Monday, May 18, 2015

‘Twin Peaks,’ Ten Freaks (Actually, Nine): Bikers Killed In Brawl In Waco Restaurant Parking Lot

AP via TPM:

WACO, Texas (AP) — A shootout among rival biker gangs at a popular Texas restaurant left nine people dead and 18 others injured, a police spokesman said on Sunday, sending panicked patrons and bystanders fleeing for safety.

The violence erupted shortly after noon at a busy Waco marketplace along Interstate 35 that draws a large lunchtime crowd. Waco, Texas police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said eight people died at the scene of the shooting at Twin Peaks restaurant and another person at a hospital. He told the Waco Tribune-Herald that the nine killed were all members of biker gangs.

Yes, there's a reason people call that city "Wacko" ... though I don't believe the city is to blame for this exceptionally violent crime. What does surprise me is the biker gangs: when I was a youth of about 30, the bikers I knew were, by and large, ordinary contributing members of society who liked to dress tough and make loud noises as part of their weekend recreation. Though I never rode, I used to go for Sunday morning breakfast at one of the local eateries favored by bikers, which at the time was called Phil's; despite hundreds of cycles parked outside and even more rough-clad bikers chowing down inside, there was simply no trouble from the biker groups... I wouldn't call them "gangs" because I saw no evidence of any criminal behavior. They even politely queued up and waited for their tables, ate their gigantic platefuls of bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes and very greasy dinner rolls ("these are the times that fry men's rolls," I used to say, though never to them), donned helmets (well, many of them did), got on their bikes and left with a roar that sounded like Indy cars at a race track... all without making trouble. How the times have changed!

I suppose the latest biker sticker reads, "If you ain't Harley, you ain't shot, or knifed, or bludgeoned..."


  1. I just knew you would have something to say on this. I wonder how many have police bullets in them?

    1. fallenmonk, in fairness, there are bikers and there are bikers. Those I have known and been around are peaceable folk, and would be peaceable with or without a Harley between their legs. Obviously this Waco gathering was of violent people who carry... and use... weapons as a matter of habit, and they probably would do so with or without their affiliation with biker groups, but it certainly seemed easy for them to use those weapons in the context of a gang rivalry. It's the generalization applied to all bikers that bugs me: the fact that some of them are criminals and hang out with criminal gangs does not apply to all bikers, and neither the media nor the police should be making such unwarranted generalizations. All I ask is justice duly applied where it's appropriate, and not where it's not.

    2. I dunno; maybe I should have left this one well enough alone... someone is sure to misinterpret whatever I say as meaning something I never actually meant. I am just so very, very tired of both the quantity of violence in American life these days, and the lurid focus on that violence in the American media. Americans, it seems, have become violence voyeurs. Yecch!



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