On October 26, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. I picked up Fabrizio Capucci, the Realiy-Based Personal Protection Director of Italy, at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport. I had flown him to my country in order for him to teach the two-day European Bodyguard seminar for faith-based organizations I had arranged months earilier.
I chose Fabrizio for these courses not only to provide my students with foreign training experience, which is almost nonexistent in Southern California, but also because Fabrizio is one of the top tactics instructors in Europe. He has provided bodyguard services for two Popes, two Italian prime ministers, French President François Mitterand, United States Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Prince Charles, and other dignitaries. Although there are plenty of bodyguard courses for police and military personnel around the world, there is nothing for faith-based organizations, and I wanted to be the first. After all, church and synagogue security teams not only protect the congregations, but also the staff and guest speakers. Learning to be a professional bodyguard requires a lot of specialized training.
On November 3, 2017 Fabrizio and I started at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park in Los Angeles. It is there that we taught together the Bodyguard Pistol course. Since we had a mixed group of people, from various churches and a synagogue, we started off with Airsoft training to see everybody’s shooting skills, and to introduce new techniques and tactics. Once we were comfortable we moved on to live-fire drills. Although it was the beginning of November, the weather was perfect throughout the day; cloudy, but keeping the temperature at a consistent 72 degrees with only a slight breeze.
During the shooting course Fabrizio taught 90% of the course, and I taught 10%. I only jumped in to explain the differences between the American and European systems from time to time. I’m glad most of the time for me was as student, because although I have taught many bodyguard courses, and I have been on many bodyguard missions (for law enforcement, the military, and privately), it gave me the opportunity to take a lot of notes on some new information Fabrizio had to offer. Like the others, I just soaked it all in.
The next day of training, November 4, 2017 was inside of a large classroom all day in Orange County teaching the Bodyguard Tactics course. Again, Fabrizio taught 90% of the course, and I taught 10%. As a “student” I took a lot of notes for myself, because Fabrizio explained things differently than I heard them from others, or there were some new things I had never heard before. For me it’s all about being the “quiet professional,” and learning as much as I can. One is never finished learning when it comes to this business.
One of my RBPP Level 3 instructors, Alex Haddox, came to the two-day seminar, and he even brought a few of his manuals Continuing Education Record books that he had written to give to the students for free. He knew that I am always pushing my students to record all training that they take for legal reasons, and he created this manual to do just this. Alex publishes the manual, along with offering other products, through his company Palladium Education, Inc.
The day after the Bodyguard seminar, Sunday, November 8, 2017 I took Fabrizio to my church where I am on the armed security team and the chief training instructor. I showed him how our team functions, and how we are going to incorporate some of the things he taught us.
Just after the church service had ended, and Fabrizio and I went out to lunch, I received a text from Alex Haddox. It read, “The FBI is on the scene of a church shooting in Texas. A witness heard about 20 shots fired during Sunday service.” I immediately went to Fox News to see what had happened, and to my horror, read that at least 20 people had been murdered at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. On Wikipedia it is now known as the Sutherland Springs church shooting.
Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, wearing tactical gear, went inside the church with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle and murdered 26 people having a church service, and wounded 20 others. Half of the dead were children, with the youngest at 18-months-old. The oldest victim was 77. A pregnant woman was also one of the fatalities. According to survivors Kelley yelled out, “Everybody dies motherf—kers!” The carnage would have been worse had it not been for a neighbor, a National Rifle Association instructor, who came out and shot Kelley. The suspect was wounded and fled the scene in his car. “It takes a good man with a gun to stop a bad man with a gun.”
The neighbor chased Kelley in a high-speed car chase, and Kelley eventually crashed. He then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. He didn’t have the guts enough to fight it out with armed citizens or the police.
