Archive for February, 2010

Logic

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 by Jay

One of the principal arguments of the antis is “Why have a gun when the police are there to protect you?”.

My rebuttal to that argument will no longer be about response times of police officers in my area. No, I’m going to be impolite and answer their question with another question: Why do you own a fire extinguisher when you have the fire department to protect you?

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Texas Gun Blog Round up!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2010 by Jay

Yes, I came up with the corniest name on purpose.

I’m going to be off on Friday, and want to call around my area and the Austin area to see what I can find out the possibility of getting this set up.

Yes, my grandparent’s place is out. With the rain (and subsequent mud) and the hogs, the pasture is all tore up and pretty much inaccessible and wouldn’t be a good place to hang out.

But before I spend the day calling every place imaginable…

How many people can we reasonably expect? Obviously it should be open to both bloggers and readers. I know there is a difference between people saying “sure I’ll be there” and people actually registering, but a good guess would help when I call. 20? 30? 100?

Rifle and pistol range or pistol only? I’d love to have it where we could shoot both (since I’ve never shot an AR), but we’d cutting out a lot of places in the process.

Academy, pt 2

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2010 by Jay

As a continuation of the previous bleg, I’m looking at why anti’s believe cops should be the only ones to have firearms, and the logic of why they are wrong.

The previous bleg in a nutshell is the requirements to start the police academy aren’t that hard, and while a LEO may have hundreds and hundreds of hours of training, only a handful or so actually deal with firearms and their usage.

Now, antis love to say that “police officers are trained by the government (or other organization here) to carry a firearm”. Simply put, this isn’t the truth. When I was in the Academy, I wasn’t trained by people who worked for the State or Federal government. The same for other Academies else where. Even in city run departments, the instructors are employed by the city, not the State or Federal gov.

What you have is a situation where an Academy has certified instructors to teach the Cadets. These instructors are certified by TCLEOSE to run an Academy. The instructors could be employed by anyone, from a municipal police department to a private college.

Now, let’s look at other positions and licenses that allow you to carry firearms.

First, I’ll start with a hunting permit. It’s the easiest of the 3. You go up, buy your license, and you can hunt in Texas. What does this mean? Your allowed to carry a firearm and legally shoot animals per the rules and regulations (like hunting seasons, etc). Now, it does have it limitations as to where you can carry, which is pretty much only where you are going to be hunting.

Next, we have Level III security guards. To become a Level III security guard, you have to go through a weekend training class followed by firearms qualification. It’s a simple background check, similar to the 4473 checks, and no psychological exam. As a Level III security guard, you are authorized to OPEN CARRY where your security company is allowed to operate. However, it is open carry only. A Level III security guard certification won’t allow you to carry concealed. So, if you’re a Level III and working an apartment complex, you can’t leave the property of said apartment complex. Now, Level IIIs do come with some major stipulations, such as you can’t legally force anyone to leave a place where they legally can be, you can’t detain people, you can’t demand verification of I.D., so forth and so on. Basically, you stand there and look cool with a pistol strapped to your belt. When it comes to shooting situations, it’s similar to CHL holders, which is only in defense of yourself or others. Like LE academies, you aren’t taught by the government but by someone who is certified to teach you.

Lastly, is the CHL, or Concealed Handgun License. It’s easy as well. The training lasts a day, followed by qualification. You can legally carry where you want, except for designated restricted places. You can carry concealed only, no open carry.

So, with those 3, like a police officer, you are licensed and/or certified by the Government of the State of Texas to carry a firearm. Yes, antis, all 3, 4 including LEO, are licenses and/or certification given by the State of Texas.

A cop is licensed by the state to carry a firearm.

A hunter is licensed by the state to carry a firearm.

A CHL holder is licensed by the state to carry a firearm.

A Level III security guard is licensed by the state to carry a firearm.

Where is the difference between a cop and a CHL? You can argue training, but as I’ve already said previously, little time actually deals with firearms. You can argue psychological examination. However, as proven in the past, psych exams aren’t foolproof. They can be beaten and fool even some of the best in the psych field. You could argue firearms qualification, but the last time I checked, a CHL’s qualification is harder than that of a LEO.

That is why I push for less carry restrictions for CHL holders. Because in the end, there isn’t any real difference at all.

Music and Police Academies

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 by Jay

A bit of nice listening to get you amped up for the work day. I present to you, Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple:

I personally love the early metal of the 60s and 70s, stuff like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They symbolize what Ozzy Osborne said as “music for the working man, its simple…”, which, it really is simple compared to some of the stuff of today. And when there is something a little out there, like the triplets “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” with the upstrumming from the lead guitar, it really gets the heart going and the head moving.

Anyway, enough with music. Antis often say LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers, a.k.a. cops or police officers) should be the only people to carry and use firearms. Now, to become a LEO, there are several restrictions and guidelines you have to meet first. Now, these are the absolute minimum you have to meet. There can be more depending on how you want to complete the Academy, but more on that later on.

