Bodyguards and the undead dilemma…


This last weekend the long awaited movie version of Max Brook’s post-apocalyptic World War Z finally came to the big screen.  If you have ever been around my team, you know that this book was almost required reading (at least as an unwritten rule).  During advance work, many a conversation has been started by “The Dane” at a coffee house, or over an ale in [insert foreign country here] which started with the simple question, “What would you do if the Z war kicked off, during this detail?

The modern genre phenomenon involving Zombies can be traced back to George Romero’s 1968 movie “The Night of The Living Dead.”  This film brought us to terms with an unrecognizable foe who neither thought like us nor reacted to any preplanned courses of actions.  In other words, the undead-as-a-foe represents the ultimate asymmetric aggressor to any critical planning we have.


Romero would go on to produce other entries into his world and, as a result, the movies came to be more social commentaries and exposition about human nature, with the zombies providing the backdrop. One only needs to watch any season of AMC’s The Walking Dead” to see this evolution.

Brooks also carried this idea forward in his works and suggested many underlying themes in his book regarding, politics, overutilization of technology by the military and base human nature.  But, as Executive practitioners and crisis management strategists, the genre is viewed more as “the ultimate preparedness exercise.”

This idea of preparedness has grown into its own cottage industry with magazines, books and even associations dedicated to the idea of being ready, within a façade of the undead genre.   The CDC has even capitalized on the move by using zombies to educate the masses (


Zombies and the Executive Protection Industry!?!?

Practitioners of the Tao of Executive Protection pride themselves in being ready and prepared in all situations.  Go into any establishment that houses off-duty contractors or bodyguards and you can listen in on conversations about go-bags which can last into the wee hours of the morning or hear (at nauseam) discussions about why equipment X beats equipment Y… We take this stuff pretty seriously, folks 😉 .

So, with this in mind, it is no surprise that taking something completely alien to the formula, only causes the brain to work around the issues more:  “If I had to get out, If I had a limited supply of X, If my client had medical issues, If I had to get to a plane, If we needed to pick a safe haven, If we needed to hold up,” If…If….If…… the true test of any course of action development truly starts within the “If” statement.

The baseline for Executive Protection activity is housed within our ability to conduct the “advance.”  Understanding the schedule, the threat and the players helps us formulate strategies, response and counter-response activities to help keep our clients safe and to keep momentum forward.  Our slice of the security sector prides itself on this ability and, often, it is a skill practitioners’ feel separates them from the rest of the industry.  With all this activity, though, comes the anticipation of “What If.”  Don’t get me wrong, nobody wishes for an Attack on Principal (AOP), or for undo harm to come to those we are charged to protect, but we still ask the question “What If?”.  The extension of this into the ultimate black swan element, involving a mass of undead who do not care, think, nor react as you plan is just another way to look at your situation and ask yourself, “ Are we ready?

So, after you see the movie (I will reserve any critical reviews and comparisons to the book) my challenge to you is this; say you’re sitting with a group of friends: Dan, Kellen, Arlyne, Dana, Kelsey and Kira…ask them the question, “What would we do if it kicked off…right now?”  The yielded responses will not only be lively, but telling.

Zombie Caution

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About Chuck Randolph

Security Leader and Strategic Thinker. I'm focused on driving new ideas and keeping positive momentum in the industry out there. I'm a world traveler and adventurer. Join in and keep the conversation going.

6 responses to “Bodyguards and the undead dilemma…”

  1. David Vey says :

    Nice Article Chuck. I’m going to see WWZ this weekend. I’ll let you know what I think. It’s one of the movies that I’ve long been waiting to see.

  2. Geoff says :

    Hi Chuck Great article – if you are interested there is a great game in this Genre called “The Last of Us” this game is all about surviving in a city with limited supplies and lots of Zombies the good thing about this one is it makes you think about what is at your disposal and how and when you should use your supplies. check out…

  3. Sheila Bigelow says :

    I agree that I’m not convinced that Max Brooks would be thrilled with the movie, but I can’t make a personal judgement yet as I haven’t seen the movie. What I find interesting is how the theme in literature turns to “what if?” and “how do I survive?”, every time the economy tanks. You’re hard pressed to find any YA literature that doesn’t deal with “what if? ” in some dark way, and “how do I survive? “. Super volcano erupting (Ashfall by Mike Mullin), zombie apocalypse (World War Z, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, and many more!), polar ice caps melting, environmentally caused amazing psychic abilities (Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken) etc. Although, not much in the atomic war category, like I remember reading in the 70’s, i.e. Z Is For Zachariah by Robert O’Brien. To further encourage the “be prepared” mentality, I scheduled a survivalist to do a teen program next week at our library. Check him and his book out (although probably not much in the book you’re not already familiar with, LOL.) : Creek Stewart, author of “Build the Perfect Bug-out Bag”

    • chuckrandolph says :

      Thanks for the comment and all the book references. I recall Z is for Zachariah! Looking at Stewart’s website now… very interesting! Stay Prepared and keep your head down!

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