8 Ball In The Wind

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Waco...Questions But No Answers

It is more than a little troubling.  The more I look into the events and stories surrounding the Waco tragedy, the more ominous things appear.  There is a familiar, consistent pattern that is being repeated again in Waco.  So many questions remain unanswered, and don't make sense compared to the way things normally have happened over the years.  At least, not without some major spin-work going on.

I keep going back over  the facts that Waco PD was given 'intelligence' about a brewing war between the Bandidos MC and the Cossacks MC, from an unnamed outside law enforcement agency.  Already that has at least one red flag raised.  Anytime law enforcement tends to refer to 'intelligence' from an anonymous agency, it has in my experience been highly suspect.  If not completely, at least partially fabricated by the "outside agency".

I am not a law enforcement officer, but I have friends and family who are career law enforcement.  I also have some military background, and am a life long student of history.  Here is the first question I have, that I have yet to be given, or been able to find, an answer to:
If the Waco PD, and the Texas Department of Public Safety were worried about a problem between the Bandidos and the Cossacks, where was the police vehicles following or helicopter surveillance that usually follows a large pack of 1%er Club members?

I mean the reports are between 50 and 70 Cossacks just rode into town and no law enforcement was following them?  Even though approximately two dozen officers were waiting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in case there was a violent incident?  One would expect law enforcement to at least want to have knowledge of the direction and number of possible participants in any expected confrontation.  But no, as far as I have been able to uncover, there was no surveillance of the Cossacks pack as it rolled into Waco.

Here's another thing that seems quite strange to me.  In this day and age of omnipresent security cameras, and phone cameras, no actual video showing the parking lot where the confrontation took place has come to light.  Part of this can be explained by the fact that 170 people were arrested, and their phones were seized.  No doubt any images or videos have been viewed by law enforcement.  As have their address books within the phones.  Law enforcement could easily acquire any footage showing the parking lot and restrict it due to the "ongoing investigation".

A third odd detail, is the Washington Post story quoting, in detail, a high ranking officer of a Cossacks chapter that was in the heart of the fighting.  What seems most odd about this, is the fact that if he was in the center of the fire fight, he didn't get wounded, and most oddly, didn't get arrested.  Did he somehow flee and elude arrest, while people who were already on the other side of the building were rounded up and incarcerated?  The possible reasons he wasn't picked up are many.  Including, he wasn't there, he wasn't actually a Cossack, he was a law enforcement informant, or worse yet, an undercover member of law enforcement (which would explain the way his side of things  sounds so much like a police report).

There isn't enough evidence one way or the other to discuss the events that led up to the shooting.  Including who fired the first shot, how long after it began did Waco PD open fire, how many of the dead and wounded were shot by law enforcement, etc.

What I do want to make a few points about is what has happened after the shooting.  Law enforcement knew this was a Texas Confederation of Clubs & Independents meeting.  So they knew it would be well attended by the Club community.  The fact that the security cameras inside the Twin Peaks showed police with "assault rifles" entering the front door within two minutes of the confrontation starting shows just how prepared they were.  They seized every person wearing a cut and a patch that was at the scene.  Each was charged with participating in organized crime activities, and given a $1 million bail.

These last two facts are the most disturbing.  But in my mind for different reasons.  This is the familiar pattern used by law enforcement when they are desperate to create a major case, and their evidence is limited.  The Federal authorities are the most practiced at this, but many local agencies have learned the lesson well.  It can be very profitable for law enforcement, and who doesn't love a load of money?  What is the pattern?  Create a situation, where there becomes a reason for an arrest.  Then overcharge the defendant, and set a punitively high bail.  Then after putting the pressure on while incarcerated, offer a plea agreement.

When you look at even a partial list of the Clubs that have members being detained, it seems as if ministers and veterans are an especially heinous threat to law and order.  Not exactly your typical "organized crime" types.  Not to mention the community service and family oriented clubs caught up in this.  It has been eleven days now, as I write this, and no one has been released or had their charges dismissed.  Something just isn't quite natural about not even one dismissal out of 170 Americans arrested.

