Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More thoughts on the "Mandatory Blood Sample" law in Texas...

Well, let's see I've previously posted, Texas now has a law stating that officers can use force to extract a blood sample from those merely suspected of Driving While Intoxicated, provided certain conditions have been met.

Okay, before I go any further, I will reiterate the fact that I fully understand the dangers of drunkenness on a public street. For those reading up on this blog for the first time, my brother was killed by a drunk driver. It happened in the wee hours of January 1, 1996.

In the spring of 2002, I was stopped on HWY288B for the "offense" of driving 4mph over the speed limit, by a DPS State Trooper named Robert Dornak. Yes, the very same Robert Dornak that lied about the report of a traffic accident involving the death of a Deputy Sheriff who was improperly standing in traffic on a foggy morning. The very same Robert Dornak that "voluntarily resigned" after it was alleged that he had falsified his time cards.

Because I had no money to hire an attorney and was under the impression that it was somehow "cheaper" to plead out, I took a plea bargain and claimed Nolo. Sadly, for every dime I would have spent on an attorney to fight the case, that money was given back to the state in the form of probation fees, "drug and alcohol awareness" classes, my court-ordered fine, time missed from work for community service and probation meetings, insurance premium increases, et cetera.

NEVER plead out on a criminal case, unless you are guilty and you know it. If you are guilty, I have no pity on you. If you are innocent, FIGHT IT WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT AND THEN SOME!

Four years later, I was stopped after being seen by another Texas Department of Public Safety Officer. His name is Adrian Barlow. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Barlow. Remember that name, folks...because if you run into him, STAY AWAY FROM HIM. He is a liar, and will not hesitate to arrest you if it can help to run his numbers up.

You see, Trooper Barlow claims that he saw me driving without a seatbelt. From a moving car. In the middle of the night. Measurements were taken, of my car and a standard Ford Crown Victoria of the current model as driven by Trooper Adrian Barlow. At the speed claimed by the trooper, he would have had less than TWO TENTHS OF A SECOND to see such a thing.

Of course he tried to pretend like he was pulling me over for not wearing a seatbelt, and tried to act like he didn't see me pulling out of a bar, but the video showed otherwise. It also showed how he lied his ass off about me being "confrontational", having "slurred speech", and "being off-balance". Regardless, none of these really became an issue until he asked me if I had ever been arrested for DWI before. Not "convicted", but merely "arrested"...and yes, if you're wondering, I very openly admitted to the fact that I had been arrested for DWI. Oh yeah, I also very clearly heard him make the call on the radio for my arrest record, prior to asking me that question.

Regardless of these two lying tax leeches and their willingness to completely disregard the rights afforded me by my state and federal constitutions, there is one little fact that we must address here.

Now, it is "lawful" for an officer to hold me down at gunpoint for the purposes of drawing blood from my arm, if he claims that I am Driving While Intoxicated. Interestingly enough, mere "probable cause" is enough to allow an officer to draw blood from me by armed force, but not enough from my best friend...even if we were pulled over in identical circumstances.

It has nothing to do with age, race, creed, sex, or anything of the sort. Nothing, of course, other than the fact that I have a prior conviction for Driving While Intoxicated. However, at the time of my plea agreement, there was no such thing as a law saying that I might have blood evidence seized by an officer in the absence of a warrant, as the result of my conviction. There was no such law in place. In the absence of a previous conviction and other circumstances such as a child in the vehicle at the time, the officer must obtain a warrant to draw blood.


Monday, September 14, 2009

It's sad that so many people accomplished NOTHING on Saturday...

On this past Saturday, a mass of people that some say could range between 1.5 and 2 million people (google the pictures) marched on the capitol in protest of "ObamaCare".

Unfortunately, it will change ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Why do I make such a claim? Well, it's quite simple. As sad as it is, I am quite certain that while a good many of these people are fully aware of what's going on in this nation, there are at least ten times as many who are using this movement as nothing more than a propaganda mechanism of the republican party...and doing so under the guise of libertarianism.

