"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."--Martin Luther King
It's been almost six months, and the Waco indictments are just rolling in. So much for swift justice.
Or the freedom to assemble.
But do American's really care about the 1st and 6th Amendments, when those fought-and-died-for rights pertain to bikers?
On May 17, 2015, numerous motorcycle groups met in Waco, Texas for a Confederation of Club's joint meeting. Scheduled at a Twin Peaks restaurant, they set out to discuss laws, mutual rules, and common ground. It would be hard to anticipate that lunch with fellow bikers (which included a mix of 1 percenter outlaw, U.S. Veteran and Christian groups) would turn into bloody mayhem.
But it did.
Here's a little background: Alarmed by the anticipated number of riders headed for town, local authorities beefed up their presence. And ammunition.
As a parking lot scuffle between two men, from rival clubs, escalated into a shooting -- some witnesses believe officers panicked, firing into the crowd.
And all hell broke loose.
Caught by surprise, hundreds dove for cover until the shooting ended. When it was over, 9 were dead and at least 18 seriously injured.
Law enforcement rounded up 260 people, ultimately arresting 177. Many, who were taken into custody, claimed to be innocent bystanders, including a former marine who didn't arrive at Twin Peaks on a bike, but was swept up in the mass arrest and held for two weeks on a million dollar bond.
This is how it played out:
Citizens proclaim they were indiscriminately taken into custody, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And because all cell phones were confiscated, it's unlikely that independent, hand-held, video evidence exists.
After the arrests, virtually all Information was filtered to the media through theatrical press conferences, hosted by local police Sgt. Patrick Swanton. And it soon became clear: his was the only show in town.
Facts were hard to nail down, because opposing voices were either dead, hospitalized, in jail, or silenced. Case in point: After a defense attorney called his own press conference, where he passionately criticized law enforcement's actions, he was slapped with a gag order.
In a slam dunk effort, the official position soon became the only position. And here, in a nutshell, is what authorities claimed: Those arrested were all organized crime members, and law enforcement prevented what could have been a far worse outcome. In other words: authorities didn't escalate the chaos, but rather--they asserted--by their heroic efforts, violence was curtailed.
And then there was this: Shortly after the shootout, exaggerated statements -- regarding 1,000 confiscated weapons -- were delivered to the nation, via the press. Those reports were soon downgraded, both in number and intensity, to just over three hundred. And, as it turned out, some of those weapons were actually common pocket knives, as well as guns -- legally possessed.
But instead of investigative reporters, uh...investigating, they spoon-fed the official word right back to the public. Every. Last. Bite. Consequently, citizens digested what they were given, leaving little room for the deeply-rooted American sentiment of outrage over injustice.
And what about the dead?
Nine men, between the ages of 27 and 65 were gone. Lost lives that were broadcast over the airwaves in a stoic, roll-call of implied, "They're not like us; they deserved it," statistics. Although de-humanized before the country, in actuality, these men were someone's brother. Someone's spouse. Someone's dad. Someone's son.
Among the dead: A Purple Heart awarded Veteran, and a man who sported a tattoo with the Bible verse: "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."
Once the dust, and the grandstanding, settled, authorities appeared frozen. Unable to go back for a do-over, they seemed uncertain of exactly how to move forward. The bottom line was: Nine people were dead, several were seriously injured, and lots of folks, many undoubtedly innocent, were still sitting in jail. Ballistic reports, revealing who shot whom, had not been released, and wrongful arrest suits were bound to be filed.
At this point, law enforcement ditched the press conferences and developed a strategic posture of stonewalling. And it wasn't just your run-of-the-mill stonewalling either. Nope. This was a concerted effort, a dig-your-heels-into-the-ground version of stonewalling that left little vulnerability for independent scrutiny.
And the oddities kept coming: A Grand Jury foreman was appointed who just so happened to be a Waco police detective.
Then, on November 10, 2015 (nearly 6 months after the massacre) a McLellan County Grand Jury handed down indictments for 106 bikers, while the other 71 continued to wait. Each of the indictments were worded the same, and magically mimicked arrest reports. Exactly. All came down as felonies, committed by members of organized crime.
Defense attorneys referred to the Grand Jury's deliberations as nothing more than "Cookie cutter justice," determined within a superficial time-frame of approximately 5 minutes per individual.
After such an onslaught of questionable legal behavior, there's reasonable alarm over the sort of trial these men might await.
The illusive deeds in Waco should barrage every fair and intelligent American, from all walks of life, with a multitude of questions.
Here are just a few: Where are the defenders of the Constitution? Where are the crucial ballistic reports? Where are the investigative journalists, willing to question authority?
And where, in God's name, is the truth?
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.