Here is what I think, and this is solely my personal opinion, the COC&I meeting is where this all went down.  Experience has shown the government over decades it is difficult (though not impossible) to get a 1%er patch holder to turn rat and testify against his Club.  The vast majority of those arrested were not 1% Club members.  Could law enforcement be trying to squeeze some testimony from a member of another Club that could be leveraged against all of them, or just the COC itself?  If enough people cave in to a plea agreement and state they ran drugs for such and such a Club, or committed any number of offences (whether they did or not) it is possible that this could be used to bring the entire COC nationwide under some similar legal issues as the Mongols Nation is currently fighting against.

Whether this is happening in Waco, I cannot say.  But it certainly shows all the usual traits of a Federal based case building investigation.  Not about a shooting, or the deaths of nine Americans, or the injury of eighteen others.  But someone in law enforcement trying to prove that all motorcycle Clubs are illegal street gangs.  Whether they have to violate law, and shred the Constitution in the process.  Take a look at what is going on in Waco, and think about it.  Do you  REALLY believe 170 people all went to the Twin Peaks restaurant to participate in "organized crime activities" that were publicly promoted as a political meeting to discuss legislation and laws that affect the motorcycle and particularly the Club community?  Something just doesn't smell right.  With Waco PD in control of any news coming out on the story, the spin is still off track and suspicious.  Research this for yourself, and then you decide for yourself.  The Right to peacefully assemble, and to freely associate is a fundamental Right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Think it over, I am waiting to hear what you think too.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WTF Is Going On In Waco !?!

I just learned this morning, that the Waco PD is conducting the investigation of their own "three or four" officers who fired on the bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant.  Instead of having an outside department do so.  It appears also, that those same "three or four" officers are still on active duty instead of some form of 'administrative leave'.  The Waco PD's own spokesman can't even seem to admit how many officers opened fire on May 17th, or how many of the wounded and dead were shot by law enforcement bullets.  The more I look into this situation, the more heinous the behavior of the Waco PD seems.  170 Americans are being held on trumped up charges of "participating in organized crime",and given punitive bail of $1,000,000.00 each, simply because they were at the scene, and wearing leather and a patch.  There is no due process, just blanket arrests because you as a 'group' were deemed unworthy of Civil Rights by law enforcement.  This is WRONG, by any standard I was brought up by.
THIS IS AMERICA!!  We have a thing called the Constitution that applies to all citizens.  The Bill of Rights, and the other Amendments to the Constitution provide ALL AMERICANS with certain 'unalienable Rights'.  The right to peacefully assemble has been addressed by the US Supreme Court to be equal to the Rights of Free Speech, Freedom of The Press.

What follows is an excerpt from the blog "WICKED BITCH, BY BIKER AUTHOR AMY IRENE WHITE".  I have included photos from her blog, and you just need to click on the title of her blog site for the link to see the entire post.  Which I think is more than worth reading.

"Distorted MC is a new mom and pop motorcycle club in Texas. “Mom and Pop” means they are family oriented, all very close knit and loving and most club events are okay to bring the whole family. They are proud of their seven members and five ol ladies, who spend one hundred percent of their club time and money doing things to help children in need, clothes drives toy runs, and sponsoring families at Christmastime. The fact that this MC is very much NOT one of the hardcore clubs is that it allows women to become full patch wearers. Everyone in the biker community knows that women absolutely never under any circumstances are allowed to join clubs such as the Bandidos or the Hells Angels. That MC stands for “men’s club” in their opinions. Distorted is indeed a baby club, born only six months ago. They hadn’t even had time to wear the shine off their patches when their lives changed unexpectedly.

