The State of Texas requirements imposed on the locksmith industry have become too restrictive and so I’m announcing my retirement which will, in all probability, take effect upon the expiration of my current locksmith license. I’ve been engaged in the locksmith industry for over thirty years; my training having begun in 1976 when I started out as an apprentice working for free. I can remember working at Reed’s Key Shop on Westheimer every Saturday, one of my regular days off from the Houston Police Department.
Jim Reed and his locksmith friends taught me the “secrets of the trade”; it wasn’t called a profession until later on, while I assimilated as much information as I could. My only “payment”, if you could call it payment at all, was a sandwich at lunchtime and the friendship of some really knowledgeable locksmiths; Sonny Hunt, Feller Goff, Patty Merriman and; lest I forget, “Stu” Stewart who died so many years ago. I gained information, not money, and that information formed the foundation which became a means to obtain a substantial side income and eventually retire from the Houston Police Department without sacrificing my standard of living.
It has become increasingly difficult to justify the necessary investment required to remain an active licensed Locksmith; yearly State of Texas License expense is excessive and the fact that I must subject my business practices to pencil pushing bureaucrats, bureaucrats with about as much common sense as God gave a door knob. These folks have seen fit to impose redundant mandatory continuing education courses which provide no meaningful measure of improvement to a working locksmith’s skills and serve only to increase operating expenses and time lost from making a living as a locksmith.
Membership dues in locksmith professional organizations such as the Associated Locksmiths of America or the Greater Houston Locksmith Association further the misconception that individual locksmiths desire to be part of an imposed serfdom under the thumb of the Texas Department of Safety’s Private Security Bureau. Add to that the expense involved in maintaining and updating computer software programs for modern transponder equipped vehicles; the real world’s version of mandatory continual education, the time spent learning how to apply these needed skills and the tools necessary to work on modern vehicles that are now everyday items which the public has been saddled with and I’ve come full circle; nearly working for free once again.
Okay, so I’m not working for free; that’s a considerable exaggeration intended to show my disgust for having to pay so much of my hard earned money out the back door just for the privilege of being a locksmith. What’s the old saying, “Millions for defense but not one dime for tribute!”; I think that has entered the equation on why I can no longer pay the State of Texas an annual Locksmith License fee. This is nothing short of extortion under the guise of protecting the industry, a crime against the free market system, a tax imposed simply because politicians saw a means of grabbing more money for the general fund.
I figured that my extensive knowledge in the specialized industry of automotive security devices makes me highly qualified as a Security Consultant, a yet unregulated and unlicensed segment of the market place. The State of Texas has no laws governing Security Consultants who provide nearly the same “services” as Locksmiths; the primary difference being the product definitions articulated by State Law (House Bill 2243).
“The above legislation was not intended to apply to tow companies or other businesses who perform lockout service using a slim-jim or similar tool to open a vehicle upon the request of the owner or operator of the vehicle, but who do not perform locksmith service. The definition of locksmith service (“sells, installs, services, or maintains mechanical security devices, including deadbolts and locks”) does not include lockout service where the vehicle is simply opened. Clearly, in this situation, the lock (or “mechanical security device”) is being neither sold, installed, serviced nor maintained.”
The beauty of the English language, as currently constituted by our elected officials and those appointed by our elected officials, is the wide range of convenience applied to each word’s actual or intended meaning. For example the illegal alien legislation that the progressive segment of our Senate wants to push through, or is that push down our throats, I can hardly tell the difference; but where was I, oh, yes, these industrious individuals who have entered our country’s borders without gaining proper documentation or permission shouldn’t be looked upon as being criminals or undesirable simply because they ignored existing laws. Wouldn’t it be so much better for all concerned if we just accepted them as new neighbors looking to improve their way of life; no different than anyone else trying to make a buck here in this blessed land of opportunity? Do you see how altering the meaning from “illegal alien” to “new neighbor” makes it totally ridiculous to waste all that taxpayer money on a fence along our southern border?
The DPS/PSB took it upon themselves to define what they consider to be a locksmith, an all encompassing definition so ambiguous as to presume a perfect understanding of the English language; words such as, “sells, installs, services, or maintains mechanical security devices, including deadbolts and locks.” On the other hand, the DPS/PSB neglected to consider a professional locksmith who had surpassed the entry level position so elaborately defined, professionals who’ve provided sufficient proven abilities over an extended period of years and risen above the State of Texas legislator’s concerns over public safety and requiring no bureaucratic overseers; the Senior Locksmith advanced in stature to the level of Security Consultant.
It might take several years for the exact definition of a Security Consultant to be worked out, not wishing to defame or insult the reputations of these stalwarts of the community, individuals who have earned the respect and admiration of the pubic through years of providing impeccable service without the slightest hint of impropriety; similar to the elitist status granted to elected members of congress. I look forward to many years of limited service to the community as a Security Consultant.