I attended a protest rally during the first of the "modern" Tea Parties, it was the one at Jones Plaza in Houston, TX on April 15 of this year. While I enjoyed seeing that many libertarians gathered in one place, I was disheartened by the way that the event had damned near been hijacked by what are known as "Neo-Conservatives". The entire concept of the "Tea Party" organization was supposed to be a protest against ever-encroaching government.

While I was happy to see a massive amount of libertarians up in the mix, I saw a huge portion of that crowd being nothing more than the typical "right-winger". They aren't concerned with freedom, but rather, their own personal brand of fascism. Maybe you don't know who these hypocritical asswipes are, but I'll clue you in:

  1. So-called "pro-lifers". Yes, these people who will donate untold amounts of money to help fund anti-abortion legislation, donate their time to "pregnancy help centers", et cetera...but haven't done a GODDAMNED THING to ever help the life of a single solitary child living in an orphanage. You see, that would be far too troubling, helping out the life of an ACTUAL child, as opposed to a POTENTIAL child. What really gets me is the fact that these people are, with the exception of the Catholics in the bunch, typically very pro-execution! When literally one out of every thirteen condemned persons since the reinstatement of the death penalty has been RELEASED FROM DEATH ROW BECAUSE OF EVIDENCE OF INNOCENCE, it leads us to wonder how many innocent ACTUAL people have been murdered by the state. For those claiming they "are anti-abortion because it uses tax dollars to kill", did I mention that it costs TWICE AS MUCH MONEY TO PROSECUTE A DEATH PENALTY CASE than it does to prosecute a "life without parole" case...and then incarcerate that person for the remainder of his life? Don't tell me you're "pro-life" because of the tax dollars being spent, if you support the death penalty. For that matter, don't tell me you're "pro-life" AT ALL, if you support the murder of innocent people at the hands of the state.
  2. The "I support the War on Terror" crowd. These people are amongst the worst, IMNSHO. Untold billions upon billions upon billions pissed away. We haven't even begun to start speaking of the human cost here. What have we accomplished? Eight years later, and NOT A GODDAMNED THING. Iraq is still fubar beyond words, so much that the Iraqi government is telling us to GTFO...and we're the ones that put these guys into power! Afghanistan? Are you kidding me? Our government can't decide if we're going to allow the opium to grow because eradicating it will strip everyone of their money, or destroy it all because it helps fund terrorists. The Taliban keeps blowing up our troops like it's the cool thing to do. Our television reports keep telling us how we've "killed the #2 Al Qaeda man". That must be the most dangerous job in the world, seeing as how we can't seem to find a 6'6" Arab in Afghanistan, especially when he's got a dialysis machine strapped to one arm and a microphone to the other. Did I mention that several thousand American servicemen have died fighting this war? What about the amount of money that our government is pissing away like it's free?
  3. Then we get to the bottom of it all...the GLENN BECK SUPPORTERS! I don't even know where to start with this jackass. Part of his "9/12" program states that we must accept God. Okay, I am a firm believer in Christ...but, ummm, what about the people who aren't? Do they not get to care about not having free-market health care? What about Beck's support for the War on Some Drugs? Just because Glenn Beck is a "recovering alcoholic", what gives him the right to say what others shouldn't put into THEIR OWN bodies? Okay, so the booze didn't work out for you. How are you gonna say that my grandma shouldn't have been allowed to do bonghits when she was dying of cancer? What about Beck's unabashed support for the so-called "Patriot Act"? How are you going to stand up and preach about the evils of socialism when you support the destruction of half our Bill of Rights? How?
So I guess that's why I'm so pissed off about the fact that almost two million people decided to march in Washington...mainly, it was just a big jerk-off session. Absolutely nothing was accomplished. The mainstream media made it appear to be nothing more than "tens of thousands" if it were somehow less than the "Million Man March" that had maybe 50k people show up. Still, even when they decide to concede that a million or so people showed up, what will they say about them? Oh, probably nothing more than the fact that they are "republican hypocrites"...and sadly, many of them are.