They all went to just another CoC meeting on another bright Texas Sunday afternoon. Julie Perkins, a full patch member, left her ol’ lady at home not feeling well and joined several of her club brothers, while Morgan English decided to attend the meeting at the last minute with her husband. The Distorted members were not in the immediate vicinity of the altercation or the shooting, by two separate accounts when they heard shots fired. They heard someone yell for them get down. Julie saw her friend from the Line Riders go down. The cops came in like swat with AK-47s and made them lay on the floor face down for quite some time. They were then taken outside where they had to sit around for several hours. Around 8 p.m. Julie messaged Kamala that they would be taken to a convention center to answer a few questions and then she would be home. This was the last she heard from Julie that night. The next morning it was on the news that the bikers had all been arrested. Over half of Distorted MC has been behind bars for over a week, including the two women, Julie and Morgan. They have all lost their jobs, vehicles, and reputations. Their club would have to gather an accumulative 6,000-6,000,000 to get them all out on bond. Morgan and her husband are both in jail, which has to be having a detrimental effect on their home and life."

Is this the America I grew up in?  The America whose Constitution I swore an oath to defend?  This sounds more like the actions of a totalitarian government which America has spent virtually her entire history opposing and seeking to destroy.  The more I look into this situation, the more incredulous I become.  If even a layperson like myself can see the injustice, and harm this incident has caused to American citizens exercising their First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble, why can't the Waco PD?  Surely there has been enough time in the nine days since this happened to be able to realize not everyone wearing leather and a patch is a criminal.  Or has this become a face saving exercise for Waco PD?

Research this yourself.  I urge you to make contact with officials in Texas to get those innocent of anything but being "a biker" released.  Call, Email, or Fax the following people, demanding the immediate release of all these innocent families, friends and patriots that are being held unlawfully in Waco, TX.:

White House of the Unites States  - Comments: 202-456-1111  Switchboard: 202-456-1414
TX Governor Greg Abbott - Phone - 512-463-2000 -  Email – governor@state.tx.us and general@gregabott.com  Fax – 512-463-1849 
TX Lt. Governor Dan Patrick - Phone – 512-463-0001 - Comment Line:  512-463-5342 Email – dan.patrick@ltgov.state.tx.us - Fax – 512-463-8668 
TX Secretary of the Senate Patsy Spaw - Phone – 512-463-0100 - Email – patsy.spaw@senate.state.tx.us - Fax – 512-463-6034
TX Supreme Court - Main Phone – 512-463-1312 - Fax – 512-463-1365
Texas Senator Brian Birdwell - Phone - 254-772-6225 - Fax 254-776-2843 - Email - brian.birdwell@senate.state.tx.us
Waco, TX Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr  - Phone – 254-299-2489 - Email – wacomayor@wacotx.gov - Fax – 254-750-8032
Waco, TX City Manager Dale Fisseler - Phone – 254-750-5640  Email – dalef@ci.waco.tx.us  Fax – 254-750-5880
Waco District Manager - Shelly Verlander - Phone 254-772-6225 Fax 254-776-2843
Waco Sheriff Parnell McNamara - Phone – 254-757-5000 - Email – McNamara@co.mclennan.tx.us
Waco Police Department - Phone – 254-750-7500
Waco Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna - Phone – 254-757-5084 - Fax – 254-757-5021
Waco District Judge Ralph Strother (19th) - Phone 254-757-5081
Waco District Judge Matt Johnson (54th) Phone 254-757-5051
Waco District Judge Gary Coley (74th) - Phone 254-757-5075
District Judge Jim Meyer (170th) - Phone 254-757-5045
District Judge Vicki Menard (414th) - Phone 254-757-5053

Together we can show the world, and ourselves, that America is still "The Land of The Free, and The Home of The Brave."

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Gang" Definitions

With all the talk about 'gangs' in the news this past week, I decided to look into what constitutes a "gang".
Before anyone jumps up and says I may not be giving the 'legal' definition, I am starting with the linguistic definition.  Or actually, 'definitions', because there are several in dictionaries.  As I looked through these definitions, it made me realize that depending on the definition, we could almost all be given the tag"gang member".  Here are some examples of what I mean:

According to Merriam-Webster, there are several definitions.

