Can an Executive Protector Really Prevent an Assassination?

In famed author, Gavin de Becker’s well researched book “Just 2 Seconds,” he chronicles the seconds between an assassin’s “Moment of Commitment” and the Executive Protector’s “Moment of Recognition” and the resulting ability of that Protector to save their client from assassination. His research is explicit; if the protector is 15 feet away from the assassin he has only an 18% chance of protecting his client.  If he is 7 feet away from the assassin he has only a 45% chance of protecting his client. Only when he is within-an-arms-length from this assailant and he is completely “in the now”, can he offer a 98% chance of protection. If his mind is at all distracted, his percentages drop like a rock!

Just 2 Seconds explains the importance of getting ahead of the assassin’s Moment of Commitment, trying to identify behavior that might be precursors to the Moment of Commitment. These precursors are too often subjective methods requiring considerable intuition and experience, placing the protector, the company at risk for law suits and their client at risk of assassination.

Realizing that 81% of assassinations are perpetrated within 25 feet of their victim, this is an assassin who realizes he or she will not escape — they will either be captured or killed.  This is, by our definition, either a Combatant (murderer: 8th Level Cognitive Aggressor) or Terrorist (murder/suicide: 9th Level Cognitive Aggressor).   When any individual rises to the level of intention that they are prepared to give up their life a cause, their body and behavior take on very specific indicators that permit us to identify them, even before they arrive on scene.

The Center for Aggression Management’s Primal and Cognitive Aggression Continua, permit the Protection Professional a significant increase in their ability to identify (foresee) the assailant and get-close-enough to the attacker (arm’s length: 98% chance of protection) to fully protect their client.  Because these Primal and Cognitive Aggression indicators are culturally-neutral and measurable they move the protector, his company and his client closer to 98% protection and legal defensibility for actions taken.

The glaring truth learned in Just 2 Seconds is the need for measurable/objective observables prior to the assassin’s Moment of Commitment so that the protector can prevent, not react, to an assailants actions. 


  1. james

    very interesting. I may pick up that book “just 2 seconds” out of curiosity. i think the most interesting thing are the “tells” that someone is ready to either be captured or killed to accomplish his objective. (regardless of whether the objective is honorable or dishonorable)

  2. John D. Byrnes

    You are absolutely right, but the “tells” must include both Primal and Cognitive Aggression “tells.”

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