Ostensibly, I was on my way to The Old Vic…I had work to do there (as always)…but I couldn’t pretend any longer that work was even a facade of an excuse…I’d blown past the city miles ago and never even slowed down.
Running hard through the beautiful hills of southeastern Oklahoma I snicked the big cruiser up a gear and twisted the throttle to the stop. The bike roared as we exited the corner and accelerated right up to the point where, setting up for the next corner, I grabbed the binders and downshifted twice in rapid succession.
Another spirited entry. Another hot exit. Music in my ears, wind in my face, the precision machine beneath me nothing less than an extension of my sheer will.
Bone. Blood. Steel. This is what we were MADE for…
Another hour. Another town. More fuel for the beast. The shaking in my hands as I tried to stuff the credit card in the maddeningly blurry slot in the gas pump telling me the heat and the exertion had taken their toll. It was time for some attention for the man as well.
Rolling through town I spotted a bunch of bikes at a Mexican restaurant. “Mmmm…lunch.” says I and I whip into the parking lot and shut her down. Another machine pulls in beside me…apparently making the same snap decision as I.
Just as I flop the heavy leather jacket on the bike seat and get out of my skin-tight gloves my phone rings.
It’s the wife. “Where are you?”
I think for a moment and tell her, “Uh…Oklahoma, getting some lunch.”
The guy getting off the newly arrived machine corrects me, “I think this is Arkansas.”
Almost automatically I relay that to the wife. “Ur…or Arkansas…maybe…I think…could be Louisiana I suppose.” I glance at the other rider…he shrugs, apparently not sure himself. I pause and look around…I’d bet Arkansas if pressed…but I don’t remember crossing the border.
“You okay?” says the wife, snapping me out of it.
“Oh yeah, just hungry. I’ll be home around dark.”
She’s not even phased. “Okay. Be safe! Or at least fun! I love you!”
We’ve been together 24 years. She’s used to this sort of stuff.
Lunch was excellent. Great food, plentiful iced-tea, (too many) sopapillas, a couple new friends, and I was back on the road in short order.
But it got me to thinking…
I’ve done this for years…ride simply because I can…snap decision…something to eat. Bikes (or other signs of a popular place) pulling me off the road for a spur of the moment decision.
So…what if I had been heading through Waco that day…not a stretch…I bang through or around that town dozens of times every year. One of it’s most prominent attributes is…well…put simply…if you’re out in that part of the country…it’s kind of in the way.
That would actually be a pretty good tourism slogan for the city…they currently use “Waco. The Heart of Texas” but I think “Waco, we’re kind of in the way” just rolls off the tongue better. Note to the city: Please feel free to contact me for licensing for this slogan.
Now…for you authoritarian types that never achieved any critical thinking skills because you were too busy being…pretty much every high-school bully ever…let me spell it out…what follows here is FICTION…
Banging down I-35…the heat and hours beginning to take their toll…time for some fuel for the machine…and maybe some food and rest for the man.
Waco coming up…a good place for both. Hit the first populated exit, grab some gas and, “Hello? What’s this?”
ATwin Peaks Restaurant with a bunch of bikes? “Mmmmmm…”
Mainstream place. Good food. GREAT scenery (Twin Peaks is noted for it…it’s in the name…and yeah, I’m a guy…I LIKE peaks…get over it). A bunch of cops hanging out…they probably enjoy “peaks” too…so it’s bound to be a pretty safe venue. Besides…I’m *hungry*.
Hit the parking lot, park with the bikes, grab a table, probably with other bikers if it’s crowded, order a drink…scope out the peaks (mmmm peaks…), inhale some food…
Note…so far…NONE of this is a stretch. I’ve done that exact sequence of actions more times than I can count. A cursory guess says I’ve refueled that machine 1700 times…my svelte figure will testify to how many of those were lunch/dinner stops…
Some small arms fire…and the cops open up on the crowd with AR-15’s…blood flying, people dying…chaos. I grab folks and hit the dirt when the shooting starts…and when it stops I undoubtedly get tackled to the ground and shackled when I try to help the wounded (life matters to me…seen too much…I guess)
Reading the reports about the Waco incident…and using their tone…here’s what the police would say about the arrest and the subsequent civil forfeiture of the motorcycle and other assets:
Danyell Meiers, who goes by the criminal biker gang aliases “Dragon” or “Storm Rider” and admitted member of what the police describe as the criminal VRCC biker gang, was arrested for “conspiracy to gather to commit organized crime” and is held on 1 million dollar bond. Civil forfeiture documents filed against his 2001 Valkyrie motorcycle indicate the gang member was wearing a jacket with a dragon symbol on it, and there were similar criminal gang-like symbols on the motorcycle, as well as an AMA sticker on the machine. He was also carrying a Dairyland Road Service card and an “HRC” card. Both the AMA and Dairyland are acknowledged supporters of the criminal VRCC gang, as well as other criminal gang-motorcyclists. HRC’s standing is unclear but the FBI has been asked to look into this massive biker gang with chapters in at least 30 countries. The gang member was also reported to be a “Life” member of the BSA…an organization one officer said to be a “paramilitary anti-gay training organization that targets kids and has chapters in every state.”