1. A group of criminals.  (This is rather vaguely what everyone thinks of when they hear the word. But how do you identify by looking at them if a person is a criminal?)

2. A group of young people who do illegal things together and who often fight against other gangs.  (This may be a fairly good definition of a youth 'street gang'.  But there was a broad spectrum of ages who were arrested both inside and outside of the Twin Peaks restaurant on May 17th.  So that definition doesn't quite work.  Also, don't you hate when a definition of a word uses another form of the same word to help define the meaning of the original word?)

3. A group of people who are friends and who do things together.  (Damn, that sort of describes a lot of the people who are reading this.  Don't we all, or most of us, have a group of people we are friends with and who we do things together with?  I must be a member of several 'gangs' then.  Because I know I have several groups of friends I do things together with.)

4. A group of persons working together.  (If you go by this definition, the Waco PD was another 'gang' in attendance at the Twin Peaks on May 17th.  As was all the members of the COC in attendance, and all the employees of Twin Peaks restaurant.)

Yahoo Dictionary has a couple of other definitions:

1.  A group of people who associate regularly on a social basis.  (Sounds like the Elks, the Moose, the VFW, the NRA, and so on could be considered 'gangs'.  They had better be careful or they might find themselves charged by law enforcement.)

2. To attack as an organized group.  (I don't know about you, but this would appear to describe the Waco PD during the incident at Twin Peaks restaurant.)

According to the National Gang Center a "criminal street gang' is:

“An ongoing group, club, organization, or association of five or more persons—
(A) that has as one of its primary purposes the commission of one or more of the criminal offenses described in subsection (c);
(B) the members of which engage, or have engaged within the past five years, in a continuing series of offenses described in subsection (c); and
(C) the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce.” 18 USC § 521(a)

So it appears the prime definition of a 'gang' is (according to Federal law) that their criminal offenses and activities affect interstate or foreign commerce? If that is the case, then how does a motorcycle club of vintage custom bike builders in Waco, TX affect "interstate or foreign commerce"?  Yet their members are among those arrested and held on $1 million bond on 'participating in organized crime" charges.

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) defines a gang as:

 “A group of three or more persons with a common interest, bond, or activity characterized by criminal or delinquent conduct.”

Depending on how tightly the NCIC and law enforcement wishes to consider 'criminal' conduct, this definition could include a wide range of groups.  Forty-three states and Washington DC have legal definitions of 'gangs'.  Thirty-four states define a gang as consisting of three or more persons.  Twenty-seven states include a common name, identifying sign, or symbol as identifiers of gangs in their definitions.  Thirty-six states refer to a gang as an “organization, association, or group.”  Every definition includes criminal/illegal activity or behavior.

This again brings out the question: "What illegal activity were the various Clubs present at the Coalition Of Clubs meeting to be held at the Twin Peaks restaurant participating in that they were ALL arrested and held on $1 million bond?"

The way law enforcement throws around the word 'gang' these days, it has begun to appear that if you are an organization that law enforcement (whether Federal, State, or local) deems to be a problem could find itself on a list of "criminal gangs", and their members stripped of their rights.

The US Supreme Court has recognized that Freedom of Association is equal to, and every bit as important as Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of The Press.  We must be ever vigilant, that the concerns over 'public safety' are not allowed to trample on the individuals right to associate with whoever the wish.  Or else the government may use some of those definitions in the dictionary to come after those who oppose its policies.
Think about it, and consider the ramifications of the definitions of a 'gang'.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Justice In Waco?

By now, most of you have heard about the tragic shootings at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, Texas.  Ever since I first read reports, there were some glaring facts that just didn't seem to add up sensibly.  The more I read and understand a bit more of what took place, I find myself growing ever more troubled by what appears to be excessive over zealous law enforcement actions.

