Saturday, March 9, 2013

This is how Jonathan Stickland...

...dresses for a typical day at work: blue blazer, khaki pants and an open-collared shirt. Oh, and a loaded handgun on his belt. What does Mr. Stickland do for a living? He looks like he could be a plain-clothes policeman or a security guard of some sort. But, no, Mr. Stickland is a state representative in -- where else? -- Texas.

From an article in the Times today, "An Entry Reserved for Those With Guns" (my emphasis):

Just as Texas has long embraced its guns, so has the Capitol. Legislators have walked the terrazzo hallways, attended committee hearings, met with constituents in their offices and voted on the floors of their respective chambers while armed with licensed high-powered pistols tucked beneath their suits or slipped into their boots or purses.

When Gov. Rick Perry gave his State of the State speech in February 2011 in the House chamber, he stood a short distance from Representative Chuck Hopson, who paid close attention with a .22-caliber five-shot revolver in his right boot and a .357 Magnum within arm’s reach in a drawer of his desk.

What in God's name are these people so afraid of?

Many Texas lawmakers ... described carrying weapons in the Capitol as a personal security habit, doing what they did elsewhere in the state, whether shopping, dining, praying or driving. They also wear their weapons, they said, for the same reason they keep jacks in their vehicles and fresh batteries in their smoke detectors at home. They said there was a difference between being paranoid and being prepared.

They're right; there is a difference. And this is paranoid. 

“We don’t expect these things to happen, but they do happen,” said Senator Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who has carried in the Capitol. “The reason you carry a gun on you is like the reason you carry insurance. You don’t expect a tornado to blow down your house. It’s protection.”

At recent hearings of the House Committee on County Affairs, Representative Jonathan Stickland sat listening to testimony while wearing a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

“This is probably one of the most well-armed buildings in the state,” said Mr. Stickland, a freshman Republican from Bedford, near Fort Worth. “When you grow up around guns and you feel comfortable with what they can do, and you know how to use them and you respect them, there’s really nothing to fear.”

Now which do you think is the greater danger to the Texas legislature, some imaginary boogieman or a loaded gun worn by some yahoo like Mr. Stickland?

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