Waco Goes Wild West

Speaking of Mad Max, there was some real Sons of Anarchy action this weekend:  nine dead and eighteen injured (no bystanders or cops) at what's being described as a five-gang battle at a "Twin Peaks" restaurant on Highway 35.  Police closed down the whole market area that included the Twin Peaks franchise, as well as some downtown streets and two bridges over the Brazos River.

That's more casualties than I usually expect from a news item about a dust-up.  These guys weren't just blowing off steam in a fight that got a little out of hand:  there was concentrated and effective murder.

The emphasis in a lot of reports is on "bikers," but I'd put it on "gangs."  Waco does appear to respond aggressively to this kind of thing.  There's certainly no talk of "space to destroy."


Cass said...

Yeah, any time you have somewhere around 100 bullets in a shopping area (by about 30 guns, if this account turns out to be accurate), I'd say that's a bit of a public safety problem :p

In all fairness, I don't think this could be described as any kind of protest "speech" - it seems to be simple criminal activity.

Grim said...

It sounds like it started as a dispute over a parking space. So it wasn't -- as the high body count might suggest -- a premeditated ambush of a rival club. These guys just were very good at killing each other once they got started.

Or else the responding officers were very good at killing. It's not clear where the bullets in those 9 guys came from yet.

As for the other point you make, yes: I don't think my motorcycle club (the American Legion Riders) is very likely to shoot up a bar. Presumably it'd be a hell of a thing if they did, though, given the source of the membership.

Texan99 said...

Hair triggers, good markmanship, and lack of scruples makes for a high body count. Well, at least they confined the damage to their own membership. If they could be counted to keep that up, they'd be a self-limiting problem.

Gringo said...

I visited my uncle in Daytona during Biker Week. The locals told me that they preferred the bikers to the college students. The bikers were better behaved and spent more money. Guess that Waco people may not agree, especially since Waco's exposure to college students is mainly limited to those of "Thee University," a.k.a. Baylor, a different constituency compared to students on Spring Break in Daytona.

Texan99 said...

Well, there are bikers and bikers. Some good friends of mine, staid and elderly types, solid citizens with a strong sense of fun but no taste for danger, recently were married after decades of living together. They held their reception at a friendly bikers' bar in New Mexico.

Grim said...

You get the outlaws (literally, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club) at Daytona too, along with the vast majority of bikers who are non-club members or belong to other sorts of clubs. Almost all of the time, they're less destructive than a mob of drunken college kids. Almost all the time.

An old friend of mine is one of the bouncers at the Highlander bar in Atlanta, which is a major Outlaws MC hangout (as well as for the Black Pistons MC, which is an Outlaw support club). The place somehow manages to go un-burned and non-shot-up year after year.

The real danger is a situation like this, where rival clubs are in conflict. The ethic won't let them back down, and points toward escalation: if a fight starts, everyone is supposed to jump in. None of that stuff from 'The Quiet Man,' although that would be useful: "Gentlemen, this is a private fight. Nonbelligerents will kindly remain neutral. Marquess of Queensbery rules will be observed on all occasions. I thank you."

If they did that, nobody would really even have a problem with them occasionally fighting among themselves. It's this propensity for a disagreement over a parking space to turn into a massive gunfight that people object to, and not without reason.

Cass said...

The real danger is a situation like this, where rival clubs are in conflict. The ethic won't let them back down, and points toward escalation: if a fight starts, everyone is supposed to jump in.

Ok, I'll bite. You've spent a fair amount of time over the years writing about institutions and the ethos (plural???) that drive them.

So what can we conclude about any organization whose ethos is "Never back down"?

People do rash/foolish things all the time. I've always thought anyone over the mental age of 5 should have learned that sometimes you need to be able to back down.

Cass said...

...but then The Quiet Man is one of my favorite movies :)