You see them quietly in the background near celebrities and executives. Men and women in dark suits, sunglasses, and a stern look. These are members of a professional dignitary protection team, and they serve to protect their client. For the elite, executive protection is generally just an accepted part of everyday life. For the rest of the world though the cost of having even one EP agent watching over them would eliminate it as a possibility. There is an option however when your budget does not quite allow for 24-hour protection. You can be your own bodyguard!
While there is nothing as comforting as knowing that a team of professionals has your back, there are things we can do inside the “EP” realm to better protect ourselves. Let’s take a look at some of the basic principles of close protection and how we can apply them to our own lives. First up we need to be aware. Yes, I know it is an obvious point and
sounds like a tired cliché yet it is rule number one in EP club. Being aware is more than just looking around. It is getting a feel for the situation. The more we see, the easier it is for us to avoid a possible issue to begin with. You have to look into the details of things around you. Is there a man wearing a jacket in July? Perhaps a woman with an RPG? From the subtle to the obvious we need to take it all in.
Next rule of EP club is to have a plan. The best example of this is when you walk into a building. You should have at least two options on how to get out. While the front door may be obvious, it is also obvious to someone who may be a threat. If a shooter comes in, more than likely it will be through the front door. Most commercial establishments have additional exits, but they will be filled with panicked people should something happen. Search deeper into the establishment. If it is a restaurant or a club, walk back into the kitchen to see if there is an exit. If you are questioned, just ask for directions to the restroom. In that brief moment you got a good look at the kitchen, the exit in back, the staff as well as other lay out details. It is this type of behavior that separates the predator from the prey.
If things go bad the next rule is that we don’t fight. Now that obviously needs an explanation. As a protective agent you need to have a variety of defensive skills ranging from combatives and firearms to driving and first aid. However, if we end up in a bad situation, our number one goal is to protect and evacuate our client. We do not have the luxury of time to stop and fight someone. Generally, a fight is a give and take between two adversaries. The more skilled, bigger or stronger person will be the victor. We do not have time for any give and take. Furthermore, in a give and take scenario you increase your chances of severe injury. Your goal should things get physical is to immediately dominate and subdue or incapacitate the subject. We are not here for a boxing match. After that you break contact and get to safety. Combative techniques used in EP are hyper violent and fast. These are the cornerstones of defense.
In a dangerous world there is a real need for a gun. You will need to ignore the platitudes regurgitated by anti-gun utopians. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This powerful quote sums up the reason EP agents carry a firearm. With that mindset however we must train ourselves to an exceptional standard. An equally appropriate quote comes from the great Jeff Copper, “Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.” If you choose to carry a defensive firearm then you must master its’ use. Seek professional training and then do it again. Shooting is a perishable skill and by infrequently training you are setting yourself up for disaster. If the black flag is ever raised on your watch, there is a very high probability that there will be innocent civilians everywhere around you. A panicked shot or sloppy presentation can end the life of a person standing nearby. The judicious and focused use of a firearm is essential.
Lastly, we need to understand the threat. Those who train in the executive protection arena see the world in a different light. Once you understand the dangers that lurk in our world, you will never be the same. This is not a “boogey man” or melodramatic play. It is reality. A general rule is that one in every 25 people are psychopathic and have no conscience whatsoever. These are people that can stab a child with no remorse or hesitation. In a major metropolitan area such as New York, that would place over 100,000 dangerous people in the streets of the city. EP agents must embrace the true nature of mankind and then find a balance to safely exist in daily life. By being your own bodyguard, you must do your own soul searching and make the decision to take your protection into your own hands.