Just like the wealthy in my The Queen’s Blade fantasy series, one of the first things our ancestors did to protect themselves from assassination was employ armed bodyguards. Bodyguards not only act as a shield, but keep an eye out for any threats, often scouting ahead. Those who hired them had to be careful about who they employed as bodyguards, though, for divided loyalties often led to the bodyguards being the assassins. This method of defence was so effective that assassins began to use stealthier methods like poisoning. This type of assassination, too, was easily avoided by employing food tasters.
Another popular means of defence against assassination is the employment of a body double – someone who pretends to be the potential target in order to draw attention from him or her in high-risk situations, and who looks similar enough to the potential target to be mistaken for him or her.
When firearms and bombs became a more popular method of assassination, one of the first things potential targets did was increase their number of bodyguards. Large public areas where the person was due to appear were also cleared in advance, to make would-be assassins more visible.
At the dawn of the 20th century, armoured vehicles began to be used to transport important people. Today, these vehicles can save one from most small arms fire, and even small bombs and mines. Bullet-proof vests also came into use, worn mostly just for public events.
Another way of defence against possible assassination is to limit access to high-profile people by putting visitors through numerous checks before they’re allowed to see the VIP. Bomb and metal detectors are also widely used in today’s world, as are security cameras in homes and offices.
Some potential targets go as far as to isolate themselves as a way of defence – not a nice way to live, I imagine!