Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Twin Peaks Was Never This Weird

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
     Holdover pre-Millennial Yuppies were overjoyed to hear earlier this year that director David Lynch would be at the helm directing the Twin Peaks reboot. Yes, Agent Cooper would be back investigating a single murder and we'd be treated to fresh weirdness in the town of Twin Peaks in which women talking to logs swaddled in their arms and dancing midgets speaking backwards was another day at the office for Agent Cooper. Yet despite the quasi carnival weirdness of his oeuvre, David Lynch could not have envisioned in his worst fever dream the even more disturbing real-life weirdness of the recent massacre at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar in Waco.
     The first sign of the weirdness was the almost complete absence of the word "massacre." True, it paled in comparison to the last massacre, one claiming 80 lives, in that same town involving David Koresh and his mostly white Branch Davidians defying mostly white law enforcement over illegal possession of firearms. But Waco, if it hasn't already, should prove how law enforcement's pendulum as a whole has swung 180 degrees in how it treats white criminals.
     The conflagration at Waco that claimed dozens of lives 22 years ago, many of them women and children, along with the equally reprehensible massacre at Ruby Ridge the year before, seemed to have a mollifying effect on law enforcement. It was as if, from the moment Agent Lon Horiuchi (who inexplicably was present during the Waco standoff in 1993) blew off Vicki Weaver's face while she was carrying her year-old child, law enforcement vowed to be kinder and gentler to white criminals even to the point of putting their own lives at hazard.
     Case in point: The police showed up at the end of the gunfight that saw nine dead men and they reported that some of the gang members had actually opened fire on them. Despite warnings to Twin Peaks from local law enforcement to not host what was obviously a planned event/melee, the Bandidos and Cossacks, two rival gangs, met at the sports bar. A bathroom brawl quickly escalated into a knife fight which quickly escalated into a gun fight. In seemingly no time, bikers were punching, stabbing, clubbing and shooting each other until the restaurant's parking lot was littered with bodies.

"Drop Your Weapons... If You Feel Like It."
     Here's where the weirdness really begins. Thanks largely to social media, when local police finally got a handle on the situation, the aftermath was eerily calm and civilized (not that civilized behavior on the part of US law enforcement should be considered eerie but it is what it is), as best exemplified by the photo above in which a lone McLennan County deputy actually has his back turned to the very same bikers who'd carried out this massacre and who are serenely sitting, chatting and even checking their text messages. The police were considerate enough to separate the gangs (and not illegally pulling them off buses and herding them together to manufacture a confrontation with police as in Baltimore) and were calmly awaiting a bus to take them to the police station for an orderly booking.
     If you do a Google image search using the words "Waco" and "shootout", you will be very hard-pressed, at best, to find a single cop in riot gear, tanks and no photos of white gang members getting shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, beaten or otherwise the images of Ferguson that became iconic. This, despite knowing weeks in advance there'd be a confrontation and after taking fire.
     If any one photo is perfectly iconic of white privilege and of the double standard in American law enforcement, especially when one compares it to photos of the shooting of Walter Scott, Darren Wilson standing over Mike Brown's dead body, the public strangulation of Eric Garner or the immediate execution of 12 year-old Tamir Rice, it's the one just above.
     Most notable was the right wing media's insistence on portraying this epic mass murder as an anomaly carried out by "club members". Local law enforcement, in fact, knew about this fatal confrontation weeks in advance and essentially did nothing but warn the bar owner not to host the event (who then had the nerve to issue a press release condemning the event and vowing to work with law enforcement). In fact, it appears as if Texas law enforcement had already given up and decided to let it happen as a bulletin issued throughout the Lone Star state said, "Information has been received that law enforcement presence will not stop motorcycle gang from completing their mission."
     Which is essentially the opposite of Rudy Giuliani's failed "Broken Windows" campaign in which street vendors, buskers and the like were targeted for police harassment while Wall Street bankers were coddled, their sterling reputations and bottom lines being protected by that same law enforcement during Occupy Wall Street. After all, the whole idea of the NYPD's now illegal policy of racial profiling is to prevent crime, right?

