Minimize the Risk of a Personal Security Failure

If you must endure long-term exposure to truly dangerous circumstances, your personal security preparations are guaranteed to fail eventually; the only question is when and how they will fail.

Generally speaking, a personal security plan is vulnerable to two types of failure. In a negative failure, your underreaction or poorly chosen response leaves you open to attack. An overreaction, or positive failure, turns you into the aggressor and your alleged attacker into the victim. Reducing the likelihood of one type of security failure increases the probability of the other.

Personal security is a classic trade-off scenario. Risk cannot be eliminated; managing it intelligently will encourage slight rather than catastrophic self-defense failures.

A well-managed self-defense plan exhibits these characteristics:

Restricts actions, not identities. If you want to manipulate the ignorant masses, compose a list of evildoers and restrict their freedoms. It worked for the Third Reich, and it can work for you too. If, on the other hand, you wish to increase your safety and security, don’t bother with such ineffective tactics.
In real life, sheep and wolves wear the same clothing. Instead of granting special privileges based on a harmless appearance, deny them all the opportunity to bite you.

Defends against a wide variety of attacks. Good self-defense should not rely on fortune-telling skills. No matter what tactics your attacker chooses, the same basic counter-measures must apply.
In practice, a successful defense must operate at a higher level of abstraction than the offense. It is a matter of governing your own conduct, more than successfully predicting the opponent’s movements.

Capitalizes on human intuition and judgment. A security process is only as good as the people implementing it. Systems cannot adapt themselves to constantly shifting threats, only competent people can adapt them.

Make sure the people who implement security policies are trained and empowered to enforce the spirit of the system.


Whether you want to protect your body or your nation, the same guidelines apply.

So why aren’t they used at the airport?


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