In two historic neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan, Dale Brown, owner of the private-hire security firm Detroit Threat Management Center, and filmmaker Rachel Yezbick patrol to deter crime.  In a Hummer and tactical, military gear, Brown signals to a man driving on a private drive to pull over. Before approaching the vehicle, Brown grabs his iPad and begins recording the interaction. As a private-hire security guard, he does not have the authority to detain the unauthorized vehicle, so he uses his chosen military aesthetic to invoke the authority he desires. This extensive apparatus is the hallmark of Brown’s personal philosophy on the power of surveillance and tactical psychology to deter crime, employing de-escalation tactics and defensive martial arts to “deter, detect and defend corporations and communities from both internal and external threats.”1

The film is organized around a dialogue between Yezbick and Brown recorded in Brown’s tactical Hummer during a neighborhood surveillance ride-along, a neighborhood where Yezbick’s parents live. Echoing the form of a Socratic dialogue, the conversation veers from family and regional histories to religious practices, the root of evil, moral beliefs, and understandings of human nature. Interspersed are shots of found footage including base jumping and protests, along with Brown’s own footage of patrolling, officer training, and victim testimonials. Also included are 3D renders of a bust of the artist and the exterior of a house produced using photogrammetry (a military, forensic, and video game photo mapping technology). 2

Epicurus’ Conundrum delves deep into the psyche of a region fraught with racial and economic strife by looking at the coping strategies of one man and his attempts to make sense of the horrid wrongs of the past. How do we atone for societal wrongs that have been left to fester? Brown’s reply to this assertion is embedded in the militarized mechanisms he employs. Reframing the threat invoked in the title of Brown’s company, Detroit Threat Management Center, Yezbick creates an intimate look at the extensive internal disciplinary logic of Brown’s  philosophy as a means for combating the proverbial threat that lies within.