Security guards

 - 
02/11/2008
After going out for dinner on my own last night for the first time, I wanted to post quickly about the role of security guards here. See the people in the bright yellow/green vests here, standing outside the bus station? They're security guards, and they're everywhere here, posted at the door to almost every restaurant, outside every major gathering place, etc. They're working for private security firms, mostly, and they're almost universally about 22-24 years old. Why? Because most of them are students, recently discharged from the military. The theory here is that students are wasted as baristas and waitstaff, since they have the cognitive ability to profile people and question them correctly, and they have a dedication and regimen stemming from their military service. They're also often immigrants, looking to show their patriotism and dedication to the country. This is possible because security guards are valued members of society here, not "rent-a-cops." Though I guess they're not necessarily paid well, but that's less of an issue because the cost of higher education is less and they have universal health care. Can you imagine military men in the United States returning from Iraq and working as mall security? I can't, but they'd be perfect for it, right? The other major difference between security guards here and at home is that security guards here receive an enormous amount of training, and are constantly "red-teaming," which is what they call testing vulnerabilities. On as often as a daily basis, higher ups will try to smuggle something in, or lie to a guard, or surveil an area, checking to see whether security will catch them. This is something almost never done in the United States, and it's partly because of the fear of failure, I think. Oh no, if my boss gets something by me, I'll be fired! That's not the intent here. It's simply to check vulnerabilities. If someone fails, they're given more training. If the system fails, they fix the system. It's all to a common purpose. One other thing. Notice that security here is always outside the building they want to protect. They don't let people in, then check to see if they have a bomb. Think about that.