First, you must not be a felon, have a Class A misdemeanor, a Class B misdemeanor within the last 10 years, or have a history of violence, meaning you can’t have a bunch of charges (whether dropped or not) of like domestic violence, assault, etc.

Second, you must have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED with 12 hours of college credit from an accredited college or university.

Third, you must be able to pass a basic physical (like a doctor’s physical, not a PT test) and a drug screen.

Now, as I said earlier, there are several ways you can complete the Academy. The first way, is through a large department that offers their own Academy, like Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio. To get into one of those Academies, there are a lot of steps you have to complete. These vary from department to department, but are largely the same. In addition to the above basic minimum,

  1. You take a test to rank yourself against the others applying. It’s a simple service exam, and is a little different from department to department. If you have 2 years of active military experience, you get +5 points OR if you have 2 years of police experience as a certified Peace Officer (Corrections doesn’t count as experience), you get +5 points. Note, points don’t stack, so if you’ve done both, you only get 5 points. Generally, 70 is passing and you will go on to the next phase. If you get below a 70, you will have to wait and test again.
  2. Once you’ve passed, it’s on to the background check. Now, background checks are very, VERY thorough. A Background Investigator (BI) I talked to said he would take my 5 friend (non-relative) references and visit them, or if they were too far away, call them. Then he’d asked those references for names and numbers of other people who know me well, and call and talk to those people. He’d visit my previous places of employment, talk to not only my former boss, but co-workers too. He said one time, he actually sat outside of a building for a work shift to end, and when it ended, he walked around the parking lot showing the guy’s picture to workers asking if they knew them. He’d visit or call previous landlords and apartment managers, visit neighbors, etc. When I applied to the San Marcos Police Department, the Background Investigation document I had to fill out was a whopping 68 pages long.
  3. If you pass the Background check, then you go through a physical fitness test. For some odd reason, most departments like to use some form of the Cooper Standards. The Cooper standards rank you based on stuff like 1.5 mile timed run, 300 meter timed run, push ups in a minute, sit ups in a minute, vertical jump height. I say odd, because they really aren’t a true measure of how fit someone is. I was in great shape during the Academy, but I always had trouble doing the 1.5 mile run, since I’m not built to be a long distance runner.
  4. Once you past the physical fitness test, then you go through a series of interviews with a bunch of different admin types, and then polygraph or two.
  5. Once you’ve done that, you go through a psychological evaluation. In Texas, this is the MMPI-2 (which stands for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). I’ve taken one, actually am fixing to take it again, and let me say, it sucks. In a nutshell, its 100 questions repeated 4 times, giving you a total of 400 questions to answer. To answer a question, it’s a simple “True or False”. To make it even more painful, it’s questions like “I enjoy arranging flowers.” and “I seldom worry about my health.” So, with “I enjoy arranging flowers.”, you may see it again as “I enjoy making floral arrangements.” and “I take delight in gardening.”
  6. After that, if you’ve passed everything and your interview went well, you may get a job offer. Basically, this says the city is interested in you and is hiring you. Once that is done, then you are given a start date for the Academy.

Sounds painful right? Well, to make things even more interesting, you can be dropped at any point in the above process. Meaning, even if you complete the process, the city doesn’t have to give you a job. The plus side of completing the Academy this way is since you are employed by the city, your actually being paid to go through the Academy. And since you are being paid to go through the Academy, your guaranteed a job when you graduate. Also, these kind of Academies can be shorter, sometimes as much as a month shorter. The downside is it can take a while between the initial testing and you starting the Academy, sometimes it’s months, sometimes it’s a year or longer, and you get less training hours (more later).

Now, that’s one way of completing the Academy. Another way, which is the way I originally started, is self-sponsoring through a COG Academy. COG stands for Council of Governments. Basically, a group of counties in an area band together and offer training for various fields, help counties help each other out, that sort of thing. Self-sponsor means you pay for it yourself. The county I live in is apart of CAPCOG, which stands for Capital Area Council of Governments, which includes counties like Hays, Travis, Williamson, etc. I believe there are a total of 10 counties in the CAPCOG area. One kind of training that is offered at most COGs is a Basic Peace Officer Certification. Basically, upon completion of the course and passing the TCLEOSE test, you will be a licensed Basic Peace Officer (but not sworn!!! and yes, there is a difference). Entrance into a COG Academy is much easier than getting into an Academy held by a city, and varies from COG to COG. In addition to the originally listed minimum:

  1. Take and pass the entrance exam.
  2. Complete an MMPI-2 psychological evaluation (description for this is listed above)
  3. Some form of physical fitness test, usually the aforementioned Cooper standards.
  4. A background check through various government bodies, showing you meet the First minimum requirement.

