 1,000 Jews refused to surrender and armed with only a few pistols, revolvers and rifles, they held off the German Army for three months before dying in battle.

During the “Battle of the Bulge,” the 101st Airborne was surrounded by the German Army and ordered to surrender. Faced with overwhelming odds, the Commanding Officer of the 101st sent this reply to the Germans. “Nuts.” The Americans refused to surrender and they stopped the German advance. Most of the Americans troops survived.

On Sept 2, 2010, 40 armed criminals took over and robbed a train in India. Some of the robbers had guns, others used knives and clubs. When they began to disrobe an 18 year old girl for the purpose of gang raping her, one of the passengers decided to fight. He was a 35 year old retired Gurkha soldier. He drew his Khukasri Knife and attacked the 40 robbers. He killed three of the robbers and wounded 8 more despite his being wounded in this 20 minute fight. The remaining criminals fled for their lives leaving their stolen loot and eleven comrades dead or wounded on the floor of the train. The eight wounded robbers were arrested.

How does one man defeat 40? How does he summon the courage to fight such odds? He utilized all of the Principles of Personal Defense: Alertness, Decisiveness, Aggressiveness, Speed, Coolness, Ruthlessness, and Surprise. He was skilled in the use of his weapon. Most importantly, He refused to be a victim and allow evil to triumph!

If this one inspirational soldier can defeat 40 opponents using his knife, it would seem that we should all be able to defeat a group of armed criminals by using our firearms if we are professionally trained as was this heroic Gurkha soldier.

Final thoughts
How will you respond if you are confronted by evil as some of us have been in the past and some of us will be in the future? If you have not decided ahead of time what you will do, you will likely do nothing. Those who fight back often win and survive. Those who surrender never win and often die a horrible death. Have you made your decision? Remember, no decision is a decision to do nothing.

Larry Mudgett is a long time Rangemaster and Instructor at Gunsite. Larry and his wife Stacey also run classes in Utah through their own school, Marksmanship Matters. Larry retired from the LAPD after nearly 35 years where he served as the Chief Firearms Instructor at the LA Police Academy for 13 years and the Chief Firearms Instructor and team member for LAPD SWAT for 14 years. Larry also served as an Infantry Light Weapons Sergeant in the First Air Cavalry in Viet Nam 1967-1968. Larry trained the first USMC Special Operations Training Group at Camp Pendleton and was an adjunct firearms and hostage rescue instructor for the DOE Central Training Academy for 10 years. He currently teaches Rifle, Carbine, Pistol, Double Action Revolver and Single Action Revolver.
Learn more at marksmanshipmatters.com

23 Responses to Why Surrender Is Never an Option

  1. Mace

    January 10, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Well said my friend! I have fowarded this to my quiet liberal father in law. Hope it helps.. haha

  2. J. Riddick

    January 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    All of this information makes perfect sense and everybody should remember this always ! It is better to die fighting than to be killed doing nothing .

  3. Dennis Hodges

    January 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    This is a sort of long read, but informative as to the truth of surrender. I recommend to all.

  4. Jeff Jenkins

    January 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for the link. Linda!

  5. John R. Peters

    January 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Excellent read!!!!

  6. Dan Horosko

    January 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    GREAT Article Larry…..

    Time for you and Stacy to come on back out to Pittsburgh… The guys from the Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshall’s Service miss your wit and wisdom !! I’ve passed this on to several other agencies…..

    Take Care Sir !

  7. joe

    January 19, 2012 at 2:20 am

    So Im supposed to never surrender because they didnt surrender at the Alamo? or because the Jews were killed by Nazis? He never got into why I should never surrender, He just rattled off examples and didnt explain a common theme. Statistically they wont hit me if the attacker is shooting at me as Im running away? I’d rather not be shot at.

  8. Bill Sweitzer

    January 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Awesome article!

  9. Politics_Right

    January 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I live in Northern Virginia, just 10 miles outside Washington, DC. When I was a teenager, workers at a Roy Rogers in Alexandria, VA (March 6, 1976) were herded into a freezer and 4 of 5 were slaughtered by a robber named Breeden. One survived! That’s why I’m strongly pro-defense.

