While most people outside of Texas think concealed carry is something best left in the wild west era, for most Texans, it is a part of everyday life.
Regardless of your stance, there is a law on the Texas books that affects the evacuees of Hurricane Harvey that conceal or open carry their firearm.
In 2007, the Texas legislature passed the “Emergency Powers Act”, which coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the (alleged) confiscation of firearms by the local and state police departments during the evacuation process.
In the act, written by Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) and with Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonio), all Texans are granted “safe passage” of their legally concealed or open carry firearm in times of evacuation.
The bill, available online here, states “a peace officer, during a state of disaster or a state of emergency, (may) disarm an individual lawfully carrying or possessing any firearm or ammunition if the officer reasonably believes it necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual. The bill requires the officer to return the firearm or ammunition to the individual before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer arrests the individual or seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.”
Shelters may have their own rules regarding firearms carry (concealed or open) for admission, but legally, all Texans can retain their firearm(s) while evacuating pending the exceptions noted in the bill.
Southwest Airlines has had a website to donate Rapid Rewards points for awhile now (AKA: frequent flier miles), but with hurricane Harvey hitting Houston, now might be a good time for those fortunate enough to have thousands of unused points to make a big difference.
On the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards donation site, you can donate to All Hands Volunteers, The American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, and Ronald McDonald House. Any of these five charities will be in Houston (if not already) helping get the city back on its’ feet. Details on the organizations and their mission statements are on the Southwest Airlines donation website as well.
You can also donate to The Dream Foundation, Honor Flight Network, Make A Wish, or the Student Conservation Association on the same website.
According to a recent press release, those sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston “will have medical care on-site through a 250-bed Federal Medical Station established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the request of the State Department of Health.”
“The Federal Medical Station is scheduled to be operational Wednesday.”
“HHS has additional Federal Medical Stations available for patient care in Texas, and has positioned two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations in Baton Rouge ready to be deployed in Louisiana should state officials determine they are needed.”
HHS has also “activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, that is available at 1-800-985-5990 to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set up a National DIsaster Distress Helpline for Hurricane Harvey.
This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746).
On the helpline website, the HHS states “When disaster strikes, often people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With support from community and family, most of us bounce back. However, some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. If you are experiencing emotional distress due to the storm, call the National Disaster Distress Helpline. The Disaster Distress Helpline puts people in need of counseling on the path to recovery. Our staff members provide counseling and support before, during, and after disasters and refer people to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support.”
According to another press release, HHS is also working on local efforts for Texas and Louisiana in response to Hurricane Harvey by calling in “460 National Disaster Medical System staff, including community doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from around the country, to be in place ahead of the storm and ready to respond when and where needed.”
So much for all that “stand at work” idea. A new study by the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that “workers who stand on the job most of the time are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit.”
The article on EHS Today shows the Oxford study was very thorough, taking into account age and existing health conditions.
“Even after adjusting for a wide range of factors – personal (e.g. age, gender, education levels, ethnicity, immigrant status, marital status); health conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, mood and anxiety disorders); health behavior (e.g. smoking, drinking, body mass index, exercise); and work (e.g. physical demands, shift schedule) – the risk of heart disease still was twice as high among people who primarily stood on the job compared to those who primarily sat. In fact, the unadjusted risk of heart disease among people who stood on the job even was slightly higher than among daily smokers (5.8 percent).”
That’s really scary. Prolonged standing at work is more dangerous than smoking.
To quote Kurt Russel’s character Gabriel Cash in the 1989 movie “Tango and Cash”…. this is FUBAR. Big time.
Tropical storm Harvey is bearing down on the Texas valley, and it’s gaining strength every minute it spends traveling the gulf.
Right now, the storm is expected to dump 24 – 48 inches of rain over 3 days inland and winds are expected to hit 75 mph. Parts of the Texas coast are anticipating four feet of rain as the storm makes landfall.
According to NOAA, it looks like the Texas Valley might get a hurricane in the next five days.
Even though the storm is just a remnant of “Harvey” right now, NOAA expects it to gain strength once it passes the Peninsula. How long it stays in the gulf will make all the difference on how hard it hits.
If you are stuck live in the Texas valley, stock up at HEB or Costco or WalMart ASAP. Flashlights, batteries, tarps, groceries and water are going to vanish once the news outlets pick this up tomorrow night.
In semi-related news, I’m curious if this hurricane will get any press north of San Antonio once it manifests.
This one kicked my spider-sense into overdrive. An article on Government Executive (and mirrored on Federal Soup) says “The president of the Professional Services Council (PSC), which represents 400 services and information technology organizations that provide services to federal agencies, said contractors should now begin planning for a government shutdown.”
There have been six government shutdowns in the past 36 years. 1981 (one day), 1984 (one afternoon), 1986 (one afternoon), 1990 (two days over the Columbus day weekend), 1995-1996 (twenty seven days) and in 2013 (fifteen days). The majority of them were based on “concerns” between a divided executive and legislative branch (Republicans and Democrats on alternate sides of the coin) that were eventually resolved.
So why the early red flag over a government that currently has a majority party in control of the House, Senate and Executive office?
David Berteau, “who served for 14 years at the Defense Department before becoming president of the Professional Services Council… speculated Congress would likely pass some sort of spending bill to avoid a shutdown in October, but did not guess as to whether President Trump would sign it.”
Ah hah. In other words, all bets are off.
The PSC is already putting plans in motion for an October 2nd shutdown and urging that contractors “should also begin to think through questions such as how they will notify their employees of a stop work order, their ability to pay employees while not receiving government reimbursements, whether they will be able to enter a federal facility even if their work is slated to continue and what tasks will not continue once federal employees are furloughed.”
October second would be the day the doors close if the shutdown takes place this year. If you know someone that would be affected by another government shutdown, you might want to tell them the PSC is already sounding the alarm.