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Self Defense/What is the life expectancy of a professional assassin in today's time?


One of my favorite video game series is "Hitman",if you are not familiar with the game,the simple summary is its about a professional assassin. It has spawned many games and is an ongoing series but in real life,how long does the typical assassin stay in business? and how often are the clients(who hired said assassin)discovered/caught? Im guessing it all depends how skilled/competent the assassin is(and the client's ability to keep his mouth shut of course)but since you know a great deal about crime and violence,how much do you know about this?

One of the best summations I heard was from a mafioso.: The idea of a hitman is a myth. You don't have some guy sitting alone in a room waiting for the phone to ring. You have people in your crew who don't mind doing wetwork.

In other words the guys are busy doing other things, then called upon for special assignments. I've since found out that also applies to Special Forces. Target interdiction specialists spend most of their time trying to figure out who the players are, what they're doing and where they are.

These are shall we say 'internal affairs' most of the time.

What is the most common ways things are contracted from outside sources is is ... well let's call them inside the biz. Let's say there's three gangs. Someone in group A has a beef with someone in group B and it's well known both to other gangs AND to the police. The guy from A has 'friends' in gang C (which is in another city). He calls C and they send some people over. People who don't mind wetwork. Then when A is sitting in plain view, surrounded by witnesses and under security cameras, B is taken out. Then the guys from C drive home. Two points about this. One: A has a completely secure alibi for both cops and B's friends. Two: A now has a reciprocal obligation to C to help out in the same way at a future date.

Now this is a dirty business and if someone gets whacked, it's usually over something other than a killing. If you watch the movie "Casino" -- about the rise and fall of the Mob in Vegas -- you see the killings at the end weren't about past murders, but staying out of prison. Same with "Bugsy" he'd fucked up with money.

That is professionals and they are seldom caught.

Were things turn amateur hour is murder by proxy among civilians. And yeah this is where amateurs go down.

One of the things that Dr. Helen Smith  ( ) pointed out is we do NOT know how many murders are 'contracted' by women on their husbands/boyfriends/family. Basically find an idiot, either promise to or suck his dick and send him to kill the guy she wants dead -- then if the guy gets caught deny her involvement.  Pursuant to this idea, I did a little informal research. I contacted 'this guy I know' and had him ask 'these guys he knows' how many times they'd been approached by women. Between 11 of them, they recalled being approached by women 64 times to murder someone for the women. The payment forms were always the same (either single or in combination)
1 - sex
2- life insurance money (yeah right, working on spec)
3- them

The last one is just special. Kill my husband and we'll run off together. "Can you say 'black widow' boys and girls?"  These professionals turned the jobs down. But odds are these women found some violent amateur to take the job.  What their 'success rate' was is unknown.

Now where things get really hazy and dirty are with political assassinations and high profile stuff. In that case you often get fall guys and second teams assigned to remove the first team. (For example did you know in many big 'suicide bomber' jobs the driver of the van was just supposed to park the van and walk away? What he didn't know was there was a second team that had a remote detonator. He wasn't planning on being a suicide bomber. This often comes about because suicide bombers are known to chicken out at the last second.)

So there's no real simple answer to the question you ask. There's a lot of 'it depends on...' factors

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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