About a month ago I had a chance to talk with a fellow locksmith from up north in Yankee land, Tom Lynch. He’d come across some articles posted on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s web site and wanted to know more about us. Mostly he wanted permission to re-print some articles as they fit in with the philosophy of his organization, the Society of Professional Locksmiths.
A week or so later he called and asked me to take a look at their on line magazine, SecuritySentinel (April 2012 edition), where he’d posted one of my articles. I have to say the ego trip was worth having to buy a larger hat size; their publication matches or exceeds that of ALOA’s magazine, Keynotes.
Interestingly, the article Tom Lynch selected had been offered for publication in other locksmith trade magazines, to include Keynotes; but was rejected without explanation. Could my Open letter to all locksmiths have been turned down because the article questioned the motives of locksmith licensing and never ending bureaucracy which now has taken over the locksmith industry, the very agenda pushed by ALOA. These trade organizations claim to be open minded; yea, right…that and seventy five cents might get a cold can of soda out of the nearest machine.
I’ve butted heads with national and local trade organizations for years and been ignored for holding a different opinion regarding licensing of our industry. That’s why Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America was started in the first place. It’s refreshing to find a well organized and professional group of like minded locksmiths up and running; one which I can refer fellow locksmith to as an alternative.
You don’t have to throw your ALOA membership in the trash as an act of defiance as I did. After paying dues to ALOA for over 30 years they don’t even acknowledge my long standing “RL” status; as if they were the only authority in the industry.
You might have noticed the letters “GSP” after my name when articles were published. That started off as a joke, something to take the place of “RL”. Not too many folks know what “GSP” stands for; well you’re fixin’ to find out as they say around these parts.
When I was starting out as an apprentice I worked for free, obtaining only knowledge and skills as payment for labors at the shop. Jim Reed, the locksmith who took me under his wing, would throw me a “bone” at the end of my Saturday training; a job he knew I could handle as incentive. Reed’s daughter Patty, also an accomplished locksmith, would chide me for taking the “easy jobs” and, since I was still employed as a police officer for the City of Houston, she called me a Gravy Sucking Pig and waited to see if it would offend my delicate nature. It did not; actually her words sounded like a compliment to my warped cop sense of humor.
I recommend individual locksmiths get behind and support the Society of Professional Locksmiths; become a member, pay your dues or contribute in some way to build up this association. In the not too distant future, as in the past, being a member of a large well funded organization will mean the difference between being able to apply your skills as an independent locksmith or finding you’re no longer permitted because some lobbyist manipulated a bureaucrat and regulated you out of business. It’s your choice.
The Moral Liberal’s Senior Editor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.