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Munich Psychologist Georg Sieber, a well-known security consultant in Europe, is not much impressed by gadgetry or bodyguards. Among his tips for worried businessmen: "planned irregularity" should be the byword; avoid golf and activities that attract big gatherings, like horse races; carry a small transmitter for SOS messages in emergencies. In the U.S. the most basic advice that security firms give to potential targets in industry is to keep a low profile: do not talk to the press or become a public figure, get out of the phone book, no names on company parking spots and no logos on company cars and planes. Tony Purbrick, who heads Pinkerton's executive and personnel protection program, was aghast to find that one client corporation routinely left its well-marked jet on an unguarded ramp and flight plans were widely circulated. "The first thing I had to do," he says, "was to get people to be just a little more secretive."
At some personal cost in convenience, private citizens can change their life-styles to acquire greater security. The problem is considerably different for public figures, except in such well-disciplined police states as China or the Soviet Union, where leaders appear in public only on state occasions. No elected President or Prime Minister could behave that aloofly and expect to win a second term. The courageous and the fatalistic among leaders will always take risks, but in certain small ways these can be minimized. New lightweight bulletproof vests should be worn. Open-car travel must stop. The public should be kept well back from entrances and exits most recent assassination attempts have been from pointblank range. "There is no way you can provide complete protection," says one American security expert. "But you can give a subject protection from 15 feet away. The farther away you keep an assailant, the harder it becomes for him.''
By John Leo. Reported by Robert L. Goldstein/Los Angeles and Wanda Menke-Glückert/Bonn,with other bureaus.
* The woman was right. Police recovered a Belgian-made Browning 9-mm semiautomatic pistol, similar to a 38-cal. gun, flung away by the would-be killer after the shooting. *A strange charge to hurl at the present Pope, though the historical memory of the Crusades still rankles among some Muslims. They were military expeditions from Christian Europe aimed at reconquering the Palestinian shrines of Jesus' life from their Islamic occupiers. The First Crusade was inspired by Pope Urban II in 1095, and his successors encouraged several more. But the eighth and last Crusade ended in 1270, more than 700 years before John Paul II assumed the papacy.