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Homeland Security Comments

From: Tom Glass <tomglass@juryduty.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2001 12:13 PM
To: 'david.dewhurst@glo.state.tx.us'
Subject: Homeland Security Comments

Commissioner Dewhurst:

I am sending this to you in your capacity as the chair of the Governor's Task Force on Homeland Security.

I have three points that I hope your Task Force will consider.

First, concealed carry of firearms is no longer about personal or family defense, it is now about community and national defense. The federal government is carrying out the offensive part of the war on terrorism. But your task force is addressing primarily the defensive part of the battle.

Essentially, all Texans are on the front lines in the defensive war. Not all potential terrorist attacks can be fought by an armed citizenry, but a number can. In Israel, where they have been in the defensive war against terror for a long time, they have found that armed citizens are able to stop suicidal machine gun attacks on innocents with less loss of life.

I hope that the Task Force will add expanding the number of locations where concealed carry permit holders can legally carry. A number of the locations currently banned such as school sporting events, racetracks, and schools are places where terrorists are more likely to attack.

Concealed carry permit holders, who have passed background checks and demonstrated firearms proficiency are a key aspect of increasing homeland security. As a permit holder, I take my responsibilities even more seriously after September 11.

Second, I urge the Task Force to look into what can be done to start inoculating Texans as soon as possible against smallpox. I realize that the federal government has most of the resources and a large amount of the authority in this area, but the State of Texas may have the legal authority to accelerate inoculation.

I have read that the federal government is gearing up to create enough smallpox vaccine for all citizens in the nation, but so far I have not seen any plans to actually use it before a smallpox attack. I have just read Dr. Michael T. Osterholm and John Schwartz's book, Living Terrors, published in 2000. I learned by reading Living Terrors that the USA learned in 1998 that the Soviets had a bioweapons program in the 1980's to send smallpox tipped missiles at the USA. During the 1990's, the employees of the facility that had created the smallpox weapons went for a long time without pay, and it is possible that smallpox has been stolen and delivered to a number of players hostile to us. Given that anthrax has already been used, I think it is only a matter of time until smallpox is used, too. Smallpox is worse than anthrax in that it is contagious. Because of its long incubation period, many thousands can be infected before we even know that there is a problem.

The problem with waiting to use smallpox vaccine until after an attack is that the number of deaths that might occur before the outbreak was contained with the use of vaccine and quarantine would probably be numbered in the thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands. In my mind, widespread vaccination BEFORE the attack is the only way to avoid an attack with comparable numbers of casualties to the attacks of September 11.

Third, don't forget the State Guard. The law of Texas says that the Texas State Guard has a vital role to play in Homeland Security, especially as National Guard units are called to overseas service. The applicable statutes can be found in the GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 4. EXECUTIVE BRANCH, SUBTITLE C. STATE MILITARY FORCES AND VETERANS CHAPTER 431. STATE MILITIA, SUBCHAPTER D. TEXAS STATE GUARD:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/go/go043100.html#go044.431.051

I have researched joining the State Guard, and my initial impressions are that at the moment, the organization is small and can easily be overwhelmed. Just finding out about the organization and how to join has been difficult. I also believe that the people that are in the organization are dedicated, and can help form the nucleus of what could become an essential part of homeland security, given the right resources and support by the Governor.

Toward security through liberty,

Tom Glass
Houston, Texas

P.S. I am attaching below an e-mail that I have sent the Governor on a related issue of Capitol security:

Governor Perry:

The FW Star Telegram says you have concerns about security at the Capitol, discussing whether concealed carry permit holders should carry there. Since permit holders have background checks and have demonstrated proficiency with firearms, they are not the enemy, and in fact are extra security help. If you want to increase the security of the Capitol, put up metal detectors to stop those who do NOT have permits, if you wish. That can be done legally today, with no change in the law. Permit holders should continue to be allowed to carry in the Capitol. Allowing permit holders concealed carry INCREASES security, not decreases it.

In this time of heightened alert, concealed carry is no longer about personal or family defense. It is about community and national defense. As part of the response to terrorism, I hope that you will work to increase the number of places that permit holders can legally carry. All citizens are now on the front lines. It is time to allow those on the front lines the tools to defend themselves, and to recognize that concealed carry permit holders are an integral part of homeland defense.

Toward security through liberty,
Tom Glass

 


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