Updated: Nov 8, 2020

How much knowledge do you have that is beneficial to those around you?

In my police days, an explosion of private security companies took place. Many members, highly trained at vast cost to the state, and highly experienced, resigned and joined the civilian world. We who remained felt rather superior even if still poor and looked down upon by the learned and richer class. It took many years to realize that private security can play a major role in combating crime. Today, you find security companies everywhere and, in many cases, more trusted than the official police which is a sad indictment.

As a young attorney, I quickly realized that my extensive university training, law degrees, articles, the passing of the side-bar exam, meant nothing in real life. You are confronted with the most incredulous circumstances and scenarios that you sometimes wondered what part of the law is applicable or if the client is telling the whole truth or his version of the truth. But you always find a solution and with the years, practical experience makes up for what I will call “innocence.” I never liked law practice, to be honest. It is a mad monthly scramble for fees to reach targets combined with relentless pressure and negative energy around you. Summarised, “For me to win, you must lose.” It is a high-stress job for only those that actually like being part of the most despised profession in the world. I was not crying when I left for good and will never advise anyone to study law. However, expert knowledge is a powerful thing indeed.

Through the years I further realized that different skills combined are what makes for a desired outcome in most situations. There is no one field of expertise with all the answers. Strength through diversity is what won the South African Border War in virtually every single enemy encounter and nowhere else except in Army Special Forces was this more true that in the old police’s counterinsurgency units of which I was a proud member. Thus, when I wrote my hostage prevention and survival briefing (see details here) I combined the law in all its facets with security and a common-sense approach based upon historical facts. From this, we can spot the patterns and predict accurately how a hostage-taking and rescue, should one be attempted, will play out. Should the victim, the hostage, be made aware of the probable future, he can either change it by not acting the goat or save his own life by following the basic principles of surviving a rescue attempt. It is, according to me, and the law, criminally negligent to send a man or women blindly into danger whilst fully knowing that he or she might be attacked. It also shows an utter lack of care and contempt for the employee by his employer should the negligence turn into a horror show.

I have no doubt that if different professions combine, that the world would be a better place. For the security professional, it should be reassuring that his principal (the hostage) knows what to do. For the hostage, even more so. For the company, well, once proven to have provided the training the negligence factor is reduced to be of no further concern. It is a win-win situation. Sadly, many disagree with the above and see it as a personal attack at the bottom line, the money to be made. That is a lose-lose scenario. If you have a good idea or knowledge known to save a life, speak up. It is important.

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