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EP Pretenders

By Jared Van Driessche and Christian West


In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for a very long time, 2020 was the year of the pandemic. And guess what? 2021 is shaping up to be year two of the pandemic.

Despite a tremendous amount of bad press, the pandemic has actually been good for some things. Did you know, for example, that the U.S. is experiencing the biggest chicken wing glut in its history? Whether you’re a chicken or just really into bayou BBQ sauce, that’s got to be good for something. Or what about places like Colorado, where it took 95 years to make marijuana legal but just a few months of COVID to make weed essential to human survival?

Now that we’re not traveling or meeting friends at Wingstop, we’ve all been spending more time online than ever before. This increase in online activity has been great for a lot of things, too, especially if you own a lot of shares in major tech companies or are an EP Pretender.

What, you say, why has all this extra time online been good for EP Pretenders? Well, it seems that a whole lot of people have spent their online time to ramp up their EP Pretender game.

So, what is an EP Pretender?

Here’s our definition:

An EP Pretender is someone pretends to be an executive protection professional but isn’t. You can identify them by any number of traits and online inanities, including:

  • Wearing a badge that says “Executive Protection Agent”
  • Taking selfies in the mirror with “cool” tactical gear. Imagine the quotation marks around “cool” are, like, 72pt font, bold, and sound like clown shoes look
  • Posting photos of themselves on coverage with their principals, and managing to get oh-so-casually into media photos with them
  • Claiming only to work as “solo agents”
  • Using absurd tough guy or animal names, like Shadow, Wolf, Razor, 2guns. Save that for when you get your career started in the WWE.
  • Posting photos of private jets and fancy cars with something like “just another day at the office”. Douchey? Yes. Classy? No.
  • Telling other pretenders that they only go on details if they can carry a gun

  • Not knowing how to do an advance report
  • Bragging about the tactical 69 (because this number is funny) shotgun courses. Guess what? No one takes you seriously when your resume is 3 pages long with 2.5 pages of your certifications.
  • Not having a passport or being able to locate Amsterdam, Atlanta, or Africa on a map
  • Knowing all about EP because they did it in the military.
  • Only eating meat because “it’s all about the gains, bro”
  • Being the guy that can’t ever smile in photos or even pretend to be regular person. We get it. You’re a tough guy and also a colossal troglodyte.
  • Trying to be friends with their principals
  • Liking all their principals’ photos on social media
  • Complaining that everyone is holding them back when they don’t get the details they think are the coolest
  • Moving from a residential team to an EP detail on one day, and talking down to his ex-colleagues on the residential team the next
  • Paying for a five-day EP course after college or the military, and then not understanding why they’re not on a private jet with the boss on the way to Nairobi
  • Being convinced that because they were a contractor in Iraq five years ago, they’re qualified to do EP (Hint: They’re different jobs that require different skill sets – you don’t see us applying for Blackwater type jobs, do you? That’s because we aren’t qualified, and we know it.)

Enough already, EP Pretenders 

If we had to pick one category that really pisses us off, it would be anything that involves the principal. Let’s be very clear about that part: you are potentially putting someone’s life in danger, which is the complete opposite of what you’re supposedly good at. How is that hard to get? If this little rant means we put a stop to this trend forever, then the hurt feelings and ruffled feathers will be worth it.

OK, so let’s get back to that rant:

If you’ve done the job and you’re good at it, then you really don’t need to remind everyone about how cool you are. If you really have “been there and done that,” then everyone already knows who you are based on your merits. Just checking: When you keep telling us you’re awesome, is that because you’re flirting with us?  We don’t think your #winning attitude will get you laid in any capacity, and we don’t understand your mindset.

Do you really have to comment every possible LinkedIn post to broadcast your 20 years’ experience and the 60 countries you’ve traveled to? When you claim to have worked in 60 countries, our guess is that you’ve probably been to six. Of those, four were trips to Cancun (for spring break, of course) and one was to Belgium with a three-hour layover in London on the way. That adds up to two countries, Mexico, and Belgium. Your transit in Heathrow doesn’t count as an additional country. No matter how much admin work you put in while in the airport lounge, assuming your EP pretender ass had enough points to get in! Umm, pretty sure both are kind of exaggerated.

Sometimes it feels like the world is filled with these masterminds. Like every bar-bouncing, red-blooded, certified tough guy is now an executive protection pro. If you don’t believe us, just follow the hashtags #closeprotection, #executiveprotection, #bodyguard and #celebrityprotection and you will see the most asinine photos ever. You can’t make this stuff up.

How many of these guys are flashing noticeably big guns for questionable reasons? How many are taking gym selfies run through five million filters, sharing dubious wisdom, and ultimately endangering their clients? The answer: A lot. Too many.

We use the word “guy” here for a reason:  we don’t see many of our female EP practitioner colleagues bullshitting the way their tough-guy male counterparts do.

EP Pretenders are not helping our industry

To be blunt, we’re done with it. We’re not trying to diss bouncers or other security folks. Why would we, when both of us got our start in security by bouncing? But you wouldn’t want a nurse or a GP who pretends they’re a surgeon, would you? They’re all medical professionals, and they all have specific skills and training, but you’d only trust one of them when it comes to pulling off a triple bypass, yeah? Same logic applies to the security industry and EP. We want people to own what they do as much as what they don’t. There’s zero shame in being a nurse, just like there’s zero shame in bouncing. Just don’t pretend to be Frank Farmer from The Bodyguard when you’re actually Ronnie from Observe and Report or Paul Bart of Mall Cop fame.

But we don’t want to only rant about this. While it is fun to call out some people (hi!), we also wanted to give everyone a few hints of what EP Pretenders may look like. If you feel targeted, you may want to ask yourself some serious questions, and reassess the messages you’re sending out. If you recognize an EP Pretender in the field, you may want to ask them some serious questions. If we all get in on this, we can stop the pretending and make the industry better.

Anyway, now that we got that off our chest: what do you think? What are we missing? Send us your thoughts and please send and or tag us in photos @ep-ramblers on Instagram (#EPpretender & #EPrambers) of examples that you find out in the world of social media so we can comment on and post them!

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