Dana Priest of the Washington Post recently reported that bodyguards have become common even inside the Pentagon, which is itself ringed by guards. “‘You can’t find a four-star general without a security detail,’” she quoted a three-star general as saying. The three-star general explained, ‘If he has one, then I have to have one. It’s become a status symbol.’”
This supports … [my] contention that nearly all bodyguards supplied to federal, state and even local officials at taxpayer expense are not present to provide safety — they are present to make the official seem more important.
…violent crime is in a generation-long cycle of decline. The bodyguards for public officials are strictly to make them seem important, plus allow them to double-park, cut in line, speed in traffic and so on.
This strikes me as a very effective status signal. If you see someone surrounded by a security detail, you naturally think that they must be important. I’d love to see a study that examined whether having a security detail really increases safety.