Kelley had a disturbing violent past. He had been arrested for beating up his girlfriend, his stepson, and even for cruelty to animals. He had been kicked out of the U.S. Air Force and had been fired from his security guard job after less than six weeks of working. Just prior to the shooting he had sent text message to his girlfriend’s mother. Some will label this murder as mentally disturbed, but I believe my description is more accurate – demon possessed. How can any human being come up to a child, point a gun in their face, and pull the trigger? How could any human being to it to any innocent person? It is pure evil.
Of course, the political left immediately called for more “gun control,” and some even mocked those who were praying for the victims and the families. Yet, just six days earlier radical Islamic extremist Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov, 26, murdered 8 people and wounded 11 purposely driving over people with a rental truck (vehicle ramming attack) and nobody called for “truck control.” This, of course, was the 2017 Lower Manhattan attack.
Trucks and guns are merely tools. A pressure cooker is merely a tool. The problem with today’s violence is not the tools, but those using the tools. The problem is in the heart.
Unfortunately, senseless violence all across the world is getting worse. It certainly is in my country. As such, the best thing I can do is to keep on training in Reality-Based Personal Protection, maintain my situational awareness at all times, and be ready to fight or survive at all times.
Not afraid to live life because of evil
On the night of October 1, 2017 I placed a note on the back of my front door to remind me of what I had to do the following day. I had written, CALL MANDALAY BAY. I wanted to make reservations at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada for me and Fabrizio Capucci, my RBPP Director of Italy, in order to show him around before our scheduled two-day Bodyguard seminar. I chose Mandalay Bay because of their fantastic swimming pools and good location on The Strip.
Before turning in for the night I decided to turn on the news for a few minutes. To my shock an unknown man was shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel with fully automatic weapons onto the crowd below who were attending the
Route 91 Harvest music festival. I knew a few people in Las Vegas, and so I was very concerned for their safety when watching the war-like images being transmitted.
The shooting that took place in Las Vegas is now known as the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, and indirectly it touched my life.
1. One of my wife’s coworkers was injured while jumping from a fence trying to flee from the kill zone. She was not shot, but hurt herself when she hit the ground.
2. My friend Brian had one of his coworkers shot in the back twice, but fortunately both bullets missed his vital organs and his spine.
3. My friend Jordan lost her best friend’s mother who was shot in the head.
4. One of my former soldiers in my military unit, James, was across the street at the next hotel and immediately went to his car in the parking structure to get to his weapons and get away.
5. Butch Pierson, one of my students who attended both days at the Bodyguard seminar, received a phone call from his daughter who was attending the music festival, and she was in the kill zone. While she was talking Butch could hear the automatic fire over the phone. He told me, “I remember the sniper drill you taught me, ‘I’m up, he sees me, I’m down,’ and I told my daughter to run for three seconds the moment the firing stops, and then get to cover, and to keep doing it until she was safe.” This advice not only saved his daughter, but her two friends who were with her.
6. Another one of my students, Sami Eskelun, was not at the attack when it happened, but the next day went to volunteer his time to help feed first responders.
To this day the authorities do not know the motive as to why 64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed 58 innocent people and wounded 515 others. This was the worse active shooter (sniper) incident in United States history.
Before the Bodyguard seminars I took Fabrizio and his wife to Las Vegas, and yes, we stayed in Mandalay Bay. I knew that security would be beefed up, and I was right. Therefore, we felt very safe there. We spent the night there on October 29, 2017; a week before the Texas church shooting. The next day we spent most of the day at the hotel enjoying the pool and food, and by the evening we were at our new hotel, Redfeather Hotel, five miles from Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. On the morning of October 5, 2017, Halloween, we visited one of the most beautiful places on earth. The weather could not have been better.
Fabrizio and his wife spent 13 days with me. The two-day Bodyguard seminar was a success, and we enjoyed a vacation together. On October 7, 2017 I drove them back to LAX where they headed back home. The next day I received a text from a church in Southern California requesting me to train them.
BE A HARD TARGET
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2018 All rights reserved.