After you’ve completed all that, you pay your tuition (normally around $1500, but can be as high as $2000), and your accepted. Self-sponsoring through a COG Academy is not cheap. Generally, you have to pay tuition, cost of your uniforms, cost of ammunition, cost of duty gear, and cost of a pistol. All in all, you’re looking at around $3000. To top it off, you aren’t getting paid to go through the Academy. So, downsides are expensive, longer (normally they take about 6 months), and when you graduate, you don’t have a job. That means, you’ll have to go out and interview and all that jazz and hope for a job. On the plus side, you get more training hours, most COG Academies have some kind of job placement to help you find a job, and it’s a more relaxed, college type environment.

The last way to complete the Academy is through sponsorship. Sponsorship is when a police department pays your way through a COG Academy. You get the training from a COG Academy and the job security and awesomeness of getting paid to go through the Academy. It’s simply the best of both worlds. The problem with this, is it’s very rare to find a police department that does this. The large departments require you to go through their Academy, and smaller departments just require you have to a peace officer certification first.

I talked about training hours, and wanted to explain this more in detail. The minimum number of hours of training TCLEOSE says you must have to become a peace officer in Texas is 625. With large departments that do their own Academy, you only get around 650-700 hours of training. With COG Academies, you’ll get 1000+. Why does the number of training hours matter? Well, you have different levels of peace officer certification, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master. To advance in certification, you must have X number of years of service and Y number of hours of training. The more hours of training you have, the less years of service you must have. The more years of service you have, the less hours of training you must have. For instance, with 2 years of service and 1100 hours of training, one would qualify as an Intermediate Peace Officer. The more base number of hourse of training you have, the easier it is to get the more advanced certification.

Now that your in the Academy, it’s time for firearm training. A majority of the time, firearms training is a basic firearms class to teach you how to hold, aim, and fire a firearm. There isn’t any scenario based “shoot-don’t shoot” training. At the most, you may be shown a video or a slideshow on the basics of when to shoot and when not to shoot.

Now, back to the base point. Once you’ve graduated through an Academy, gotten your certification, been hired by a department, and sworn in, your now a police officer. It’s really that simple. Scary isn’t it?

Poll on the news

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 by Jay

I was watching News8 Austin this morning, and the topic of today’s news was obviously the plane crash in the IRS building that happened yesterday.

The news anchor said there was a poll on News8 Austin’s website, asking “Do you think yesterdays incident was an act of terrorism?”

The answer is obvious. It wasn’t terrorism, just an AWB (angry white boy).

I believe that is where we will eventually lose our rights. I’m not saying our rights will be lost all at once, but They will chip at them until there is nothing left. It will be done in the name of security against terrorism and terroristic acts. That is why I am glad to see the poll News8 Austin put up was over if it was terrorism or not. Because since 9/11, every time something bad like this happens, the knee-jerk reaction of everyone is it’s terrorism! Do we need to be vigilante against terrorist attacks? Of course! But, the first thing we need to do is do the investigation, step back and look at the whole picture, and make the decision.

As I said earlier, I don’t believe it was a terrorist attack, simply because the guy was suicidial. I’ve never heard of a terrorist leaving a suicide note.

Truth

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by Jay

Newest picture of me someone else took?

High School Graduation in 2006.

I survived all 3 years I spent in college without winding up in a single photo or video.

All the more recent pictures I have were all ones I took.

I’m not sure if I should be proud or curl up in a ball and cry. I think the former. :D

News

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2010 by Jay

Man Arrested After Confronting Deputy At His Home

In a nutshell:

Investigators said Yacovone was stopped while riding his bicycle in Fredrickson at about 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 9 by a sheriff’s deputy identified only as M. Smith.

Yacovone allegedly told Smith he was a hatchet, meaning a member of the street gang the Juggalos.

Smith reported noticing the smell of alcohol, cited Yacovone for being a minor in possession and released him, according to the documents.

Yacovone later told friends a very different story saying he was angry with Smith and was going to find him. He also told friends that the deputy took his money.

According to court documents, Yacovone showed up at Smith’s house later that same day and walked toward him angry and aggressive. He allegedly yelled as the deputy stood near his patrol car “What’s up cuz, you’re the cop that arrested me last night.”

Smith told Yacovone to leave his property, but he allegedly refused, demanded his money and said “This is f***** up stopping me for no reason,” according to court documents.

Investigators said at that point, “Deputy Smith, who had taken a safe position behind the door of his car, pointed his rifle at Yacovone and again ordered him to leave, but Yacovone still refused.”

With the rifle pointed at him, Yacovone finally walked away telling Smith he was going to make it “personal,” the documents stated.

Yacovone was arrested a short time later.

Link to story.

I bet you if that happened in Texas, the headline would’ve been: “Deputy shot and killed suspect, Grand Jury no bills Deputy on the spot”.

And people wonder why Texas is such a popular state…