It’s not actually summertime yet and with all of the rain of late the temperature hasn’t been all that hot but stories in the news recently have lead me to believe that the craziness generally associated with the warmest time of year has already begun. Upon hearing word about the gunfight, riot, or whatever you wish to call it that took place in a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco this past weekend the lyrics from Noel Coward’s satirical song Mad Dogs and Englishmen kept running through my head. It also confirmed my belief that there must be something really strange in the water in Waco.
What we’ve learned is that a bunch of dumb white motorcycle gang members AKA thugs gathered at a Summit to come to terms over a dispute regarding the patches on the leather jackets that they wear. It seems that the Banditos have exclusive domain over the rocker patch Texas and the Cossacks decided to breech protocol and use the same place name, flaunting the rules of the highway. Hard feelings between rival gangs had been brewing for quite some time and the anger finally reached a flashpoint. At least nine people died when the guns and knives came out and many more were injured. The Waco police quelled the melee rather quickly to their credit and arrested more than one hundred ninety people. The corporate office of the Twin Peaks restaurant was so mortified by the publicity that they revoked the franchise and shut the biker watering hole down for the duration.
Waco itself seems to be a magnet for nut jobs. I sometimes think that they should just drop the pretense of using a long “a” sound in pronouncing the name of the town and give in to the slanderous way we all think of the place by becoming Wacko, Texas. I’m not quite sure why so many strange things happen there but they do. We all remember David Koresh and his crazy cult known as the Branch Davidians who lived in a compound called Mt. Carmel, saints preserve us! I have often wondered why he had to defame the name of my old high school that way. Now when I tell people that I went to Mt. Carmel they look at me in very funny ways. I have to explain that I meant the school not the compound in Waco.
Waco lies along the I-35 corridor which lead from Austin to Dallas. It is a heavily traveled highway and the town provides a natural stopping point when driving from the state’s capitol to Houston’s rival city. I’m quite sure that most of the good people from Waco are nothing like the folks who have been making them famous. Still there is a vibe about Waco that just isn’t quite right. It’s a wannabe kind of place that never quite made it to the big time. We rarely hear of people moving to Waco but often learn of someone moving away. I’m amazed that there were so many biker gangs in the area. My big question is where in the heck did all of those rednecks come from?
My brother owns a Harley and loves to ride out in the wide open spaces with the wind blowing on his face. It gives him a kind of freedom that few of us who stay safely buckled in our cars ever experience. I certainly hope that he and those who are just good honest citizens don’t become misunderstood as a result of the recent melee. The whole concept of the shootout is filled with so much irony that I don’t know exactly where to begin or end for that matter.
If I’d written the story as a screenplay it would have sounded ridiculous starting with the fact that they chose a Twin Peaks restaurant for the location of their summit. There is so much metaphor and figurative language in the entire story concept that it might keep a high school English class busy for a week analyzing the situation. The Sociology and Psychology of that meeting is rife with potential. Why aren’t we busy designing case studies right now? Should we also include a discussion of the First and Second Amendment rights of the young men and women who came that day to express their frustrations? Or should we be honest and state the obvious that the ruffians who now sit in jail are pond scum and need to be soundly punished for their criminal behavior?
Mike has suggested that we might want to send them over to the Middle East to engage in combat with ISIS. Talk about two of a kind! We might have a chance of defeating those crazed and cruel terrorists if we fight fire with fire. I can envision the gang members riding across the desert landscapes on their bikes like Mad Max. If that wouldn’t scare the pants off of the ISIS members there is probably nothing that would. Alas, we try not to operate like that here in this country so the men in black will no doubt continue their advance across the Middle Eastern Landscape while our lovely bike riding gang members will rot in jail for a time.
This takes me to another big news story about a nineteen year old coed slamming Jeb Bush by insisting that his brother, George, created ISIS. I’d like to suggest that this young lady and anyone who truly believes her theory should go back to the library and pick up a few books on the Middle East. It’s a fascinating history that really comes to life along about the end of World War I when the same so called wise men who brokered peace terms that later led to World War II decided to become cartographers and reinvent the countries of the Middle East. It’s a pretty darn good argument to say that this was the moment when all of the trouble in that part of the world began in earnest. The Sykes Picot recreation of borders was done solely for the benefit of European countries and not so much for the people who actually lived in the places that became Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The seeds of discontent were sown way back then and what we now see is the result of decades of tribal resentments.
It would be difficult to suggest that we would have been free from the effects of infighting in the Middle East had we done nothing. Jimmy Carter had to deal with the Iranians during his tenure in office. There isn’t a nicer more peace loving human in the USA and yet he and the Americans were treated quite badly. Bill Clinton had a tendency to look the other way when terrorists struck and yet they kept up their cadence. The drum beat of war grew louder and louder in the Middle East throughout the twentieth century. We just tended to ignore it. I never really thought that it was a good idea to invade Iraq and even Rudyard Kipling wrote about the futility of striking a blow in Afghanistan as far back as the beginning of the twentieth century. Nonetheless the genie left the building and we can’t go back. All we have is hindsight and even that does us little good because we will never know how things might have unfolded had we done nothing after 9/11. President Obama has done his best to be supportive of the local people in Middle Eastern countries. He could not have been nicer than he has been and yet so many people still seem to hate us. Why? Because it is really a tribal war among rival factions.
If that rings a bell in your mind it is because it is a fact that the whole thing is about power and whose going to get to run things. It seems quiet unlikely that the different groups will ever want to get together. What seems certain about the Middle East is that might makes right and whether it is a king or a president who runs countries in that part of the world. It requires an iron fist which flies in the face of how we Americans like to do things. Put quite simply we don’t want to be part of such shenanigans which is why we can’t seem to defeat armies that fight dirty. As many Presidents of our country have learned the hard way we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
We can have a great deal of fun discussing the local and world events and fighting with one another in our own way but the truth is that thugs are thugs all over the world and they only understand strength. I learned that the hard way when I was a teacher. I’m an essentially soft hearted soul but whenever a student went over the line with the rest of my darlings I had no hesitation in calling him out complete with naming him for the kind of evil person that he was. It’s a sad fact that some individuals are just not nice. The bikers who wreaked havoc in Waco are in that class and so are the members of ISIS. Instead of fighting with each other regarding who’s responsible for such losers in our midst we need to join together in defeating them and putting them where the moon don’t shine. They are psychopaths, mad dogs who don’t need to be out in the noon day sun.