What has always been most despicable about the Twin Peaks tragedy is that a little clique or hick politicians have been allowed to violate the contract that has always existed between Americans and their government. We owe our government our loyalty, obedience and sometimes the blood of our sons. Our government owes us our basic human rights including, but not limited to, our liberty and our property.
The notion that the English speaking peoples should only be punished when they break the law rather than at the whim of some bloated toad like McLennan County prosecutor Abelino Reyna was first codified when England’s worst king ever, the only one named John, was forced by his subordinates to sign a document called the Magna Carta or “Great Charter.”
While the story of the “Battle of Twin Peaks” has always been presented by both Waco officials and the world’s press as a blood soaked, television melodrama nobody except the Breitbart News Network – which all the rest of the American press detests – seems to understand that the melodrama is an idée fixe. The real story is that the aftermath of the “Battle” resulted in a complete abrogation of the 800-year-old idea that we should be ruled by rules and not by madmen.
Why Reyna and his assistant stooges, and Judge Matt Johnson, and Justice of the Peace Walter H. “Pete” Peterson acted like lunatics is anybody’s guess. Maybe there is a method to their madness. Maybe they are just mad. The fact remains that they are all either ignorant of or contemptuous of the most ancient and revered laws in our history.
A Little History
The Magna Carta of 1215 declared, “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”
In 1354 the greatest English King, Edward III, codified this provision of the Magna Carta as, “No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law.”
This idea of “due process” was so inherent to Anglo-Saxon justice that 400 years after Edward III died, due process became part of the Bill of Rights, the Constitutional elaboration of our self-evident human rights. The Fifth Amendment states in part that “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
About seven hours after the exchange of gunfire between some few members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, some few members of other motorcycle clubs and police, Reyna ordered the arrests of 177 people. Most of them were victims. One hundred fifty-four men have since been indicted in what can only be described as a mockery of the grand jury system. The threat of indictment hangs over another 40 victims of the “Battle.”
And in the days after the arrests scores of vehicles were impounded, Most of them were released within a month, often because the people who drove or rode them to the restaurant that day didn’t have clear title to them. “I received a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle for possible forfeiture involving this case at Twin Peaks,” a Waco cop named Vincent Glenn wrote in June. “During my investigation, I discovered the motorcycle has a lien on it. I confirmed the validity of the lien through the lien holder, Unity One Credit Union. I released the vehicle on 6-10-15. At this time, we will not be seeking forfeiture on this bike.”
Some of the vehicles seized by police went to lien holders and the people who had been paying for them never saw them again. Four hundred eighty-five days after the event, Waco police are still holding 16 motorcycles and 10 trucks seized from people who have never been proven to have committed any crime. The forfeiture proceedings have become something both dead and unborn – rotting Waco and the state of Texas from the inside out. The forfeiture proceedings cannot continue until the owners of the vehicles can somehow be connected to the violence. They can’t be connected until Reyna reveals the evidence that supports his claims. There is no evidence. The claims are imaginary. Therefore the case can’t end until Reyna and his former law partner Johnson either lose an election or allow the accused to spend a fortune proving their innocence.
Even The Waco Trib
Even the Waco Tribune-Herald, which has so far been a cheerleader for this Constitution burning, has noticed. Over the weekend, Tommy Witherspoon told the tale of 42-year-old Diego Obledo who stuffed a copy of the New Testament in his pocket and drove his fully paid-off, 2009 Toyota Venza to the Twin Peaks. When the shooting started he hid behind his car. He was arrested and spent 15 days in jail because he was wearing a Bandidos tee shirt under the shirt with the New Testament in the pocket. He also had a Valerosos Motorcycle Club tee shirt in his car. He lost his home, he lost his job and the city of Waco still has his SUV.
Obledo’s truck and the other vehicles were impounded by Waco with the intention that they would eventually be sold so the money could be given to the police department.
There is a significant body of case law that recognizes the concept of “substantive” as well as “procedural” due process. Most of the cases define legitimate and illegitimate uses of “police power authority.” Legitimate police power authority cannot be “arbitrary and unreasonable” and it can only be used to further a legitimate “public interest.”
Seasons change. Presidential candidates come and go. The news cycle grinds great tragedies into puffs of dust. Apparently no judge or elected official will ever think that what Reyna and his crew did was arbitrary and unreasonable. Apparently no one need ever explain to the public what their interest was when the police stole Diego Obledo’s Toyota.