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Columns : Editorial

Stop Making Victims

It’s high time for police to tell people that sometimes you have to fight for your life, even if it gets you killed.

January 03, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

CC_Flickr: bill85704

One of the first stories I ever covered as a reporter was about a crime prevention class for women taught by a female police sergeant. Most of that class was largely forgettable, but I will never forget one of her comments about rape: "If he's got a gun or a knife, then ladies you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

The women in the class laughed at that crass joke. But it disturbed me, and it's stuck with me all these years. It stuck in my head not just because it perpetuates the false belief that rape is a sexual act; I remembered it because it's really bad advice.

That officer told her audience that resistance ends the minute the bad guy has a lethal weapon. That might be the CYA version of crime prevention, but what do you think that officer really believes?

Not resisting is fine when all Joe Thug wants is a wallet or purse. But if he wants to kill, it's time to resist. Hopefully the would-be victim has a gun or a knife but if not there's bricks, rocks, car keys, elbows, knees, feet, fists...

"If somebody tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." That's a quote from the TV show "Firefly," but it's also the American way.

But now we as Americans have forgotten that brutal bit of wisdom. We have taught our children that it's wrong to fight for any reason, even their own self-defense. So when someone attacks them, they die helpless hiding under the nearest furniture instead of fighting back.

Americans need to know that they can—and should—resist being slaughtered like sheep, regardless of how well the bad guy is armed and how poorly they are armed. They need to know that they can fight. They may very well get shot; they may very well die. But fighting back is better than waiting for the bullet.

At Columbine, athletic young men and women hid under tables in the library as their homicidal classmates gunned them down. At Virginia Tech, only one college student—a freshman ROTC cadet name Matthew La Porte—chose to rush the gunman. He took eight rounds, but he almost got the murderous swine's throat in his hands before he was killed. His classmates, many of them fit young men and women, died crouched under their desks waiting to be shot.

Matthew La Porte knew what to do when someone tried to kill him. He went on the attack. And if just one other student had joined him in that attack, together they might have succeeded in taking out the gunman and saving lives. In several recent active shooting incidents that's exactly what's happened. The would-be victims have delayed or foiled the gunman by simply throwing things at him. It's hard to fire a pistol at somebody when you're dodging thrown chairs.

The great security myth of modern America is that guns are magic sticks that automatically make people dead the minute they are fired. You need to advise your fellow Americans that that ain't necessarily so. People can take a lot of damage from most street firearms before they are mortally wounded and that includes head shots. Case in point: Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who is now doing TV interviews and (supposedly) writing books one year after being shot in the head.

Americans need to regain their fighting spirit. And I believe we will because so many veterans are coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, and they know that sometimes you have to fight even if it means you might die. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Virginia Tech gunman had walked into a room full of those vets? They would not die under their desks; I can tell you that.

As I was writing this column, a woman was burned to death in an elevator by a thug in New York City. The 72-year-old was sprayed with a flammable fluid and then set on fire with a Molotov cocktail. The attacker had no other weapon. Still when he sprayed her with the accelerant, she crouched down in a ball and took it.

She could have fought back. In her hands were two bags of groceries. And you can't tell me that there wasn't something in those bags hard enough to brain this guy. A swinging grocery bag full of cans makes an excellent club, and if she could carry two grocery bags from the store to her apartment, she could have swung one of them in his face.

Stop telling people to lie back and be murdered. Americans are a fighting people. Tell them that when their lives are on the line, even if they have no weapons, their only hope is to take it to the thugs. Stop teaching people how to be victims. Teach them how to fight.

Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

Bob @ 1/4/2012 5:16 PM

Outstanding piece! It all starts with a warrior mindset. The operant phrase in the warrior's mind should be: "whatever it takes." Adapt and overcome. Do whatever it takes in a fight to survive. I learned in survival school long ago that the main difference between those who survive and those who don't in extreme situations is the simple will to survive. Never give up. Ever. Getting shot or cut hurts, but docs can make the hurt go away if you survive. You can still fight ferociously even when it hurts.

