September 11 – 8 Years Later

It is hard to believe that 8 years have passed already since the terrible occurances of 9-11. CNN early news commented this morning about the change in the country since those days.

If we cast our minds back, we will recall how the whole country came together as one and divisions were erased overnight. Sadly, this is not the case today. Political parties and their followers are more divided than ever about issues such as healthcare.

The general public are less concerned about future attacks as well. Those of us in the security profession realize that there is no room for complacancy, however. Terrorists can attack just about anywhere at any time.

If you are travelling with a Principal, remember the most recent attacks in Mumbai and practice your own security measures even though the hotel or venue may already have security in place. Expect the unexpected and always be prepared to react.

It will be up to you as an E.P. agent to know the political climate when you travel and to advise your Principal on where travel should be avoided or an itinerary changed as the situation dictates.

The drunken driving ads on the television say; “arrive alive”, but it is our goal that we both Arrive and Depart alive.

Mayhem in Mumbai

The total number of casualties rise in the financial capital of India after terrorists attack multiple locations.

The latest figures suggest that at least 100 people have been killed and as many as 900 injured. Radio and television reporters are saying that it has all the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda attack. Locations included a railway station, a cinema, the Taj Hotel, and another very popular restaurant.

It appears as if the terrorists singled out Westerners as they are reported to have taken British and American tourists hostages and brought them up to the 18th floor of the hotel. This evening the hotel is on fire and the fate of the hostages is still unknown.

The good news for some, is that they were able to escape form the hotel in the confusion. It appears that the terrorists could have numbered dozens of heavily armed men. This is definitely not a random attack but a well planned and executed operation aimed at causing mass casualties amnd hitting India’s financial markets in much the same way as Wall Street was attacked on 9/11.

We do not hear that much about India’s terrorist problems in the West but I was made aware of it when I was invited to India to speak on Security matters this time last year. I have since that time made clients and potenital clients aware of the security situation.

There has been much outsourcing to India and many U.S. businesses are sending personnel over there as a result. Those who can afford to have their own professional security protectors should consider that option very carefully. It could very well turn out being more of a necessity than a luxury in these dangerous times.

When does a bodyguard need to shoot into a crowd?

A story out of Mumbai,India caught my attention today. A politician’s bodyguard shot into a crowd of people and killed a man.

While professional Executive Protection Agents no longer refer to themselves as “bodyguards”, if we nonetheless examine that “handle”, we can break it down as; “a person who guards (protects) the body of another”. If I was tasked with the investigation of this shooting incident in India, one of the very first places I would look at would be the training manuals of those involved. If they were Policemen, I would demand to be allowed to inspect that Department’s training guides that were used when training their “bodyguards”. Same thing would apply if they belonged to a private company/entity.

I very seriously doubt that I would find any directive anywhere authorizing those assigned to the protective detail to fire haphazzardly into a crowd of people. To me, this suggests that the bodyguard either panicked or was placed in the position without any professional training (most probable explanation). Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes in E.P. training knows that the responsibility of the Protective Agent(s) is to evacuate their client (Principal). Shooting into crowds of people would be out of place, even in far-fetched Hollywood. I am quite sure that Indian society is nothing near as litigious as it is here in the Western world, but I still suspect that there is a smart lawyer somewhere in India trying to contact the victim’s family. I believe the case will be his for the winning.

Ironically, I contactd a company in India a couple of months back with a proposal to train their Executive Protection staff. Without ever hearing a price, they contacted me back and said they were sure they couldn’t afford us (eventhough they are one of the largest employers in India). Which makes me wonder, how do you put a price on a human life and what would you consider a fair price to have your people professionally trained so that you were not sued by the family/next of kin of someone killed by one of your employees? By the way, this question can be asked of any employer anywhere in the world who is in the business of either safeguarding their own employees, or protecting the life of others.

In Real Estate it is about; “Location, Location, Location”. In security, it is about; “Training, Training, Training”. I sincerely hope that many get to know of this incident (including nearly all of the Hollywood stars who allow their Protectors to assault people on a regular basis)and begin to realize the importance of having a professionally trained person taking care of them. Hiring some big guy with a couple of years military experience is not good enough.

That would be like hiring a person for a plastic surgery procedure whose only experience was carving the Thanksgiving turkey. Who’d be the turkey then?