If you truly care about your own freedom, you'll stop worrying about issues that matter only to you, and start worrying about the fact that EVERYONE'S FREEDOM is slowly being stripped away. Until then, do us a favor and stop pretending like you care...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What September 11th means to me...

Two days ago, this nation had its annual "Patriot Day" remembrance. As I'm sure you're probably already aware, "Patriot Day" was so-named in honor of the attacks against this nation on September 11, 2001.

I remember that day very vividly. I was living with my aunt and her son in West Columbia, TX at the time. I was not working that day, and was mildly hung over when I woke to hear a man on the radio talking about the "horrific accident" that had just occurred in New York City's World Trade Center. I was about to reach over and turn off my stereo when I heard the man on the radio screaming "Oh, my God! There's another one!"

I ran into the living room and turned the television to CNN just in time to see the footage of the second plane smashing into the other tower. That was the "Zapruder Film" of my generation, with the 9/11 attacks being our Kennedy assassination. Our world changed forever on that morning.

Within a few months of the attacks, our nation launched an assault on Afghanistan in what has been called the "Global War on Terrorism" by our government. This GWOT soon spread to Iraq under the most baseless of pretenses. Sadly, this "war on terr'r" was also seen right here in our home country, being "fought" in the most immoral, unethical, and constitutionally unlawful manner you can imagine.

The so-called "USA Patriot Act" has given even our local police departments (not to mention our state and federal boys) unprecidented power and authority that this nation had never seen before, all in the name of "fighting terrorism". The overwhelming majority of crimes that have been prosecuted by using these new authorities have not been related to terrorism, but rather, to petty dope dealers. It would seem to me, as well as anyone with at least three cooperative and functioning brain cells, that those who actually have been prosecuted for "terrorism-related" offenses are nothing more than incompetent "wanna-be"-types...and most of these have been arrested through "sting operations" by the FBI, using criminal informants wishing to reduce their sentences. Many of these people have no knowledgeable ability to carry out any kind of attack on anyone or anything beyond the capabilities of your average urban gangbanger.

Oh, let's not forget the random high school kids we occasionally hear about, who get arrested for detonating "bombs" (read: HOMEMADE FIRECRACKERS) in trash cans and mailboxes. Oh yeah, Johnny and Jimmy McSuburbia are the real-deal American Jihad, let me tell ya! Placing a piece of dry ice inside a 35mm film canister was a prank pulled by my high school science teacher 15 years ago. Try doing it today, and you're likely to get arrested for "detonating a chemical device"!

Let's also not forget about the handful of civil liberties that we no longer have in this country. A good friend of mine once asked me, after we got into a heated discussion about this subject, "Specifically, what rights have you personally lost?". To him, I replied that I have lost every right denied to any individual citizen of this nation as a result of these supposed "anti-terror" laws.

He looked at me like he didn't understand, because I had never been arrested for failure to remain inside a "Free Speech Zone" at a protest rally. At the time, I had never even been to a protest rally! Federal agents had never (to my knowledge, anyway) performed a "sneak and peek" search on my house. They had never issued (again, to the best of my knowledge) a "National Security Letter" stating that they had reason to believe I was engaging in terrorist activities, in order to do a search of my financial records, my library history, my emails, et cetera without first obtaining a warrant signed by a judge.

But then again, they had done these to numerous other American citizens, and did so under the color of direct violation of our constitutional rights. Even the FBI's Director Mueller has allowed a report to be issued, stating that these so-called National Security Letters are (and had been) an often-abused tool used by members of his agency. If it can happen to others, it can just as easily happen to me...which means I no longer have the rights guaranteed by my 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments. I no longer have the right to petition the court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, if I am unlawfully imprisoned without charges, because the government has seen fit to do so with other American citizens.

