“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Posted by Pamela S. on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
This quote is attributed to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. His “big stick” diplomacy meant acting with caution, avoiding aggression, but being prepared to defend. Roosevelt described it as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis”.
You can use this ideology in your work as a private investigator or security professional. The public’s perception of private investigation is that it is a dangerous business. It can be, but as in policing, most days you just go about doing your job. Still, it only takes one event to change your life forever, and that is what you should be prepared for. Weapons and self defense training may protect you in some instances, but it is no guarantee of safety. Your best weapon doesn’t cost a penny, it is the one between your ears. The same applies to everyday life. Many criminals are well armed and they aren’t afraid to use those weapons.
It can be difficult to avoid trouble when you are on surveillance. Things happen, especially when you are working in a bad neighborhood. Even people who are trained to observe and react often let down their guard. It is human nature, we become distracted or nervous in dangerous situations.
If I see someone who looks a bit sketchy, I treat that person as if they were a wounded animal. By that, I mean I keep calm and stay away. I don’t provoke. I think that some people who do bad things were wounded in some psychological way and they are striking out at the rest of us. I’m not saying it is right, or that it is the reason that all criminals commit acts of violence. Drugs, mental illness, poverty and other factors play a part. I’m not a psychologist, so I really don’t know how some people take the right path and some become pure evil.
This is a personal opinion, some people I know in law enforcement have a less tolerant view. We debate this topic often, and I understand, because they have dealt with the worst of society.
Confrontation or acting aggressively almost never works. That seems to be the crux of the debate regarding the George Zimmerman and Trevon Martin case in Florida. Who was the aggressor and does the “Stand Your Ground” law apply? We will have to wait for the trial. If Zimmerman wasn’t carrying a weapon, there may have been a fight, but chances are no one would be dead.
Should you carry a gun on the job as an investigator? That depends on a number of factors: the state you reside in, whether you have a license and training, and the kind of job you are doing. Obviously if you work in security as executive protection, or as an armed guard, you need a weapon.
When that “big stick” is shooting out 9mm bullets at approximately 820 mph, you have to be prepared. More than anything, you need to know yourself. How will you react if something happens? Will you be able to use that gun if you need to, and keep it holstered unless it is absolutely a matter of life or death? People in law enforcement are much better prepared in the use of weapons, but if you are going to carry one, you should aspire to the same standards.
Self defense training is a plus. This kind of training may have sufficed back in the day when people weren’t armed. Check out this video from 1927 of women being trained as private investigators. The problem here again, is that going to protect you against someone who has a weapon?
Criminals have guns and they aren’t afraid to use them. Be proactive and protect yourself, your family and your employees, but be smart about it. If you own or manage a company, screen your employees. Get to know your neighbors. If you see a crime being committed, don’t just pull out your phone and take video. When that horrible thing happened in Miami, where Rudy Eugene savagely attacked Ronald Poppo, and chewed off his face, some people passed by and did nothing. Larry Vega was brave enough to stop and call police. In this case, a police officer made the decision to use his weapon to save the life of the victim. What would you have done?
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.