Had that lady in the elevator been able to obtain a CCW in NYC, a virtually impossible feat except for the extremely wealthy or politically connected, she could have ended the encounter quickly and in her favor. The same thing at VT or teachers at Columbine. Instead, we sell the lie that the law-abiding gun owner is the threat instead of the perps preying on society. That must change. Legal concealed carriers are the best ally that LEO have on the streets.

DaveSAM25G @ 1/5/2012 9:08 PM

What a way to start the New Year 2012 with the Sun Shinning when even the clouds cannot hold it back! Well Done!

John @ 1/6/2012 6:04 AM

I cant agree MORE! Great article for the uninformed. Push the issue and try to get this published in articles that civilans read. The problem I see is that most people I know is that they aren't even close to having a warrior's heart much less a fighting spirit. It's been bred out of them early and the ones like me had to go into the Army & Police or become a outlaw to survive as warriors. It is a long journey for many but it starts with the youth, the old have chosen their way already. I also teach firearms & cch & combatives & mma(for fun) and this is just what I see. Continue with the great articles and plant as many seeds as you can! The few true leaders we have left must stand up for this warrior ethos and teach it to those who follow us.

De oppresso liber

T. J. @ 1/6/2012 6:23 AM

Excellent article.

Mike Scott. @ 1/6/2012 7:15 AM

If you don't want to protect yourself, then don't complain about a cop not being available when you needed one. If you don't want to protect yourself, you are already a victim. Why should you be trained to protect yourself with a weapon, because a cop is too heavy to carry? Many people do not like guns because they were taught not to like guns. Every time, I see a sign at a bank, restaurant or store that says no weapons I will not shop at that business. Only law-abiding people will leave their weapon in the car. However, the bad guy knows that no one will be able to stop them, so they can rob the place kill the witnesses without interruption. Do you want to be there when it happens?

BryanB. @ 1/6/2012 7:28 AM

While I agree with the spirit of this article (fight rather than die submissively); I feel the author has made erroneous assumptions in support of his premise. In the case of the 72 yr old, he states that she "could" have fought back. Maybe, maybe not. What was her physical condition?....did she get any of the flammable liquid in her eyes causing her to drop in pain? it possible that in the close confines of the elevator that the fumes replaced much of the oxygen available to her and she started getting light-headed? ...was her mind stuck in 'WTF is happening' mode causing her to freeze and shut down? Similar arguments can be made regarding the actions of LaPorte. In fact, a few students survived by 'playing dead'; the complete opposite action advocated by the author. My fighting *always* a better choice for survival than not fighting? depends. The entirety of the circumstances will dictate the course of action. My opinion only, I believe the author over-simplifies and extremely complex issue. An excellent source of reference as to the complexities involved is a book called, "Meditations on Violence" by Sgt Rory Miller. My apologies to Mr. David Griffith if I have misinterpreted his article.

Rick @ 1/6/2012 8:45 AM

As a former tactical officer. I fully agree with the article; I taught my twin girls to fight back no matter what, because their life depends upon it. Here in CA, it is difficult for most citizens to obtain a CCW permit, so citizens started open carry of their unloaded handguns; the state quickly banned the open carry of unloaded handguns, so now we're left with closed fists. Hopefully National Reciprocity will be passed and citizens across the US will be able to carry their concealed firearms across state lines.

Lucita @ 1/6/2012 10:05 AM

Becker's book"The Gift of Fear", Gonzalez book "Deep Survival", among other books I have read informs the reader who will survive and who will not, in all situations. I am an advocate that training in the martial arts and weapons is worthy. Truthfully, your body can be used for defenive weapons and if one has at least learned to use bo's, walking canes, etc. as defensive weapons, that is an asset. I am almost 72 years old and "muscle memories" from my Taekwondo training comes back quickly when I am in a "combat mode" so, in my belief, "old" age should never be a factor in defending oneself. My suggestion always is to focus always in one's surroundings; it's part of your security and safety.

