Jan 122011

On 8 January 2011, Jared Lee Loughner reportedly shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the head during her constituent meeting outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Loughner, using a Glock Model 19 9mm handgun with extended magazine, allegedly shot 18 additional individuals, resulting in six dead, including Federal Judge John Roll, and 12 wounded.  Loughner was captured and arrested at the scene.  Giffords apparently did not have a Security Director on her staff and rarely used any security or police assistance for that matter even though she has had credible threats and acts of violence towards her in the past.  Why?  On 9 January, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal complaint charging Loughner with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of murdering federal employees.

This incident bears many similarities to previous lone offender attacks and highlights the challenging threat posed by such individuals as they operate independently and maintain few trusted associations-making them difficult to detect, monitor, and disrupt.  The following are recent active shooter examples:

1. On 1 September 2010, a male suspect—possibly motivated by a violent form of environmental extremism and armed with a potentially functional improvised explosive device attached to his body, a replica weapon, and a starter pistol took hostages at the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters building of the Discovery Channel and threatened to open fire.  The standoff ended when he was killed by law enforcement.

2. On 4 March 2010, a gunman shot two Pentagon police officers at a security checkpoint at the Pentagon entrance. Pentagon officers returned fire and disabled the gunman, who later died of his injuries.  The gunman’s motives remain unclear.

3. On 18 February 2010, a man flew a single-engine aircraft into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices in an Austin, Texas office building, killing himself and one IRS employee.  He allegedly targeted the offices as revenge for personal financial hardships he attributed to the IRS.

4. On 10 June 2009, an 88 year-old male with white supremacist sympathies opened fire with a rifle at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., killing a security guard.  The attacker, who was wounded by return fire and arrested on the scene, died on 6 January 2010 prior to the conclusion of his trial.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.  Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.  The following measures are recommended to mitigate the impact of an active shooter incident on facilities.

1. Designate at least two evacuation routes and post routes in conspicuous locations.

2. Develop and exercise security and emergency action plans that include policies and procedures for dealing with active shooters.

3. Integrate local law enforcement, emergency responders, SWAT teams, K-9 teams, and bomb squads and first responders into training exercises.

4. When possible, establish random security patrols to disrupt potential surveillance efforts.

5. Install closed circuit television cameras accessible to law enforcement.

6. Train personnel on proper procedures relating to the identification and reporting of suspicious activities.  While no single activity is an indicator of pre-operational attack planning, the combination of various activities-such as individuals loitering in sensitive areas for no apparent reason, unusual sketching, and pace counting-could be deemed suspicious in light of other available information.

7. If circumstances prevent safe evacuation, move away from the danger and find shelter in a pre-designated area of refuge or an area with a window to allow rescue.  If possible, victims should make every attempt to notify rescuers of their location.

8. If victims are unable to evacuate, they should take all available actions to seek secure cover, such as locking doors and/or hiding in an area that provides maximum protection.

All of us live in a dangerous world that is only getting more dangerous and violent.  If you are someone who is in the public eye or speak out about controversial issues, you are more susceptible to acts of violence toward you and others around you.  Whether you want to admit it or not, high profile activities automatically put a target on your back.  Society has proven time and time again that there are “wackjobs” amongst us.  Not everyone is going to like what you have to say about the issue you are speaking about.  Unfortunately, left wingers and right wingers see their only course of action is to cause harm and bring peril to your doorstep.

What will you do when the wolf knocks on your door?  Allow yourself to become a victim or casualty?  Turn and ignore the wolf and hope it leaves you alone?  Fight the wolf off by any means necessary?  If you’re not strong enough to fight the wolf off, what about utilizing a sheepdog to protect you?  Why all the reference to wolves and sheepdogs?  The wolf is a predator.  The sheepdogs are those folks who will take a stand against the evil that continually haunts us and plagues our society that normal and decent human beings want to be a part of no matter what your cause is.

It is terrible what happened to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and those around her at the time of the attack. My heart grieves for all those involved.  Could this tragedy have been prevented?  The answer is yes! Hiring a Security Consultant, Executive Protection Specialist, Security Director, or some other Security Professional could have made a world of difference.  Threats and other random acts of violence that is committed toward an individual or group needs to be taken seriously and validated by completing a comprehensive Threat Assessment.  Hiring a Security Director to facilitate the security of all public and private events, including travel route and destination planning etc. is a critical must.  Any security service that is needed can be contracted with a quality security firm or you can provide the services in-house by hiring your own security personnel.  We must take a proactive stand and be strategic in protecting ourselves.  We must move away from the frame of mind that says “that will never happen to me.”  Every day that old adage is proven not to be true.

Gideon Protective Services, Inc. is here ready to assist you in all your security related solutions.  We are a full service Security Firm featuring Executive Protection, Dignitary Protection, Security Consulting, Church Security Training and Protection, Firearms Training, Uniformed Security Guards, and a wide array of other related Security Consulting Services.  Call us anytime at 888-305-6513 for a free confidential consultation to discuss your security needs.  You can also email us directly at info@gideonprotectiveservices.com.  We can also be reached on the web at www.executive-protection-services.com and www.executive-protection-services.net to learn more about the professionals at Gideon. Whatever you do, learn from the tragedies that have taken place and be proactive in protecting yourself and those around you.

Dec 042009

On December 2, 2009 Julia Corker, the 22-year-old daughter of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker,  walked away  after being carjacked Wednesday night by a man asking for directions.  Julia corker was in D.C traveling to her family’s apartment when someone approached her while she was driving and asked for directions.  When Julia stopped to offer assistance, an unknown male subject jumped into the passenger seat.  Julia was forced out of her vehicle and onto the ground.  The two suspects drove away in Julia’s vehicle.  Julia thankfully was not hurt.