Reports of how the Waco PD was given "intelligence" from another law enforcement agency (who was never names in the reports that I read) stating that there was a possible turf war brewing between the Bandidos OMG and the Cossacks MC, several weeks ago, somehow led the Waco PD to make a show of force around the site of a previously planned and publicly promoted political event.  A Coalition of Clubs and Independents meeting at the Twin Peaks restaurant.  The police show their anti-motorcycle bias from the start by describing the COC&I meeting variously as; a "party', a "barbecue", and a meeting to work out turf" issues.  From the start, any motorcycle club patch holder was described as a "gang member".  With no differentiation between veterans clubs, christian clubs, family oriented clubs, or the 1%er clubs.  If you were wearing a club patch, you were in a "biker gang".  Which made you a criminal "gang member".

The COC&I is a decades old organization dedicated to legislative and political efforts to safeguard the lifestyle of the motorcycle community, with no history of problems prior to this incident.  Since the meetings are bi-monthly, and therefore planned in advance, the Waco PD's assertion it was a meeting to resolve a dispute over turf, doesn't seem to hold water.  What does seem strange, is that the police were at the scene prior to any violence breaking out.  In numbers, and heavily armed, yet they seem to not have time to recognize who were the belligerents and who wasn't.  The police also admit to firing at "armed bikers" but seem to be unable, or unwilling to state how many of the dead or wounded were shot by law enforcement.

As reported by the Associated Press, the internal security cameras  of the Twin Peaks showed, within two minutes of the first shots being fired, law enforcement was coming through the front doors brandishing military style rifles.  Since the police were there prior to the outbreak of violence, and watching the Twin Peaks, it seems strange that the would report to the media that the violence broke out in the bathroom of the bar, and then spilled out into the parking lot.  When the cameras appear to show quite the opposite to be true.

After the shooting, the Waco PD arrested 170 motorcyclists who had been present at Twin Peaks on felony "participating in organized crime" charges. Their bail set at $1,000,000 each.  In this one fact, it would appear that the Waco PD threw out the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.  Does simply being at the site of a violent happening make one a participant?  To quote a Call To Action put out by the Texas Coalition Of Clubs & Independents;
"So, for example, how can a mother, father, and son setting up a public safety booth for a political gathering be guilty of organized crime when violence erupts around them?  It is not a crime to be present when a tragedy occurs.  But that is how the majority of the 170 arrested are being charged and characterized.  There are veterans, ministers, and former law enforcement, and everyday working Americans that are being denied their freedom and having their reputations tarnished because they were being responsible constituents and participating in the democratic process."

Also, a strange response to this situation, and one that to a motorcyclist like myself seems quite bizarre, are reports that the Waco PD ordered the Harley-Davidson dealer to shut down for the day, and publicly broadcast warnings for motorcyclists to stay off the streets of Waco.  Was this an attempt to use this tragedy to gain control over the entire motorcycling community in Waco?  Or just a further example of Waco PD's profiling of all motorcyclists as criminals?

In Washington State, we are the only state (currently, but Texas was one of a number of states following Washingtons lead) that has a "Motorcycle Anti-Profiling" law.  This law would have made much of what law enforcement in Waco did AFTER this incident illegal.  Although, in Washington it may be illegal, the law doesn't carry much of a bite.  There already have been some law enforcement agencies in the state claim the law is meaningless.  After seeing the lengths to which law enforcement in Waco have gone to crush the motorcycling community under it's heel (170 individuals arrested on felony participation in ORGANIZED CRIME activities while attending a publicly promoted regularly scheduled political event, and all their motorcycles seized under 'forfeiture' by law enforcement), perhaps we here in Washington State should work hard at putting some bite into our "Anti-Profiling" law.  We must do something to prevent such tragedies from happening here in Washington.

I hope you are all looking forward to a resolution to this tragic stripping of individuals Civil Rights simply because they at the location to attend a political event when violence broke out around them.  Remember that the shooting started outside in full view of law enforcement, and law enforcement admits to shooting at armed "gang members".  So far no video footage has been brought forward showing the parking lot at Twin Peaks to show how the shooting began, and who fired the first shot.  Yet even those inside the restaurant were arrested and given $1 million bail.  This isn't justice, "It's Just Us."

Catch you on the road sometime...