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Learning America

‘The Big Book’ RIP (1893-1993)
Recognizing one of this country’s greatest teachers.   By JB Blocker

The Millennials don’t know about this. Much of the GenX Generation don’t either. As an immigrant from the ‘60’s, the Sears and Roebuck catalogue was one of my best friends. It taught me America!

  The first true Sears catalogue was produced and distributed in 1893. Many others were to follow. It became an iconic life line of what people wanted and needed across America. It you had a mailing address, you could own anything in those pages.
  Clothing, toys, guns, farm tools, kitchen, living room, garage items, even houses and cars stirred the imagination of children from the city streets to farms, fields, and newly discovered parts of this growing country.
  I remember in the early ‘70s listening to some old cowboys at the local pool hall in my panhandle farming community. They got in to a discussion about the new Christmas catalogue at the Montgomery Ward’s one day. The talk started over the price of things. But the discussion moved to how they had been making their wish list from those catalogues most of their lives. Those pictures of what the world looked like outside of their world gave them reasons to save their money.
  Studying catalogues allowed America to become aware of the cost of things and how much money they would need to save.
  A few seniors talked about the catalogues as a teaching tool. You could learn how to read while you were learning the value of all those items available from the pages of pictures, descriptions, and prices.
My Crash Course

Unexpected Danger! 2016 Drivers Traffic Stop Protocol

Common Sense and Courtesy

By J.B. Blocker
With all the furor generated on the social media concerning the shooting of a man during a traffic stop, it occurred to me that many don’t seem to know how to behave if you are stopped! To me it seemed that logic and courtesy were all that was necessary in order to make the stop as safe and painless as it could be considering the circumstances!
I began calling the ‘Best of the Best’ to help me get this right. These friends have served for years in several branches of Texas law enforcement. They include Sheriff Harold Eavenson the VP of the National Sheriffs Association, Carrollton Chief of Police Rex Redden, Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Association Don Reay, Senate Candidate and past Top Texas Game Warden Peter Flores, Kirk Launius the GOP candidate for Dallas County Sheriff, Howe Chief of Police and License To Carry instructor Carl Hudman, and former Texas Highway Patrol/Texas Ranger Lee Young and Sheriff David Byrne to help sort out what rules have been approved and practiced by their various departments.
Of course I might add that when Game Wardens and Texas Rangers make a stop, it is rarely for a traffic or vehicle violation.
I did a lot of listening as they guided me through not only the regulations but also the reasoning behind the suggested actions for the officer and the driver. With their help I have compiled a Drivers Traffic Stop Protocol that should be an aid to the well being of the driver and officer alike.
Ranger Lee Young simply added common sense=less problems. Peter Flores and Don Reay each said in their own West Texas styles, It really boils down to common sense and courtesy. To which I respond, “Common sense seems to be a missing ingredient to a lot of people. Especially when they are being pulled over!”
Since I took my license exam in the 70’s, I wasn’t really sure what the rules are on a Texas Driver’s License Exam. So let’s start there! 
Texas Driver Handbook 2014 revised pg. 66

If you are stopped by law enforcement it is suggested that you:
1.Move the vehicle safely to the right of the road as soon as possible and stop

2. Place the vehicle in a parking position, set the emergency brake, turn the engine off, and activate the hazard warning lights

3. Remain in the car, lower the driver’s window, and wait for the law enforcement officer to give instructions

4. Follow the instructions of the law enforcement officer

5. Require passengers to remain in the car unless other instructions are given by the law enforcement officer

6. Give the appropriate signals and safely return to the proper lane of traffic when released by the law enforcement officer.

What if you are carrying a weapon? Every LTC instructor in Texas is required to impart this to their students during their class.
A.      Have your driver license and LTC immediately accessible.
B.      Do not make quick movements especially when the officer is present or approaching.
C.      Have your hands on top of the steering wheel as much as possible.
D.     If at night, turn dome light on and roll down windows if tinted.
E.      Open window(s) for communication.
The following is the result of the composite wisdom and experience of my friends who each have around 30 years or more serving and protecting.

Drivers Traffic Stop Protocol: Lone Star Reporter Version
  1. Turn on hazard warning light to acknowledge to the officer that you are aware of them and intend to comply
  2. Pull over to the right side of the road as soon as possible to a safe location.
It is permissible to drive far enough to have room to safely avoid traffic.
Park with ample safe space between the road and your vehicle
It is permissible to drive to a well-lit location
It is permissible to take a safer side street to avoid heavy traffic.
  1. Place vehicle in park, set emergency brake
  2. Turn off engine if practical based on weather condition (heat and air)
  3. Turn on dome light if the conditions are dark
  4. Make no sudden moves
  5. Roll down driver’s window. All windows if they are dark tinted!
  6. Remain in the vehicle and instruct passenger to do the same
  7. Place your hands on the steering wheel and keep them there until instructed otherwise
  8. Be Polite and wait for officer to give further instructions
  9. If you are carrying a weapon, announce it to the officer and tell them where it is located, do not point or reach for the weapon
  10. Tell the officer where permits, license, insurance, and registration are located
  11. Do not reach for anything until you have been granted permission
  12. When released give the appropriate signals and safely return to the proper lane
  13. DRIVE SAFE, Don’t litter, and wave at people you pass. You are in TEXAS!  jb
Former Dallas Police Officer, Kirk Launius the 2016 GOP candidate for Dallas County Sheriff gave an insight that civilians don't consider. "One of the most dangerous situations on a daily basis a peace officer faces is a traffic stop. You literally don't know what to expect. The dark tinted windows are especially concerning. Officers have been shot through the windows conducting a stop."

