This may come as a bit of a surprise to my Gentle Readers, but I tend to have something of a complex regarding the minimum knowledge base required for certain jobs.
Anyone occupying a job position should demonstrate a base amount of knowledge before being entrusted with that position, and they should endeavour to maintain -- even expand -- that knowledge base.
As a "for instance" let us contemplate peace officers and gun store clerks.
I do not see why we should not expect our peace officers to exhibit some kind of base knowledge regarding the laws of the State in which they are commissioned. In this case, the Great State of Texas.
In the same vein, I do not see why we can not expect gun store clerks to have some kind of familiarity with the gun laws of the State. Again, in this case, The Great State of Texas.
Obviously, I am somewhat mistaken.
I say this, because as I was purchasing the latest addition to my gun safe, a customer to my left asked the clerk who was ringing up his purchase -- a rather nice Tikka bolt-action in .243 -- what Texas laws covered the transport home of his purchase.
To my absolute disbelief the clerk replied -- without missing a beat -- that in Texas a rifle could be in the passenger compartment as long as 1) the rifle was unloaded and; 2) you weren't further than forty miles from your home.
My jaw just about hit the floor. I was in the process of deciding whether I really wanted to jump into this discussion with all four feet, when the clerk looks past me to the fully-uniformed officer to my right and says, "Isn't that right, officer?"
This officer, wearing the uniform of a very large department in North Texas solemnly intoned: "Weapons laws in Texas are very complicated. As long as you unload your rifle, and lock it in the trunk of the car, you'll satisfy all the requirements of Texas Law regarding rifles."
I just about lost it. My vision greyed out, and I heard a ringing in my ears. Somewhere, angels wept bitter tears.
I bit my tongue until the clerk had swiped my debit card, then I announced, apropos of nothing, "Texas laws regulate the length of rifles and provide a very short, very specific list of places where they may not be carried. Texas law makes no mention -- whatsoever -- of the loaded or unloaded condition of the rifle, nor does it mention anything about car trunks or being 40 miles from home."
The officer looked at me and said, very gently, "I've been an officer for 25 years."
Y'all should be proud of me. I just about almost said, "Congratulations. In that quarter-century of service have you discovered that we're supposed to be reading the Penal Code, instead of eating it?"
Instead, I replied -- equally as gently -- "I've been a peace officer for 14, and I teach the Penal Code and CCP."
It was, however, a close thing.
Mu answer brought any further conversation to a close and I took the opportunity to depart the store with my latest acquisition.
Sweet shivering Shiva ... is it too much to ask that people who are supposed to be familiar with the law actually -- you know -- read it?! How the hell is an officer supposed to arrest for the violation of a law when he clearly has no clue what is -- or isn't -- the law.
And for Thor's sake, if you're a gun store clerk and someone asks you about gun laws -- actually know what you're talking about before you open your mouth and show your arse, mm'kay? It's not so difficult to say the words, "To be honest, I don't know" when you're clueless.
Try it. "To be honest, I don't know." See? Simple.