Steve @ 1/6/2012 10:38 AM

Ten years ago, the heroes on Flight 93 were faced with a Hobson's choice: fight back and probably die or await the inevitable by doing nothing. Because they acted, the US Capitol is still standing and the 9-11 terrorists were deprived of a major propaganda coup.

I'm of the opinion that fighting back is not taught because it is inconsistent with the prevailing dependency culture advocated by the political left that controls most educational institutions. How many middle school and high school PE curricula teach martial arts skills?

Bonnie @ 1/6/2012 3:38 PM

When my daughter got in trouble for fighting in school, I was called in to speak with her and the teacher. The teacher turned to my daughter and said: "You must never, ever hit anyone." I turned to my daughter and said: "She's wrong. If you are being attacked and you can't get away, you fight and hit and scratch and punch and bite and claw their eyes out and keep on fighting until the other person stops moving." The teacher was speechless. I smiled at her and said: "That's how you teach your children well." Indeed it is.

Pat @ 1/6/2012 3:43 PM

Great read, you forgot to mention and recognize Flight 93...that would touch home with so many for Americans.

Jack Betz @ 1/6/2012 4:46 PM


c1ogden @ 1/6/2012 5:21 PM

Bonnie, I had the same problem with an incompetent idiot principal. She threatened disciplinary action against my 5 year old for punching an older kid who (according to a school employee) had shoved her several times. I told the principal, in front of my daughter, that she had better not ever let me find out that she punished my daughter or any other kid for defending themselves. I then turned to my daughter and reminded her that she wasn't to start any fights but it was perfectly okay to finish them, no matter what the school says.

joel @ 1/8/2012 11:32 AM

This is a great article and i want to echo the statements of the many. The mentality that Griffin is writing about is "refusing to be a victim". Unfortunately this is not taught in our elementary schools and seldom by parents such as Bonnie.

I taught my three boys that regardless of the rules at school, they were to defend the defenseless regardless of the rules. This includes bullies picking on girls and smaller students. They were to defend themselves against physical attacks, but not verbal attacks. They were to defend the honor of their mother and in any of these cases i would fully support them. Let me say, it only took one bully to test the resolve of one of my sons. He kicked A**.

The lesson of the article is clear, what this teaches is for people to not let themselves be a victim, to stand on their own, to stand up for others, to lead the charge and to change the liberal policies that are making us a society of victims.

Toni @ 2/7/2012 3:48 PM

Mr. Griffith, Thank you for giving folks 'permission' to defend themselves. We often get women and children in our classes who simply do not know that it is okay to defend themselves when they are presented with a confrontational situation. They don't practice stuational awareness and when confronted with the least amount of aggression like a panhandler, they become frightened instead of facing the person in front of them and just saying 'no'. In worse situations, they are afraid that if they try to block or hit someone who is striking at them, that the abuser will use that as an excuse to hit them even harder... so instead, they 'take it'. We get moms in our classes that won't defend themselves, but they will defend their kids. I still don't understand how they think they can take care of their little ones until they decide that they will stand up and take care of themselves too. It's one thing though to tell someone to 'stand up and fight back' it's another thing entirely to believe in their hearts that they should fight back and that they can win. Please parents, find self-defense classes or seminars in your community, especially for your young teen girls. Give them 'permission' to respect and protect themselves and each other!

Coleman Ray @ 4/30/2013 12:10 PM

Great Article,

You never know what the attackers true intent is and in the blink of an eye it could go from a key who just wants your money and then he wants you! It can escalate very quickly.. SO YOU CAN COMPLY AND DIE! OR YOU CAN FIGHT TO SURVIVE.. I teach my students that if you can't avoid the situation or escape.. You Must Devastate Your Attacker With More Violence.. When it comes to guns and knifes your odds to survive will greatly increase with lots of training..

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