I feel it is prudent to know the training basis for law enforcement training. On a national basis the common curriculum is known as
The 7 Step Violator Contact  Rules of Engagement.



To the Sheriffs, Constables, DA's, Judges, Commissioner, Mayors, and concerned citizens of Texas....

This call for common sense also includes the public who care about the consequences of computer generated Personal Recognizance Bonds. 

Why have Judges when you have a computer making judgements?

Do you have a phone?

Time is not on our side! The bill is set for consideration during this session. It has already passed the Senate. 

There are many of you who can pick up the phone and call your Senators and House Reps. and expect a response. Their staffs know who you are! 

You have clout and you need to use it now!

The bill is designed to relieve jail overcrowding for Harris County by Senior Senator Whitmire, the liberal advocate of SB1338.   

It will alter cost and consequences of those who should appear in court by using a contrived set of algorithms.
Over 90% of illegals who have received PR Bonds during the last administration fail to appear. We know this as fact.
We do not know the extent of the computer program that will be implemented.
We don't even know what that program requires in hardware, software, and manpower. Sample programs have a range of over 100 questions a detainee must answer. Time and truthfulness are also required. Therefore, we don't know the ultimate COST!

Sound familiar? Pass a Bill and figure the cost later. The Counties and their Sheriffs Departments will bear the cost on the front end and the public will suffer the cumulative consequences.

You have your phone in your pocket or in your hand as we speak! 
Use it now! jb

Thank you for your help in getting letters from your local officials that you have identified who will stand in opposition with us (Sheriff and other Law Enforcement, Judges and Magistrates, DA's and County Attorneys, Commissioners, County Judges, County and District Clerks). 
These officials are the most important letters/testimonies to the Senators and Reps we are trying to gain support from.

·         As SB 1338 has now passed through the Senate CJ Committee, the lobbyist have told us they need 3 letters from your official if possible (Letter to your Senator, Letter to your Rep, and Letter to the Chairman of the House CJ Committee). They are basically the same, but addressed to different people and a few words are slightly different in each.  If you can’t get 3 then get 1 either for the Senate or the House CJ Committee. 

·         It is preferable to get a personalized letter from your official.

·         Once the letter is finished (either the form or personalized) then you will need to arrange to:
o    Either pick up the letters from the official, scan the signed letter, and email it to us at or
o    Have the official scan the letters and email them to you then you can forward them to us at the above gmail account.

·         When we receive the letters we will get to our lobbyists and the other crew at the Capitol to make sure they are hand-delivered to the Senator or Rep. There may be some strategy in holding the Reps letters until a good time to deliver those, perhaps if it makes it to the House floor or out of CJ committee.

Time is of the essence. We need these letters in our lobbyist’s hands by Friday or Monday morning if possible. The sooner the better.

Thanks again!


Another "Sign it and we'll count the cost later" legislation!

The Sheriffs of Texas didn't know about it. Neither did the Constables. Nor the Justice of the Peace, Municipal and County Court Judges, County Judges and Commissioners, or even most of the Legislators.
This is another Obamacare type, pass it and then count the cost once they accumulate type bill.
There should have been awareness by the state and county officials but there wasn't. The public should have a voice in this.
Look what has happened in New Jersey! Google bail reform. 
This will lead to elimination of Bondsmen services for misdemeanors and give the burden to the Counties. It will cost time and manpower. And we don't even know the cost of the programing or support elements.
By the way, about 93-97% of illegals who are given P.R. bonds and told to show up in court leave smiling and never look back.
Oh, and Chicago leads the way in P.R. bonds. How's that working out?
Contact your State Rep. and Senators now! The bill has been passed to the House and could be up for a vote by May 11, 2017! There is no time to waste! 
The best thing would be to Kill the Bill. The second best thing would be to put it on hold until those affected can have their voice heard.
Issues and Concerns regarding SB 1338 and HB 3011 Substitutes

Will Bonds be set by computer programs?

  I was leaving a great night with law enforcement officers, spouses, and supporters for the Thin Blue Line Ball held at the Rock Creek in McKinney on Sat. May 29th. On the way home I get a phone call from Honolulu. 
  Dog the Bounty Hunter wants to talk to me. We share some common ground. I'm from the Dumas area and Dog is from Pampa. We have some other connectivity that kept the conversation going into the night.
  The reason for the call was to alert me to a bill which passed a Senate sub committee (S.B.1338) and (H.B. 3011) and goes to the floor this week. This is a bill that can be traced back to Soros/Holder connected legislation designed to reduce jail occupancy by allowing more accused to be released.
   I am doing my research. Today I talked to sheriffs, constables, JP's, police chiefs, and legislators. I have no opinions. Well, not exactly. 
  What about letting a computer program determine qualifications for Personal Recognizance bonds?
  The following is worthy analysis, then I ask for smarter people than me to chip in opinions.

Issues and Concerns regarding SB 1338 and HB 3011 Substitutes—Updated 4/20/17
These bills create a costly and unnecessary bureaucracy that would result in many unintended negative consequences. This seems especially problematic given that current law already provides Judges the ability to utilize PR and Pretrial Release options for those that cannot afford bail.
The proposed legislation is an Unfunded Mandate to Counties.  Cost of implementing the mandatory Automated Risk Assessment Tool and related costs to each county will vary but for reference: 2015 pretrial budget for Travis County was 5. 5 million; Tarrant County was 1.1 million; and Harris County was 7.2 million.