About 500 Harley riders convened outside the McLennan County Courthouse yesterday seeking justice for the nine men who were killed in a parking lot on May 17; justice for the approximately 17 men who were wounded; for the ten more who were less severely injured; for the 176 people who were indiscriminately rounded like runaway slaves; and for the 125 or so who remain in jail. Some of the demonstrators may have also wished for justice for the men who gunned the victims down like mad dogs, and justice for the heartless and stupid public officials who have falsely imprisoned and ruined scores of lives and who have been lying about what happened in that parking lot ever since.
Those 500 Harley riders were too late. There will never be justice for what happened in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant. The opportunity for justice was lost when yahoo cops and a yahoo justice of the peace told 176 people they had to stay in jail until the could each raise $1 million bail. If anybody with a pay grade higher than Waco police sergeant gave a damn about justice they would have put a stop to this farce then.
The Waco Massacre illustrates at least two things that have gone profoundly wrong in America. American police think they have been assigned a mission to punish anyone who talks back to authority; and the press, which is professionally obliged to talk back to authority, has turned out to be a big, old, toothless whore.
There have been more than enough publically stated accounts of what happened that early afternoon in Waco to piece together a straightforward narrative. Either the Bandits or the Cossacks started it. A large number of Cossack and Scimitar Motorcycle Club members showed up for a side meeting with some smaller number of Bandidos at a Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents brunch. Everyone knows what the side meeting was about, particularly the ATF. It was about territory and who could and who could not wear a Texas bottom rocker and how and when. There is no reason to be cute about this here. This is what the Department of Justice thinks already.
“The Bandidos saw the Dirty Dozen patch over to the Angels in Arizona,” a very informed biker cop says. He has probably said this to every other biker cop in America by now. “The Bandidos don’t want the Cossacks to patch over to the Angels in Texas. The Bandidos will never allow that to happen. They won’t. They’ll never give up Texas.” The professional police are not always entirely wrong.
So in that context, the two clubs planned a meeting in what should have been a safe, neutral, location. And for whatever reason, before that frank and honest exchange of ideas could occur, one or two or three men pulled guns and one or two of them opened fire on the opposite club. A particularly pervasive rumor argues that one Bandido went insane and killed three Cossacks and injured a fourth. Another popular rumor says that a Cossack shot a Bandido and another Cossack brandished or fired a second gun. And, neither of those versions makes sense. They are both possible. There have been multiple shootings at toy runs. There have been large and nasty brawls in public places. But in the motorcycle club world it is aberrant for two clubs that have agreed to talk to start shooting each other instead. That would have been the whole point of meeting at a place like the Twin Peaks – to talk in a neutral location.
Indisputably the police can’t tell the difference between a Cossack, a Bandido, a Son of the South, a Vietnam Vet, a Biker for Jesus and a HOG member. Indisputably, the Waco police and Texas state police were there looking for trouble. The event was surrounded by at least 22 police. At least four of them came armed with FN P90 submachine guns (see photo above) and some number of police officers on scene appear to have been armed with a kind of gee whiz handgun called the FN Five-Seven which also fires very light, (sometimes) plastic core, 5.7×28mm rounds. Secret Service agents assigned to the Presidential Protective Division are issued P90s and Five-Sevens. There are several variations of the 5.7×28mm round. Anecdotes by survivors suggest that one or more of the FN P90s was sound suppressed and fired a subsonic 5.7×28mm round called the SB193.
The FN P90- submachine gun fires about 900 rounds per minute or 15 rounds per second. A persistent rumor states that “hundreds of rounds” were fired.
After a Bandido or a Cossack pulled a gun and shot somebody some number of police on the perimeter opened fire. The math is elementary. If 26 people were shot and a Bandido or a Cossack or Bandidos and Cossacks shooting together shot between one and five of them how many people did the police shoot? Anyone? Anyone who went to journalism school? Anyone who went to law school?
The police know what they did. So does the FBI and particularly the ATF which is in the firearms regulation business and classifies the 5.7×28mm as an “armor piercing round.” Two varieties of the 5.7×28mm round are available to civilians in the United States. They are called the “SS195LF” and “SS197SR.” The ATF exists to identify the difference between an “SS195LF” and an “SB193.” ATF agents are good at that. That’s why they all make $200,000 a year.
The Dallas Morning News reported this morning that Waco police have “declined to release detailed reports from that day, saying they are still awaiting ballistic reports.” That is clearly a lie and the Morning News should be scolded for repeating it.
Preliminary autopsy reports, which are preliminary only in that some toxicology reports are pending, were completed within 24 hours of the Waco Massacre. For weeks, police have intentionally hid from the press the number of people who were killed or wounded with 5.7×28mm rounds that were not “SS195LF” or “SS197SR” and which, consequently, would have been fired by police. All the spent cartridges that littered the area of the Waco Massacre were collected within 24 hours. Every vehicle that might have been hit by a police round has been examined by now.
Last Friday a McLennan County prosecutor claimed there was video evidence that Cossacks and Bandidos were executing each other. His exact words were that the video showed “Bandidos executing Cossacks and Cossacks executing Bandidos.” While at least 22 policemen watched? How many did the police execute? When in the course of a journalist’s career is it appropriate to breach the boundary of dispassionate civility and ask rude questions like this?
A reasonable person might find it probable that the mass arrests, the sterilization of an acres large crime scene and the cloud of confusion created by official police spokesman W. Patrick Swanton were part of a deliberate conspiracy to hide official culpability, demonize law abiding motorcycle enthusiasts and cynically aggrandize the Waco police. It is probable that police at the scene of the Waco Massacre committed multiple crimes and continue to be guilty of at least obstruction of justice.
Justice has already been denied for the scores of innocent bystanders who remain imprisoned because they are pawns in a cruel, official game. The time has passed for United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Waco Massacre and its aftermath. It no longer matters. Public trust in this investigation has already been squandered. Justice delayed is justice denied.
In a rare moment of candor in an informal pretrial hearing a few years ago a very decent District Court Judge named David O. Carter said, “If the people knew what goes on here they would burn the courthouse down.” Yesterday’s demonstrators in Waco brought signs. They should have brought torches.