The Size of Their Toys

COPEX separates the men from the boys

Robots are about the only product that DEFEX, an exhibitor with offices in Madrid, Singapore, and Dubai, does not retail. Instead they promote and export a wide range of Spanish-made defense products from their roomy, well-lit, self-contained booth that looked more like a modular office suite than a booth at a trade show. They specialize in security installations for public buildings, offices, and factories, encompassing perimeter protection (never let your enemies penetrate your perimeter, but just in case they do, make sure you have protection), interior detection equipment (infrared, microwave, closed-circuit TV), and computerized integrated access control systems. Should these somehow fail, they also market an impressive array of bomb disposal suits, bulletproof clothing, police and military helmets, riot shields and truncheons, handcuffs, leather accessories (bridging that nettlesome gap between S&M and counterinsurgency), and gas masks. Finally, for really persistent invaders (Jehovah's Witnesses, for example), DEFEX can supply you with water cannons, high-speed patrol boats, back-pack commando mortars, portable grenade launchers, assault rifles, hand grenades, demolition bags, and the ever-popular explosive hoses. DEFEX can also help you arrange convenient financing. (This last is important, because traditional lending institutions tend to view people loading up on hand grenades, assault rifles, and mortars as questionable long-term credit risks.)

Big Brother Security and Surveil-lance was on hand with its global monitoring system that enables you to watch, listen to, and communicate with your designated locations around the world via telephone or radio link. If all that monitoring pisses somebody off, they also handle a full line of Zizzo bulletproof fashion garments. Custom fitted, super-discreet, and offering 9mm protection, Zizzo provides the security-conscious fashion plate a wide range of stylish outerware, from leather bomber jackets with ranch mink lining to tuxedo coats and windbreakers. For a mere $80,000 you can turn heads and repel slugs in a Kevlar-lined sable coat.

The Bondurant high-performance driving school people had a booth, but their presence seemed superfluous, as anyone who successfully navigated Miami traffic to get to COPEX is probably already qualified to serve as a Bondurant instructor. A newsletter put out by the school features a cover story written by training director Calvin O. Frye. Entitled "Carjacking Resolved," the article includes the usual tips, such as keeping windows rolled up, doors locked, and valuables hidden, as well as some unexpected pearls of wisdom: "Be particularly alert for people loitering or watching you or other vehicles. If anyone pays specific attention to you and your vehicle, do not avoid eye contact. Demonstrate your vigilance to any would-be assailant. Should you observe an open display of aggression, such as committing movement toward you, then carry out the planned response. As your attacker approaches, drive aggressively toward him. Feign that you intend to run him down. Physiologically and psychologically this forces your assailant into a defensive rather than offensive posture, and helps insure your escape." (Window washers, you've been warned.)

If, for some reason, your Bondurant training does not pay off and your attacker catches up to you, you'll want to make sure you've armored your vehicle. A handful of firms vied for the privilege of bullet- and bomb-proofing your car, truck, or RV. Most of their displays featured squares of glass or armor that looked like they were lifted from the Bonnie and Clyde death car, to graphically demonstrate how effectively they stop a variety of high-caliber bullets. At Executive Armoring Corp., they can armor your Pathfinder against .38 caliber slugs and smaller for $45,000. But you'll probably want to pony up the additional $20,000 and get the deluxe, Level Four protection package, which repels 7.62 NATO rifle fire, and includes steel-reinforced doors, Kevlar upholstery, and ballistic nylon ceiling lining (good for snagging those stray bomb fragments).

Canadian Body Armour, American Body Armor, Dowty Armourshield, Point Blank Body Armor, and Specialty Plastic Products all peddled radically upgraded versions of the hopelessly outmoded bulletproof vest. And should the worst happen, Medical Plastics Laboratory offered a new, improved Victim Injury Set to teach you how to treat those sucking chest wounds. It contains simulated plastic bullet holes, lacerations, and assorted other traumas designed with Velcro for easy application and detachment to their basic array of CPR "manikins." For added realism, plastic blood splats and liquid stage blood are included at no extra charge.

GES Electronics manufactures tie-clip cameras ("She said the man in the gaberdine suit was a spy...") and incredibly sensitive bugs and transmitters to help you keep tabs on your enemies. Their salesman eagerly explained how he can build a virtually undetectable indoor satellite radio receiver for use in countries where access to even primitive radios is proscribed. (As long as you don't have an aluminum roof.) Special Surveillance Products Inc. produces "Midniteyes," which is not a movie starring Tanya Roberts but rather an ultra-low-light color camcorder. Hiatt-Thompson's extended tri-hinge "Big Guys" handcuffs with the fifteen percent larger shackle diameter and the 120mm separation between body and shackles make them ideal for use "where extra leverage is really needed."

Pressed for time? Flummoxed by the wide range of security options available? Unable to decide which ones are right for you? Plenty of security consulting outfits were there to come to your aid. Arthur "Mick" Donahue, president of Security Management International, a personable sort with the look of a man who has seen it all, has been involved in intelligence work for 35 years, and has done tours of duty in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America. He even worked on the Iranian hostage rescue mission. Some of his co-workers labored in computer security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, or served in the Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Special Forces. Donahue's company helps foreign governments and multinational corporations design security, counterterrorism, crisis management, and border access control systems. They are specialists in the field of exploiting captured computer systems and analyzing seized databases.

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