Take a swing at Robb Hamic and the president of Summit Security & Investigation will slap your fist away like it’s a housefly before slamming his knuckles into your liver.
Then he’ll lace his fingers around your skull, pull your face into his shoulder and begin hammering you in the calves, stomach and groin with his knees like a dancing Soviet soldier from a cartoon.
Even then he’s not done. Step three in this exercise of “Fierce Israeli Guerilla Hand-to-Hand Combat Tactics,” or FIGHT, pioneered by Hamic’s mentor Mike Lee Kanarek, is literally a step. He stomps on your ankle. Crunch, snap. Now you’re done.
“The only way to overcome violence is with a greater degree of violence,” Hamic says as he demonstrates the “Haganah” technique in the practice studio at the back of his Albuquerque headquarters. The statement is discordant with his otherwise serene presence: He’s an unimposing vegan with sad Little Boy Blue eyes.
Hamic’s company provides training on these techniques to everyone from law enforcement officers to community groups. But combat fighting isn’t Hamic’s only weapon. His blog, which he launched in May 2008, is where he really tries to inflict damage on his enemies: other private security companies and the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department, the state agency that oversees them.
There are nearly 7,000 security guards licensed in New Mexico and 181 registered companies, each its own paramilitary organization complete with ranks, badges, uniforms and, often, firearms. These guards protect everything from convenience stores to apartment complexes to federal facilities.
Hamic’s documentation is enough to make anyone feel insecure. He claims many of the licensed operators should have their licenses revoked and that unlicensed security companies get free passes from the RLD.
His blog is a chaotic mix of surveillance photos, phone call recordings, documents and online records. He outs companies that don’t pay workers’ compensation, posts mug shots of felons he alleges have been hired illegally as security guards and has camera phone pictures of guards smoking pot on the job.
Hamic has a special grudge against one company in particular, Legit Security, which up until recently held contracts in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos. On his blog, Hamic accuses its principals of numerous crimes, and is keeping his magnifying glass trained on them as they face mounting legal cases and possible criminal prosecution.
Hamic claims he’s cleaning up the industry and argues that law-abiding security companies shouldn’t have to compete with companies operating outside the law. His critics say Hamic’s methods are underhanded, dubious and motivated strictly by profit.
RLD Superintendent Kelly O’Donnell acknowledges unlicensed companies are a problem in New Mexico. But she’s willing to trade punches with Hamic when it comes to his accusations that the Private Investigations Advisory Board, the RLD division that oversees security companies, is asleep on the job.
“I think this board has enhanced the overall professionalism of the industry, which sometimes attracts a sort of individual who might otherwise eschew formal guidelines for conduct and behavior,” O’Donnell says. “But, I’d like to make the point that the criticism of this agency’s administration of the board has come almost solely from one individual.”
Besides, she says, it’s not the department’s job to referee the market competition.
“It starts to feel like a school yard war,” O’Donnell says.