By the time you read this, I’ll have gotten back from the two-day Executive Protection Seminar hosted by Bob Duggan, the legendary founder and leader of Executive Security International in Colorado. I didn’t count, but Bob told me there were about a hundred attendees. I couldn’t help but notice that some major firms were there, actively recruiting new security professionals. The market for them is booming, both here and overseas, the worldwide economic slump notwithstanding.
Dan Johnson, who works with Travelers Insurance on kidnap response around the globe, told us that piracy is out of control off the coast of Somalia, and kidnapping is a growth industry in Mexico and starting to spill across US borders. Dan warned us of “virtual kidnapping.” They’ll put surveillance on you and your family, and some day or night when one of your kids is in a camp or class for a day where their cell phone will be turned off and you can’t contact the child, you’ll get the call that they’re holding your young one and you have a very few hours to get a few thousand dollars to a drop point or you’ll never see your offspring again. They figure the small amount is something you can gather in that short time. The money, of course, will disappear from where you left it, and the kid will come home wondering why you are so upset…because your son or daughter was never touched.
Elijah Shaw, bodyguard for the popular rapper Usher talked about protecting celebrities. It’s not the fat city gig we’d think it would be. Schedules are hellacious, and you have a whole entourage to cope with, not to mention crowds of fans and of course, the occasional obsessed stalker.
Pete Dordal of Garda, a worldwide security organization, briefed us on just how grim – and how uncertain – the situation is right now in the Middle East. “Arab Spring is huge,” he explained, and added, “What we can’t make out of it is, what’s next?”
I for one left with a sense of gratitude that I live and work in the United States, and don’t have to protect any bodies but my own and those of my loved ones. The latter are pretty adept at guarding their own bodies, so for me it all works out.
Elijah Shaw, bodyguard to the stars.
Dan Johnson, one of the world’s leading experts on kidnapping.
Bob Duggan, founder of Executive Security International, the legendary trainer of bodyguards who brought us all together.
Mas talking about managing the aftermath of necessary use of protective force.
Pete Dordal gives a sobering briefing on the current state of affairs in current world trouble spots.