"Speak up for the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Ensure justice for those being crushed." --Proverbs 31:8
Law and order, not tempered by justice, is tyranny. And the light of justice is conspicuously missing in Waco.
On May 17, 2015, a Confederation of Clubs' meeting was scheduled at a Twin Peaks restaurant, where bikers from various organizations-- including outlaw, U.S Veterans, and Christian groups--planned to discuss common issues.
Instead, a nightmare unfolded.
When a shooting occurred between two men in the parking lot, many claim the heavily presented Waco police panicked and fired into the crowd.
When the dust settled, 9 were killed and 18 wounded.
After the shoot-out, local law enforcement made an unprecedented sweep of the area, rounding up 260 people. Then, in an alarming guilt-by-association move: virtually all bikers, wearing club patches of any sort, were branded as gang members. Ultimately, 177 were arrested-- each held on a million dollar bond.
For the audacity of violating the dress code at a Waco luncheon.
While the men were conveniently silenced in the morgue, hospital or jail, Waco's Sergeant Swanton headed-up a multitude of press conferences offering the public dramatic, one-sided imagery.
And his spin goes something like this: All the bikers are anti-police, organized criminals, who came to Twin Peaks with the clear intent to commit murder. All. Of. Them.
So, what could have been public outrage regarding police over-reaction, false arrests, and the brutal killing of innocent men, the official account was that heroic authorities had saved citizens from a far greater evil.
And there ya have it: In one classic move, Swanton flipped the truth on its head. Just like that.
Since I'm not hindered by a gag order, and I firmly believe in the statement, "The truth shall set you free," I'd like to tell you about one of the arrested bikers: an individual whom Swanton would not want you to know.
Patrick Jim Harris is far from the gang member authorities have portrayed him to be. In fact, he's pretty much the poster child of an all American kid: A 28-year-old grad student attending St. Edwards University, diligently working on his Master's Degree in counseling, while impressively pulling straight A's.
He's also a man of strong Catholic belief, whose road name happens to be "Saint" --a title not of his own choosing. It was a nick-name given to him by men and women from the homeless population he frequently assists, who refer to him as their "Sainted Guardian Angel."
And despite the official spin, Patrick's not anti-police. In actuality, he has multiple family members who are retired from Texas Law enforcement: (including his deceased, biological father).
Patrick's a proud member of the Grim Guardian's Motorcycle Club, an M.C. whose associates include active clergymen. His club's mission is to serve abused and foster children.
So far, not exactly the picture of a classic organized criminal, right? So how did Patrick, along with close to 200 innocent bikers, get caught-up in this nightmare?
In Patrick's situation, here's what occurred: Arriving at Twin Peaks to attend the meeting, he was swept-up in the mass arrest. Eventually, along with several others, he was released on bond.
But look out, because soon afterward, the police changed their minds, and a warrant was issued for his re-arrest. So, Patrick turned himself in. Only this time, authorities dramatically increased his bail to 2 million dollars.
Indecisiveness can be costly.
Speaking of costs: Patrick's friends have created an online campaign to curtail his legal expenses. visit it here at Fundrazr.com :
During his time in custody, Patrick maintained his composure by creating a Rosary out of the only jailhouse material available--toilet paper. When he was finally released, he had that simple, but beautiful, hand-made cross placed under glass and blessed by a Priest.
Sound like an organized criminal, yet? Nah, I didn't think so.
In the meantime: At one of Swanton's press conferences, the Sergeant tried to deflect from regional criticism by explaining the massacre on his terms: "This could be Anytown, USA," he insisted. "It just happened to be Waco on a Sunday afternoon."
Unfortunately for Swanton, the history of Waco -- riddled for generations by a dark cloud of injustice--doesn't back him up.
So, what is the historic Waco he hopes Americans will forget?
In 1993, in their attempt to arrest one man from the Branch Davidian's Church compound, Texas law enforcement-- along with the federal ATF--contributed to a horrific scene where more than 70 men, women and children burned to death.
And in 1916, in what's considered to be one of the most notorious lynching's in U.S. history, a terrified teenager, Jesse Washington, was forced to sign a murder confession. Then, he was dragged directly from the Waco Courthouse before a crowd of 10,000 cheering people--including city officials and children-- who watched him repeatedly dipped in fire, castrated, and hanged.
But the Waco mob didn't stop there. Nope. Afterward, they cut up Jesse's body parts and sold them as souvenirs. Ultimately, postcards-- with photos of his charred and mutilated corpse-- were proudly circulated within the community.
Yep, THAT Waco.
And now, after nearly 6 months of anxious waiting: In a recent, no surprise, blanket legal decision, the Mclellan County Grand Jury has handed down 106 biker indictments for organized crime with conspiracy to commit murder, while the other 71 (including Patrick) continue to anticipate their legal fate.
The bottom line is: close to 200 innocent men are trapped in a nightmare, because authorities don't seem to know how to rewind their own misconduct.
Adding to the tension, a new Associated Press report reveals at least 4 of the 9 men killed were shot by weapons similar to those carried by Waco officers.
So, don't kid yourself: These blame-the-victim legal maneuvers are not generated by any traditional sense of American law and order. No. They are occurring via a bizarre mentality, completely void of justice, delivered in classic Waco style.
So, before you buy what Sergeant Swanton is selling: An all-encompassing, organized criminal spin-- intended to conjure-up frightening public images of murderous, thug inspired bikers - consider Patrick Jim Harris: An honor student who works with abused kids, has multiple family members retired from Texas law enforcement, goes by the road name "Saint," and who, with absolute reverence, created a Rosary out of jailhouse toilet paper, while desperately praying for justice.
Organized crime just aint what it used to be.
Candy Chand is a writer living in Cave Creek, AZ. She's been interviewed on PBS, NPR, and Fox & Friends. Message, and follow, her on Facebook @ Candy Chand--Writer