Don Hamrick
The Pioneering Patriot-Seamen!
Defender of Second Amendment Rights of American Merchant Seamen as
A Vital Function of the Common Defence Clause in
The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

Yeah! I’m Braggin!
And I Have Every Right to Brag!

Where are THEY(!) for Second Amendment Rights on the Maritime Front? 

THEY(!) Were NOT at the NMSAC Public Meeting to Defend the
Second Amendment Rights of American Merchant Seamen!


I will limit the topics of this article to my own personal views on the Transportation Worker’s Identification Credentail (TWIC) card and Second Amendment rights of seamen in intrastate, interstate and maritime travel.

I leave all the other topics that were discussed at the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) public meeting held April 12 and 13, 2011 hosted by the American Bureau of Shipping in Roslyn, Virginia to John C. Bennett’s blog MPS at Maritime Protective Services, Inc.

Because Mr. John Schwartz, TSA’s TWIC Program Manager had a conflicting appointment for his afternoon scheduled appearance at the NMSAC meeting Capt. Jeff Monroe, NMSAC’s Chairman juggled the schedule to allow Mr. John Schwartz to speak to the Committee that morning. After Mr. John Schwartz spoke to the Committee and just as he was preparing to leave I approached Mr. Schwartz and handed him the printed article by John A.C. Cartner, [TWIC] Identity Card is US Maritime Hobgoblin, Lloyds List, Frebruary 15, 2011, and told him this article is opposition to the TWIC Program. Mr. Schwartz glanced at me and said he did not know there was any opposition to the TWIC Program and not waiting for this to become a conversation he continued his exiting the public meeting. Out the door he went. As I returned to my seat I saw Committee member Earl Agron, Vice President of Security and Environment, APL Limited, Oakland, Califonria had overheard Mr. Schwartz’ admission. He grinned and remarked the he, himself, is surprised that no one else has opposed the TWIC Program. The people at the TSA and the BATFE would provide interesting case studies for GROUPTHINK, and Cultural Neuroscience into the behavioral patterns of government bureaucrats creating useless and wasteful programs as if funding is a limitless burden on the taxpayers with no voice for objections.




Think Enron.

R.G. Edmonson, Lawmakers Investigate Biometric ID Failures: TSA Officials Snub Transportation Committee Hearing on Worker Credentialing, The Journal of Commerce Online, April 15, 2011:

Transportation Security officials were no-shows at a hearing Thursday on transportation worker credentialing, but Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said he would find other means to compel their testimony.

The hearing was to examine a “diary of failures” in efforts by the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to produce workable biometric identification cards for air crews and port workers.

TSA has issued some 1.6 million Transportation Worker Identification Credentials since 2007, but missed an April 2009 deadline for deploying electronic devices that would read fingerprint data embedded on the card. TSA also has not published a final rule outlining the technical specifications for the reader.

The committee noted that in six years the FAA has yet to issue photo/biometric cards for pilots. Margaret Gilligan, deputy administrator for aviation safety, told the committee the agency hopes to have a final rule for the credential within a year.

The committee invited TSA chief John Pistole and TWIC program manager John Schwartz to testify. Mica said he was disappointed they did not appear. He said he would consult with the House Homeland Security Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which he is a member, to find a way to force TSA testimony.

“I can assure you that we will have TSA testifying … at a joint future hearing to again try to get some responsiveness from an agency that for some reason does not want to respond or participate,” Mica said. “A huge amount of taxpayer money has been expended. You would think that we could have some better response from the agency that is primarily charged with this.”


See also, John A.C. Cartner, US Security Rule is a Curse on Seafarers, Lloyds List, April 20, 2011. Trial registration required. (MS Word version here.)

Second Amendment Rights of American Merchant Seamen

Since I was the only one at the NMSAC public meeting to talk about Second Amendment rights of American merchant seamen, and because it is, to my knowledge, the first time the topic of Second Amendment rights of American merchant seamen that included the subject of the gap in the transition between local, state and federal laws and regulations and maritime laws between intrastate/interstate travel and maritime travel and because the NRA, SAF, GOA, JPFO, and every other Second Amendment advocacy group (Bad groups! Slap the back side of each of their heads for their stupidity) failed to attend this public meeting I can legitimately stake my claim for publicity purposes to being the “pioneering patriot seaman defending the Second Amendment rights of American seamen as a vital function of the Common Defence clause in the Preamble to the Constitutioln of the United States.”

When the time came for me to speak to the Committee I gave a concise and accurate assessment of the feasibility of mainstreaming the National Open Carry Handgun aspect of Second Amendment rights of American merchant seamen under current federal laws and regulations into identity cards like the Merchant Mariner’s Credential, CDL for truckdrivers, state drivers licenses, and the TWIC (if the decide to ignore my recommendation to abolish the TWIC Program as something this country cannot afford with an out-of-control spending budget) by adding a couple of data fields to the National Drivers Register at the federal level. This method of mainstreaming the National Open Carry aspect of the Second Amendment as a legal norm cascading into becoming a social norm trumps the NRA’s National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry.

