The old concept of executive protection based on weapons and reaction continues to claim lives. Businessman Carlos Benítez "Bildmart" died last Friday, August 26, as a result of the attack he suffered the day before on Insurgentes Avenue in the city of Cuautla, Morelos, where two of his bodyguards also lost their lives, while his 13-year-old daughter was wounded.
According to newspaper reports, the attack occurred when the victim got out of his truck in the company of a protection agent to pick up his daughter from school. At that moment, several individuals attacked them with high caliber weapons and the guards assigned to him by the State Security Commission (CES) repelled the aggression, provoking a shootout that ultimately resulted in the death of the businessman, two guards and an alleged assailant.
Once again the attack occurs at "the seam": an exposure to the higher risk environment that is generated at times of arrivals and departures. A large portion of attacks of this type occur during "seams," so these exposures are considered the most dangerous spaces for protectees and protectors, especially when they occur at routine locations and times.
As in the executive protection traditionally, this operation was based on close protection and the use of firearms. However, as our study shows (Executive protection and use of firearms), weapons in the executive protection fail in more than 96 % of cases in real-life conditions; and, unfortunately, this was no exception. Basing a protégé's safety on a shooting is utterly foolish, as the consequences are almost always fatal.
It is evident that the security scheme was lacking at least two measures of the executive protection early warning: counter-surveillance and early warning:
The fact that the attack occurred at a "seam" and at a routine place and time implies that the criminals previously carefully selected the place of attack, after a prolonged time of observation and monitoring of the victim. If counter-surveillance activities had been implemented, the criminals would have been detected and the attack would have been defused months earlier.
Also, the assailants should have waited at specific points around the attack site several minutes (or more) earlier. If the agents had performed their early warning activities, instead of being all crowded around the executive, they would have undoubtedly detected the presence of the criminal commando with long guns and prevented the executive from entering the trap.
Unfortunately, everything has been entrusted to guns and last minute reaction, which has never worked. What else has to happen and how many more people have to die before we realize that these archaic measures are useless? Only by changing our way of understanding and practicing the executive protection and by implementing new methods of anticipatory security we will be able to make this profession safer for both protectees and protectors.