  10. Josh

    January 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    While you can make some good parallels to concealed carry, this article comes off as offensive and makes you sound like an armchair commando (I realize you did serve).

    Sorry, but not everyone is a badass action hero. To say you should always die fighting and using jews and our soldiers as an example can come off as pretty ignorant.

    For example: A jewish family is being rounded up by the Nazis during WW2, they have nothing, their outcome is pretty bleak. Should the father run at the soldiers with a shovel and risk his family being murdered for his insolence? Remember, many of the jews didn’t realize they were going to death camps early in the ordeal. It was gradual and calculated. Should they have resisted when their guns were confiscated? Does that imply they should have started shooting soldiers in the streets at this point?

    It’s not always convenient to “slip away”, and people can surrender with the hope of surviving to see another day. If your superior surrenders, are you supposed to defy his orders and start shooting the enemy?

    Looking back with hindsight, there are some situations where evading and fighting to the last man could have done some good and potentially changed outcomes. Self preservation is a pretty strong instinct. I think in cases of surrender most people sum up their odds and make the best decision they can based on situation.

    “Never Surrender” sounds great on paper, but it’s not always realistic. Hope and fear are a human condition, and the best of us are susceptible.

    -For the record I am not a pacifist, I carry and certainly pro defense.

  11. Larry

    January 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Well written, well thought, and well said my friend. Col. Cooper would be proud.

  12. Andries

    February 1, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Very, very true regarding the personal safety threat of robbery and murder.

    Present South Africa is a case in point. 2,000 murders a month. Daily (not only at night) gangs walk into homes and in a most aggressive fashion threaten and demand immediate submission. THEN the shooting starts.

    ONLY in cases of prepared,gun-carrying households where an immediate and aggressive counter-attack takes place do these aggressors fail and flee.

    Murder cases are invariably being opened against the successful defendants but most are retracted in the hearings. Better than having been murdered.

  13. Andries

    February 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

    The gist of the article is clear – you have a better chance to get off if you ARE PREPARED, OBSERVANT, TRAINED AND FIGHT BACK IMMEDIATELY. None of the critical commentators can fault that.

    Many of those that surrender in SA homes are executed with a bullet into the rear of the head.

    Counter attacking, some of us live even though we have wounds – but these are on the front part of our bodies. My children can live with those.

  14. Scott Carmody

    February 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Outstanding, Larry.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people have bought into the fallacy that surrender will save them.

  15. Jim Q

    February 2, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Larry, Congratulations on your well written
    article. I agree with your supposition that
    surrender is not an option.

    As a Tennessean, I was raised with the Davy
    Crockett quote,

    “I leave this rule for others when I’m dead Be
    always sure you’re right then go ahead.”

    -Narrative of the life of Colonel Crockett, 1834

    Davy was one of the guys slaughtered at the Alamo.
    The Alamo DID make a difference.

  16. Pingback: Can You Really Fight Another Man?? - Page 6

  17. Greg L Hackney

    October 5, 2013 at 10:07 am

    thinking the unthinkable doesn’t kill. if THE SHTF I will try to keep my cats and me alive..Hoping things never get that far along. Things are creeping quickly on the “disarmament front!

  18. Chris Webb

    July 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Very well said.

  19. Alida Elizabeth Meade

    May 26, 2015 at 2:25 am

    This is Valuable info we all need to survuve

  20. Chris Thornton

    May 26, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Great article but two things bothered me: 1. It’s General Houston, not Huston. 2. It’s Texian, not Texican. I know these are minor issues but as a proud Texan, just wanted to correct the record. God bless!

  21. Andy

    December 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Well said. I am also curious as to who made the holster that mini-Colt is in.

  22. Marshal Halloway

    December 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Andy, this is a Galco holster.

  23. gary schraa

    May 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Fear is not an option there
    and never will you surrender
    you must live your life
    and keep your hope
    as a proud and able defender.

    Peace or love or hope or fight
    or resistance , are born into us
    . . . . remembering this is the challenge.
    Gary John Schraa

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