Capt. Jeff Monroe’s concern with my view of Second Amendment rights of seamen aboard a U.S. flag merchant vessel was what my view was for firearms aboard ship. I explained that the proper treatment the U.S. Government must give to the Second Amendment rights of American merchant seamen is to establish a Federal Preemption of local and state gun control laws that interfere with and/or prohibit interstate travel of American merchant seamen with their firearms traveling intrastate or interstate to and from U.S. flag merchant vessels ported in the United States. Then upon a seaman’s arrival at the port and subsequently at the gangway of the vessels, the seaman is then required by maritime law to relinquish his firearms to the master of the vessels for safekeeping only to be issued during the voyage if and only if the need for self-defense against pirate attacks on the highseas or for small arms training at the captain’s discretion. This is the traditional understanding of maritime law. Capt. Jeff Monroe acknowledged with his agreement to my understanding of maritime law, or so I percieved by his facial expressions and body language.

With that said, I left the Committee meeting.

John A.C. Cartner, [TWIC] Identity Card is US Maritime Hobgoblin, Lloyds List, February 15, 2011:

For a US seafarer, a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or “TWIC Card” or just “TWIC”, is a necessary accoutrement. It gives the warm feeling that things are under control. The TWIC was imposed by the Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the Transportation Security Administration. These are the blank faces of the organs of state security that seafarers encounter.

The TWIC is an obscenely expensive, delusional and nakedly bizarre failure. It wastes billions of unaffordable dollars, and it does not demonstrably increase the security of ports, vessels or people. It should be abolished now.

Other existing and proven methods can readily be used. Those methods are run by people knowledgeable about maritme. The TWIC is all about misguided bureacrats, technology, lobbyists and money searching for a mission.

There is full fallacy in the TWIC exercise. In philosophy it is called the foundational fallacy. One cannot rely on arguments coming from a complex foundation of facts or events. The argument must fail. Why? One cannot account for every variation in the future from the time the foundation was laid. Fatal errors unavoidably creep in and persist.

The TWIC, which is supposed to be perfected to keep theoretical terrorists from theoretical ports, will always fail.

The TSA crowd knows nothing about the industry. it administers cosy contracts with equally unknowing contractors.

Thus it came to pass that the TSA became the Monty Python of seaports. Existing and proven systems would have worked with minimal tinkering. The professional US Coast Guard should run all port security programmes. Never min easily done record searches or common sense. But Congress listened to the lobbyists: we dullard wharf rats cannot possibly understand technology.

As American lecturer, essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, pointed out, that the hobgoblin of little minds lies in dull and mindless routine. The TWIC is a maritime hobgoblin reified in the TSA.

The leading contractor for the TWIC was defence aeroplane manufacturer Lockheed-Martin. The aim was not to help anti-terrorism but to bring another $1bn in revenue by selling a bill of goods for things unproven.

Lockheed understood the foundational fallacy – if a  computer can do it, it will be effective and therefore good, and therefore solves the probllem – with sufficient funds.

Then the geeks designing the TWIC ignored federal guidelines for identification cardes. The initial system was so cumbersome that it took a PhD in computer science to obtain a password for the website to register.

The inevitable cost excesses came. A tactic of every defence contractor is to buy in at low cost and them make up the losses by change orders. Lockheed held the government hostage for work done.

Then the reports of civil liberties abuses arose. Government auditing arms found TWIC a near-disaster. Recently came the strident shouting of TSA Administrator John Pistole, the FBI hack who proclaimed “We will not back down!” when the public protested at airport genital gropings. We await that tactic in ports with interest.

Clearly, neither the empress nor her king has clothes when Mr. Pistole and the speechifying Secretary Janet Napolitano say all is well with the TWIC.

The technology for a TWIC card reader cannot be produced and will not be for years. Every credit card company has secure card readers. They deal in the real world of commerce, not the fear-mongering world of TSA Cassandras. They also accept reasonable risks of fraud. Why cannot the TSA and its contractor bedfellows produce a reader that works?

The security response to the need is not rocket science. The TSA clearly needs brains and not more defence technology to hide its bovine mooing and ovine bleating.

Other abuses came. If a name did not fit a form devised in 1898, the TSA made one up. Hyphens? Un-American. Two middle initials? Un-American. All this was for the enlightenment of a gate guard at 0300 hrs in the driving rain to read, vet and compare to other credentials. No match. You do not come in. TSA idiocy.

The pressure was put on. Assaults by contractor clerks were reported when applications pointed out that the card was false identification when not conforming to credentials. Criminal complaints have been said to have been diverted for “national security”.  A DHS spokesman reportedly said: “If that is your name, you do not get a TWIC.” A DHS mouthpiece telling a certificated seafarer his livelihood is endangered because of a wrong form of his name on a TWIC card? Unbridled hubris.

Then there is biometry, the supposed keystone. No one can define, measure, put it on a card or read it electronically accurately all the time to compare to the outdated databases run by the security weenies. No one has figured out how to make it comply with the international objectives for seafarer identification.

The TWIC is useless outside the US. In the US, reports are legion of airport TSA automatons rejecting it. One report says it is unacceptable for entering U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.

The problem is not port security, it is the TWIC programme. It was and is a failure. It promises but gives nothing except false security, press releases and only attracts ridicule. One should not sleep better at night knowing John Pistole is on watch.

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