We Whites Are Guilty But For the Wrong Reason
     Much has been made about white guilt of late but pundits miss their pinpoint attempts, which is to say we feel guilty for the wrong reasons. One of the hallmarks of an evolving species is to learn from our mistakes on both a personal as well as a social level so, as George Santayana warned us, we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of history. After the mishandling on the part of the Boston FBI in the Whitey Bulger case, Ruby Ridge and Waco, it'd be nice to conclude that law enforcement, starting at the federal level, had learned from these horrendous errors in judgment and vowed to exercise more restraint.
     But there's such a thing as responsible restraint and the overtly craven and cowardly behavior we saw in Nevada a year ago when tax dodging racist rancher Cliven Bundy surrounded himself with different white nationalist militia groups who sighted down on federal agents with high-powered rifles. In fact, two of those armed combatants were so radical they were kicked off the Bundy Ranch and went on to murder two police officers in Las Vegas. Obviously, that restraint has been reserved only for fellow whites and not to people judged guilty of Angry Black Man Syndrome (which is the opposite, more violent side of white guilt but that's a topic for another article).
     Yet the national narrative, one that's unfortunately metastasized from within the confines of right wing media are that whites who riot and burn cars after hockey games are just excited fans blowing off steam while African Americans peacefully protesting the murder of one of their own are looting and rioting. While right wingers claim Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin were "thugs" who had it coming to them, even to the point of producing supposedly incriminating photos who weren't actually who they said they were, "highly organized criminal enterprises"/motorcycle gangs who murder each other and put law enforcement and public safety at hazard are simple "club members."
     And let's not forget the opposite of the court of public opinion, renegade public officials who help bring about massacres like the Waco shootout who seriously listen to criminals like Mike Lynch, who was one of the 170 bikers arrested, successfully argue for looser gun control laws.
     Which is another important revelation you won't hear about in the mainstream media.
     What you will hear about are attractive white girls and boys who disappear, phantom black criminals that law enforcement happily chases after like bloodhounds after a scent, unarmed black victims who allegedly reached for guns that retroactively weren't there after all, peaceful black protesters called rioters and rioting, car-burning whites called hockey fans and good ole white boys who simply have to get together once in a while and murder each other to blow off some steam.
     Because white boys will be white boys, after all.

4 Comments:

At May 21, 2015 at 3:29 PM, Anonymous CC said...

To be fair, there were a few black and Latino faces among the mugshots. One guy even looked Asian, but I don't know if he was.

But I get your drift. When I first saw pictures of the aftermath of the shootout, I wondered how the arrested could look so tidy. If the fight was that big, shouldn't many of them be nursing wounds or, at the very least, appear disheveled? Instead, they looked spotless and their leather vests looked fresh from the factory.

Now if the fight had involved the Bloods and the Crips, I bet a call would have immediately been put out to nearby Fort Hood for help and the Texas Air National Guard would have readied some drones to blast everyone to smithereens. Posse Comitatus be damned.

Besides, since this happened in Texas, where were those heat-packing, law-abiding citizens who were supposed to be ready to run to the danger with their guns drawn and put and end to the battle before it begins?

 
At May 21, 2015 at 3:50 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

The good guys with guns who showed up were the cops... which is the way it's supposed to be in a civilized country.

 
At May 21, 2015 at 4:53 PM, Anonymous CC said...

Read the mainstream articles about this incident and you'll find many commenters insisted that these weren't real gangs because the "M.C." on their vests stands for "Motorcycle Club," which means they're exclusive clubs, not gangs.

Yes, and the Hell's Angels called themselves a motorcycle club, too.

Then there's the comment about guilt by association - just because some people dress like motorcycle gangsters doesn't mean they are.

Fair enough, but how many of these commenters extended the same benefit of the doubt to the Baltimore protestors? Or did they decide that you've seen 'em all after seeing only one?

 
At May 24, 2015 at 1:20 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Red State, been there done that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_State_%282011_film%29

 

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