Would you survive a real life street fight?
Click here to Take the Combat Quiz Now!

Get FREE Instant Access
To your online Video Fighting Course.
Click Here For FREE Instant Access.

How To Be A Good Kidnap Victim By Mark Hatmaker

George “Machine Gun” Kelly, was a Depression-era gangster with one of the most colorful names going. Let’s face it, it beats the hell out of Baby Face or Pretty Boy, or Creepy. Despite the formidable name Kelly was a little less deadly than the moniker belies, associates in
Alcatraz where he spent 21-years of his life referred to him as “Pop Gun” Kelly due to his model prisoner status and less than gangstery ways.


George “Machine Gun” Kelly

George Kelly, though not a cold-blooded killer, was, indeed, a criminal. He had numerous charges of bootlegging which in and of itself is not so glamorous a crime. It seems his wife, Kathryn Kelly, played the role of reputation-promoter, she gave him the name “Machine
Gun” and sought to create the reputation that George himself did not really warrant.

The world may not have taken much notice of the dapper bootlegger had it not been for a switch in modus operandi. It seems the Kelly gang thought that there might be more money to be made in kidnapping than illegal liquor sales so they set their sites on one, Charles F. Urschel, a wealthy oil magnate in Oklahoma.

Kelly and his gang barged in on a bridge game at Urschel’s residence on July 22, 1933. The almost comically ill-prepared gang encountered two men at the bridge table and were not sure which one was Urschel so they took both men, Urschel and his guest Walter Jarrett. Once on the road Urschel declared who he was and urged them to set Jarrett free, which they did.


Charles F. Urschel

Urschel was blindfolded from the get-go and wound up being held in a farmhouse in Paradise, Texas for over a week. He was released on July 30th after a ransom of $200,000 dollars was paid by the family.

The FBI was involved from the beginning of the case thanks to new kidnapping as Federal crime legislation following the tragedy that was
the Lindburgh Baby Kidnapping.

The FBI receives the credit for capturing Kelly and his gang, but what must be pointed to is the fact that this might not have been done if
it were not for the amazing observational prowess of Urschel himself.

Despite being blindfolded for much of the time, Urschel managed to:

  • Covertly touch as many surfaces as he could in the home in unusual
    locations so that once wiped free of prints many of Urschel’s still
    remained for confirmation.
  • He noted the pitch of speech and locality of dialect of each
    gang-member. Always listening for distinguishing phrases and slips of
    the tongue.
  • He noted an airplane that passed overhead around the same time every
    day and “timed” that passage with an estimation from rooster crowing
    and other aural clues.

In short, Mr. Urschel, although a captive, never stopped paying attention, or should I say, in the midst of what must be an exceptionally stressful time, he feared for his life after all, he never lost his wits. In fact, he doubled down on his native intelligence and was able to provide the observational clues that led to pinpointing the farmhouse, and from there to the arrest of the gang-members.


“Machine Gun” Kelly arrested for the kidnapping of Charles F. Urschel

Now, here’s the question to ask ourselves, just how observant are we, that is, me and you, in the here and now?

Do we note what is going on around us even without the onus of “fear-for-life” stress and blindfolds?

Do we note apparent patterns such as regular plane passages? Or, are we “blind” to what is around us while our eyes are wide-open?

We must ask ourselves, if we don’t prepare, train, and prime our observational skills now, are we hoping for too much when we assume that while blind to what is around us in the here and now we will be Charles F. Urschel calm, cool, collected and intelligent when it hits the fan?

Click Here For More Instruction From Mark Hatmaker

Leave A Reply:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 thoughts on “How To Be A Good Kidnap Victim By Mark Hatmaker”

  1. Very good advice ! When locked in van, compute seconds to miles, and remember left to right or right to left turns, and distance between!! Very Important!!!

  2. Observation should be taught as a class in criminology for new police classes. When I attended law enforcement classes back
    In 1969 70 and 71 they didn’t have this type classes for a student..
    I will be 87 his Aug. and I learned a lot of your teaching from experience mostly the difficult way. Keep up your good work as many as well as me, still need refreshing. Henry

  3. Great article and sound advice. I still have the same “passive scouting” instinct that kept me alive so many times overseas. The most illustrative story was in Ramadi, 2004 while on a solo mission. I was dressed like a local, driving a pick-up through a Shiite neighborhood when I noticed a man washing his feet to go into the house. Funny thing, Shiites and Sunis wash their feet differently (one with the heel on the doorstep, one with the instep)…I noticed, and to this day I’m not sure what triggered THAT bell, and aborted. In the middle of my u-turn an IED went off and all hell broke loose. I escaped with minor wounds and good intel…AND a healthy respect for paying attention.

  4. Every time I leave the house or go into or out of a store or restaurant, I look around to observe my surroundings.

  5. This is good; I sometimes walk with my eyes closed to see far I go without bumping into something. This takes me to a new level of training, now I need to be somewhere calm with a lot of space to see if I could do the same

  6. Great info for everyone and each point well illustrated. My training while a police officer included this very same thing… Thanks!

  7. I once knew a guy who was practically blind. He told me how his other senses became enhanced to compensate. Looks like Mr Urschel could adapt quickly. As for Ground-Fighting, just take up Judo. You learn this stuff long before Black Belt level.

  8. Unless someone is well trained most people are oblivious to their surroundings. Because of this people end up being hurt or killed. In this evil world we should pay attention our surroundings both at our home and anywhere outside of our of our comfort zone.

  9. Like any really good strategy, this advice is alarmingly simply. Its effectiveness can never be overstated. Don’t be so poor of imagination that you cannot PAY ATTENTION. It may mean the difference between life & it’s considerably less desirable counterpart. Thank you for the sage advice.

  10. My dogs and I have daily competitions to spot wildlife. They don’t care about score but, I do! Things go sideways it could be hidden ambushers or our next meal. I live close to the country. I won’t waste time hunting but targets of opportunity…

  11. Great lesson. Today most people are only concerned about their cell phones and other devices. I try every day to look at people and pick out clothing and other features that set them apart. You never know when it will be needed to help law enforcement. Thanks for another great lesson.