I believe this whole tragedy could have been avoided if U.S Senator Corker would have hired an Executive Protection firm to guide and protect his family.  First off, hiring an Executive Protection firm comes with more than just close-in physical protection (Bodyguard).  A properly trained EP firm and its associates should teach several security related items such as what criminals look for in their victims.  For instance, common rouses to guard against and also having or acquiring the proper mindset should be addressed.  Besides dealing with a general criminal element that affects all walks of life, being the daughter of a U.S Senator makes Julia a higher exposed target for not just criminals, but terrorists and political detractors.  (The proper mindset is called the Color Code of Mental Awareness and this topic will be addressed in a later blog).  Depending on the high level of exposure that U.S Senator Corker currently has, he might want to entertain the idea of placing a small security detail with each member of his family.  If Julia would have had an armed driver escort at the very least, none of this would have happened.  The unwanted press and embarrassment that is associated with this headline would also have been avoided. 

If you have any questions about Bodyguards, Executive Protection, or Security Consulting, or training for you, your superiors, your company, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services for a free, confidential consultation.  See what Gideon can do for you.  Check us out at http://www.executive-protection-services.com or our blog at http://www.executive-protection-services.net.

Dec 032009

In the news of late is story after story about the “White House Party Crashers”.  If you missed it two “wannabee” celebrities pulled a fast one on the Secret Service and were admitted to a private White House dinner function.  This was a high level security breach of the President of the United States.  Even though nothing of any consequence happened, all of us in the security field are reminded that you always have to bring your “A” game.  Mistakes can happen, but at the same time mistakes cannot happen. 

This is why you hire Executive Protection Professionals.  In this particular case it was the U.S Secret Service that let in the two “pretenders” when they were not on an approved list.  I cannot arm chair quarter back why it happened.  I am sure there is incredible stress put on the agents about getting people into the secured area quickly and efficiently, as not to prolong the process or cause embarrassment to anyone.  Unfortunately, this mishap was embarrassing for the USSS and the White House staff.  As an Executive Protection Professional you must at all times follow policy and procedures to ensure all safety concerns are addressed and there are no shortcuts taken, even if it means standing up to your boss in the name of their safety and taking a few extra moments to ensure all safety protocols are followed. 

The job of an Executive Protection Professional is not only to protect their client from harm and ensure they get from point A to point B with no interruptions (incident avoidance), the Executive Protection Professional is also charged with protecting their client from embarrassing mishaps, much like the White House snafu.  This is a call and reminder to all in the industry to be ever vigilant in their duties in respect to their client.  Being the USSS sets the standard in Executive Protection, I believe this mishap is short lived and will never happen again.

If you have any questions about Bodyguards, Executive Protection, or Security Consulting, or training for you, your boss, your company, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services for a free, confidential consultation.  See what Gideon can do for you.  Check us out at http://www.executive-protection-services.com or our blog at http://www.executive-protection-services.net.

Oct 302009

If you’re thinking of getting into Executive Protection or Bodyguard work, and you want to know what training to attend.  I know of only one school that offers a firm foundation for the beginner and a great refresher for the seasoned professional.  And in this economy you want the most bang for your buck.  I attended, graduated, and recommend J.A LaSorsa & Associates.   I did a lot of homework and research on which schools to attend and why.  What is the benefit of each etc?  I understand there is a huge difference between the public/ govt. sector and the private sector.  There are many transferable skill sets, but there is a huge difference.

 LaSorsa hit on this topic right up front.  Joe identified this field is not for everyone.  I took copious amounts of notes and really paid attention.  But beware, as always, there were some clowns in the class who chose not to take it serious.  They thought they were going to walk out and the end of the week and have a kick ass E.P. job.  That’s not how it works.  I heeded all the advice and knowledge that Joe expressed in class.  There is a lot to learn in this business, and it constantly changes.  The downturn in the economy hasn’t helped matters.  To be successful, you must take it serious, or no one will take you serious.  Anyways, during the class we conducted three details in the nearby City.  It was very worthwhile.  We applied everything we learned and hit the streets.  It was as real as it could be, just short of freaking people out when we hit the Starbucks and people were wondering who our Protectee was.   (You had to be there to understand).

Joe’s program covered a lot of information in a short amount of time.  His class didn’t have all the fluff that other schools have.  I didn’t want to pay for cocktails parties, I wanted the meat.  If you don’t want fluff, and want just the nuts and bolts, then I highly recommend J.A. LaSorsa & Assoc.  I prefer a no fluff atmosphere.  It’s a great introduction to establish a concrete foundation to build upon.  This career and life is a never ending learning process.  There is always more to learn and build upon.  I believe Joe will help you start that process.

I have enjoyed many training sessions over the years.  I find Joe LaSorsa & Associates does fit the bill.  Do your homework, make phone calls etc.  You can usually tell when someone is legit and professional.  Joe is very approachable and professional.  I  believe if you attend a class like Joe LaSorsa’s, take some kick ass driving course, firearms classes (I recommend Front Sight), get CPR and EMT Certified, get some kind of education so you can talk and put a sentence together, you will be off to a great start.  At all these training facilities, you will meet people and start the networking process.   That alone is invaluable.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of quality  Executive Protection Schools out there.  Choose wisely and carefully.  Get the most for your money and for what you hope to accomplish.  On a personal note, and like I said before, I heeded everything Joe stated in his class.  Remember this nugget.  The USSS sets the standard of Executive Protection in my opinion.  Joe retired from the USSS.  What type of training do you think he will give to his students?  It’s a no brainer.  By the way, there just happens to be an Executive Protection course by Joe LaSorsa coming up in November in California.  Check it out for all the details at http://www.lasorsa.com.

If I can be of any assistance to anyone don’t hesitate to call or email.