I have been distrustful of "authority figures" since I had my first run-in with a pair of dirty cops following a juvenile arrest at the age of 15. Since I "woke up" after realizing in 2003 a few months into our war in Iraq that it was based upon nothing but solid bullshit and lies, I've been reading into the subject quite heavily, and have focused quite a bit on what is going on right here in America.

Non-violent political activists have been labeled as "domestic terrorists" by state police departments, who have infiltrated various activist groups who advocate everything from clean environmental policy to anti-abortion to the abolition of the death penalty. The FBI has trained "bloggers" to deliberately incite and intice people into making statements over the internet that can be defined as a "terrorist threat". Even though it became a bigger issue after the release of the MIAC report, our state police departments have been issuing all manner of "bulletins" describing asinine reasons for suspecting people of being "potential terrorists. The MIAC report listed people who yearn for a constitutional government and support third-party political candidates...but the Texas Department of Public safety thinks I might be a terrorist for a completely different reason. I WEAR LEVI'S BLUE JEANS! Yes, I'm serious...that was actually listed as a way to spot a potential terrorist, on a Texas DPS anti-terrorism bulletin!

Our local cops have become increasingly militarized, and their attitudes have shifted even further away from the "Officer Friendly"-type, to the point where many now seem to think of themselves as some twisted version of a stay-at-home military. The Sheriff's office of Harris County even discussed a plan to purchase MACHINE GUNS for patrol boats of his county's waterways! Ummm, this is Texas, not "the 'Nam"! Nearly all of our cops are now equipped with Taser hand-held electrocution devices, which were supposedly intended to reduce the number of times officers fired their duty weapons at suspects...but, as statistics have clearly shown, shootings have not decreased. Taser usage, as well as Taser abuse, have definitely increased.

So that's that, folks. I've always believed that they were "out to get me". Turns out I'm not being paranoid, they're really out to get me...and everyone else who thinks for themselves, and refuses to buy into the bullshit. It's been going on for quite a while. 9/11 just sped up the process quite a bit. I was in mourning on Friday. Not only for the nearly three thousand people who lost their lives on 9/11/01, but also for the loss of the American way. So sad, so shameful...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The "other half" of the second Amendment...

As of 9/1/09, the state penal code in Texas was altered regarding the regulations concerning members of our population that carry concealed handguns. On September first of this year, state legislation in Texas has removed the criminal penalty for the non-crime of displaying a Concealed Handgun License when asked for identification by a peace officer.

Okay, what does this mean? Prior to this change in the law, holders of a Concealed Handgun License (to be further mentioned as a "CHL") were required to display said CHL when identification was demanded by a Licensed Peace Officer at any time the holder of said CHL was, in fact, "packing" a concealed handgun.

Prior to a change in the law that occurred a few years ago, holders of a CHL were required to present said CHL at ANY TIME, regardless of whether or not they were actually in possession of a concealed handgun.

Well past years, we've removed the requirement to display a CHL when you weren't packing. Now, we've effectively removed (by removing the penalty) the requirement that you display your CHL period.

Here's my complaints about the whole CHL notion in general:
1) First and foremost, not everyone has the opportunity to spend an entire day of classroom and range instruction at a time that is convenient for the guy holding the CHL class. Some of us actually work for a living.
2) The entire CHL process is, in all actuality, rather cost-prohibitive for those who work a basic job. As a matter of fact, just the actual license fee alone costs almost as much as my first pistol did...and that doesn't even get into the cost of the actual class instruction, the requisite passport photos, et cetera.
3) When you have a CHL, your name goes into a state database...along with a number that is automatically tied to your driver license number.

