I recently read about a bodyguard who was killed while protecting American government VIPs in Iraq. He was shot in the neck, which was the only part of his body that was not protected by body armour. Clearly, the individual who killed him was a highly-trained sharp shooter. At this level of Executive Protection, the “bad guys” become more dangerous, better trained, and even more ardent in their efforts. These types of assignments are designated as “high risk.” The bodyguard was no doubt superbly trained and skilled, and had in fact been honored and medalled by the Queen of England for his work.
And still, he was killed on the job.
He was only 45, and leaves behind a young wife who is devastated.
I thought it time to address the part of Executive Protection Services that is often overlooked–the inherent risks associated with this line of work.
I recall when I was first hired to work as a bodyguard to Prince. To many, his arrival on the music scene was exciting and ground-breaking and to most fans, “Purple Rain” was a musical phenomenon. The downside was a certain segment of the population viewed Prince as “the Anti-Christ.” I thought I had the greatest job in the worldâ€”great pay, and of course the cachet of being one of the bodyguards for the hottest performer of that time. I also clearly remember the time we went to a concert venue and had to do a security sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs because there’d been religious zealots who thought Prince represented evil and claimed bombs had been placed at the venue to try and prevent the concert. That was the day I realized that this was not a “fun-and-games” job. I realized that this high-paying job comes with a very high price tag: potentially the loss of my life.
Now, for the most part, protecting a celebrity is not deemed “high risk.” (Those assignments usually go to individuals with a good deal of military training and the paychecks for those jobs are staggering because of the level of risk involved.) However, even when working as a celebrity bodyguard, there were a certain number of people who were a potential risk to be around. I remember a individual in Atlanta who approached me and told me “God had commissioned her to kill Prince.” We took every threat very seriously. We just never knew. Being associated with a celebrity meant that we were all targets. It really hadn’t occurred to me when I signed on to work for Prince. I thought I was invincible.
I don’t know that this business is the right fit for an individual with a family. Granted, the paycheck can be lucrative and alluring–but remember, if you have a wife and children, it is not your life alone that is impacted, should you be wounded or killed on the job. The risk is very real and the consequences can be far-reaching. Just as Law Enforcement officers are putting their safety and very life on the line every day, Executive Protection can mean you are taking the blow (or the bullet) for your employer. It’s something to think about.
of course it goes without saying that all our thoughts go to those that have fallen and their respective families, in this case it was a conscious choice and or decided calling go to such a place with such unpredicatble risks and serve and unfortunately pay the ultimate price.
Your article is a great but brief wakeup call to those people who think what we do is glamourous, of which there are certain parts that are less than of course, like the potential for giving not only our heart and souls, our precious time and energy and spirit,but sometimes also the potential to give our lives.
it is sometimes hard for people to break inot this industry for such reasons outlined in many of the articles, people who dont know you or have worked with you wont give you the chance to show them what you can do, due to the fact that there are still far too many unskilled and reckless operators out there giving us all a bad name, for various reasons – not being prepared, not doing advances properly, not being properly trained, not having the right attitude or apptitude and most importantly not bein able to be descreet about the job they are doing and for whom.
keep up the good fight!!!! stay safe!!!!
Charles E. Lee, II
I am very sorry to hear that one of our own has fallen. My heart goes out to his family and closes friends. Is there an address that we can foward our concerns to his family to show that we care?
Hucky, We had a simular incident in Tennessee and Canada when I was with Michael Jackson and the Jacksons. We had to ride in armoured cars to and from the venue and do a security weep within the venue because of these type of threats. Regardless, whether working for celebrites or Diplomates this is a dangerous job.
When I interview people who want to get into this business I ask them would they take a bullet for their client when they have a family. They say yes, we get those gunhole type of indivduals who really don’t understand the risk involved. They think that it’s all glamour until something happens and they are caught with their hands down (not knowing what to do).
I was on tour in Florida with Bobby Brown and the group “Ready for The World” and an incident took place on the way back from a show. A car pulled up next to “Ready for The World’s” tour bus and begin firing shoots on the bus. Someone got shoot on the bus, but instead of the driver driving straight to the hospital he was instructed to drive back to the hotel by the security staff.
The security staff panic, plus they did not do dry runs (advance work) to locate the different safety fasilities like the hospital, the police station, the fire station who could provide medical attention in case of emergencies. Nor calculate the time it times to reach any of these fasilities in traffic or no traffic, nor did they seek out an alternate route to reach them.
But that goes with the lack of experience for men and women working in the entertainment business. My advice to the men and women who want to inter into this business learn the traded and don’t become a statisitic.
PS: There are more stories – Take care