“Dragon” was found in possession of weapons, as well as prescription drugs and painkillers, which he admits to being, “The Distance Rider’s Secret Weapon”.
Documents seek seizure of his motorcycle because he used it to transport himself and weapons to the site of the criminal biker gangs organized criminal activity. His bank accounts/assets are also subject to forfeit because he used his debit card to fuel the motorcycle while transporting himself and weapons to the site of the organized biker gang criminal activity.
“Dragon’s” insistence that he was just there for the food and the “view” doesn’t hold up as there were motorcycles…and he was on a motorcycle…so there. And WHAT view? This is Waco for heaven’s sake. Also he had no explanation as to EXACTLY why he was in that place at that time…and you know…that’s just…criminal! Only criminals travel without a valid productive reason and we KNOW any non-work or non-sports related gathering is criminal.
And while there is no evidence the concealed carry licensed gun-owning criminal biker gang member had a gun in his possession or fired on anybody, “He would have if he could have…because…yanno…bikes…bikers…NRA…bad!” says the junior justice of the peace clerk that issued unlimited photocopies of the “fill in the blank” arrest warrants. “Also, his phone was encrypted and we all know that anybody that wants their data private are criminal porn peddling thug racist gang drug members!” shouted one excited junior intern “ride-along” swat-team officer. Extensive scarring discovered during the strip-search and subsequent sodomization during booking indicates an obvious criminal past. Additional charges may be filed as the police are looking into the precision navigation system he had mounted on his motorcycle, which an officer stated is, “Unusual for someone just out going for a ride.”
The evil bad criminal biker nerf herding rapist gang member will be not arraigned until after we’ve held him without competent representation so long that he loses his job and all his assets or until he signs the form promising not to sue the city and everybody in it.
Gang aliases – Road name(s)…most riders have one…MOST internet users have one…same thing really…’cept the road names are often earned/bestowed. Growing up my Dad called me “Danibus”, my Mom called me “Dear”. My best friend often calls me “Asshole.” Same thing. Nothing sinister here. Move along.
Gang symbols – I like dragons.
VRCC – Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club, a motorcycle owner’s group and association.
Dairyland – My motorcycle liability insurance company (liability insurance is compulsory in Texas), which includes road service.
AMA – American Motorcycle Association…same thing as AAA (American Automobile Association) but with less wheels…and “A’s”.
HRC – Honda Rider’s Club.
BSA – Uh…that would be the Boy Scouts of America, and yes, I belonged…was not trained to be a paramilitary homophobe, and learned many of the skills responsible for my success (such as it is).
Weapons – a 3″ pocket-knife and a wallet chain.
Prescription drugs – Asthma inhaler and possibly diabetes meds.
Painkillers/secret weapon – Advil
There is no question there were some bad operators present at this event…but frankly folks…most of the folks there were there for nothing more than camaraderie, food, the politics of motorcycle legislation issues, or the scenery. Listen to what you are being told with a critical ear…and evaluate the inflammatory language and tone being used to tell it to you (by the supposed-to-be impartial officials). There’s a lot of information just in that.
Civil forfeiture…before a trial and conviction…is nothing more than robbery…a tool used for the police to PUNISH people (and at the same time, enrich their own budgets) without that pesky need to actually be able to convict them of something and get a jury to pass sentence. A million dollar bond with an indistinct (and impossible to defend charge), without even the PROSPECT for an arraignment for 90+ days…is simply a way to destroy a person’s life and ability to contest what the law is throwing at him.
Had I stopped for lunch in Waco that day…I’d be in the same boat as most of the folks there. Swept up without probable cause, life, career, and finances destroyed…just because I was there.
Ya’ll please note…I am NOT anti-law enforcement. I’ve MET the monsters under the bed…we need the law and the folks that dedicate their lives to it…but this situation stinks to high-heaven and the tone/reports/lack of real info/transparency coming out of the officials involved…as well as their questionable actions before, during, and after the incident are not making it smell any better. It, in fact, gets worse with every passing week.
As I’ve said regarding the folks that work in law enforcement:
God bless the ones doing the job…and God damn the ones that don’t.
I’ll see you on the road (and hopefully not under the jail).