I have not applied for a CHL, and will likely not do so, for the simple fact that I am lawfully allowed in the state of Texas to keep a loaded AND UNLICENSED handgun in my vehicle at any time, provided four provisions are met:
1) I'm lawfully allowed to own the handgun.
2) I'm not committing a crime of greater classification than a Class C traffic offense.
3) I'm sober.
4) The pistol is concealed from "plain view" (i.e. "you can't see it from outside the car").

Regardless of what the law actually ALLOWS me to do, I still have a massive problem with the state regulating the carry of a handgun at all.

Don't get me wrong, I think there should be a provision regarding felons in our handgun laws...but this actually brings me to another point. As of 1994, the Great State of Texas created what is known as the "State Jail Felony" classification of crimes. Whilst the punishment of a state jail felony is relatively minor by comparison of felonies that are listed be degree (from top to bottom: Third, Second, First, Capital), there is still that inconvenient little fact that someone convicted of the crime of being in possession of another person's credit card number is just as "felonious" as a person that has committed an offense of premeditated murder, as far as a removal of a person's rights are concerned. When you are convicted of a State Jail Felony, you are still required to have stamped on your state-issued driver license, in big red letters, "Convicted Felon"...which is no different than a man that has been paroled after imprisonment for raping and killing a 16 year old girl. When we cure this situation, maybe we can really work on some other issues...

Regardless, the state of Texas allows all felons the right to possess firearms AFTER five years from the date of release from incarceration or state-sponsored community supervision, whichever comes it should be. In a civilized society, we decide that a person's punishment is left to a judge and jury. When you have paid your debt to society et al, you are paid up.

Moving right along now...

Let's look at the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

It just doesn't really get any more basic than that. So what the hell is my problem? Well, it's quite simple. For far too long, we've been concerning ourselves with the right to "KEEP", and forgetting all about the right to "BEAR" our arms.

Seriously. We keep fighting over what type of firearms we're allowed to still own.

As it stands, I happen to own a couple of "military-grade" rifles. They will penetrate a standard police-issue Class-IIIA kevlar vest, and are capable of using magazines worthy of being considered "very high capacity". At the present time, I currently own only 30rd magazines for them, because that is the biggest available at my local sporting goods store.

I also happen to be the proud owner of a Mossberg Model 500A shotgun. It sports a 20" barrel and an 8-round magazine. With two rounds, I can unload more ordinance downrange than an M16 with a full 30rd magazine...and do it faster, and still have six more rounds. What's more, I can reload my magazine "on the fly", without having to wait for it to become empty first. Using standard off-the-shelf 1oz slugs available at any Wal-Mart in Texas (at the bargain rate of around $1 a piece), I can penetrate the engine block of a police car.

Still moving right along...

I also happen to be the proud owner of a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol. While this pistol holds 15rds in the magazine, let's look at a few things here:
1) There's not a single round available on the civilian market that will penetrate a Class-IIIA kevlar vest.
2) Its accuracy is limited to, at best, 25 meters.

The most important fact that I can mention about this pistol, however, is the fact that it is THE MOST REGULATED FIREARM that I currently own...even though it is the least powerful and least "destructive".

The only upside my "sidearm" has, over my long guns, would be the fact that it is CONCEALABLE...and yet, I am still not allowed to carry this pistol in the open, for all the honest world to see. In order to protect myself in public with said pistol, outside of my home or vehicle, I must purchase a license from the state and follow certain arbitrary rules and regulations concerning when and where I can carry this pistol...and still, I must carry this pistol in a manner that prohibits it from being seen by anyone else.

It would seem that my state allows me to "keep" arms, but it does not recognize my right to "bear" them. You see, a "right" is not something you have to apply for. You don't have to pay for it. You don't have to get your "rights" approved. You don't have to submit fingerprints and an official passport photo. Anything that would require such stipulations are not "rights", but rather, "privileges".

It appears to me that the state does not recognize my right to keep and bear arms, it merely grants me the privilege of doing so, provided certain conditions are met.

Texas, I'm really not impressed...