They think big in Texas. Even in little Waco, population about 130- thousand. The crime rate there is big and tall. And the murder rate just grew a little to keep up with the robberies, burglaries, car thefts and rapes.
The motorcycle gangs and other religious zealots have a way of finding Waco which statistically is the ninth least safe city in America.
Make no mistake, Bikerism is a religion and one with many denominations. And as in other faiths, there are factions that don’t get along.
But the denominations are practical. They share a motto, “convert or die. Or maybe just die.”
Thus when a peace conference deteriorated into nine murders, a lot of us said “oh, that’s just Bikerists being Bikerists.”
Now the cops, some of whom are themselves Bikerists, have rounded up 170 people to charge with murder.
One hundred seventy “suspects.” They think big in Texas.
The arrest scene was peculiar. Where else would you find such a group of murderers sitting around smoking and talking on their cellphones and to one another? No one was thrown on the ground and cuffed. No one was Tasered or shot.
They can’t even get resisting arrest charges against these men. No one resisted.
Some have decided this is a good example of how police treat white people compared with how they treat African Americans.
“Oh, but wait,” you might say. “These are simply sportsmen who got together to knock heads and it has nothing to do with the way police treat people of differing races.”
Yes and no.
There’s no doubt there’s a difference -- generally -- in the way the races are treated. But at the same time, there isn’t.
In 1993, after a months- long standoff federal agents stormed the Branch Davidian compound near Waco. In the gunbattle that followed, four agents and six members of the cult or sect were killed and dozens wounded or injured. The compound was destroyed --razed-- by fire. White on white violence. Cop on civilian violence.
A few people who escaped the burning compound were arrested. They were cuffed. They were taken away in prowl cars and paddy wagons.
And yes, Bikers and The Branch are entirely different flavors of cuckoo. Each had its own brand of nastiness and neither should have been left to its own devices. Yet overreaction in ‘93 and underreaction now were not based entirely on race.
The events were separated by 22 years. But no matter, because both show there’s something about Waco.
-Here’s hoping the pope polishes up his spoken Italian so the next time he greets the head of a terrorist faux state we know whether he said “you are an angel of peace” or just “you could become an angel of peace.”
-Why don’t they make it easy on every driver by recalling every Takata airbag made since the invention of airbags?
-Reminder: tonight is David Letterman’s final broadcast.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015