Waco, in the Wake of the Bikers

Waco is the home of the Baylor Bears.  It is a convenient stopping point driving from Houston, Austin, And Dallas. There plenty of truck stops.  It is also the home of the Texas Rangers Museum.

What kind of name is Waco?  (If you look in Wikipedia you’ll read that the “area of present-day Waco was occupied by the Wichita Native American group known as the “Waco.” (Spanish: Hueco or Huaco).  You could make fun of the name and pronounce it “Wacko.”  Bear in mind, this was the staging area of the Branch Davidians–they were kind of different, but they mostly stayed to themselves.  They were an off-shoot of the Seventh Day Adventists for whom David Koresh pronounced himself prophet.  And now, Waco will be remembered for another massacre at a restaurant that does not need to be named.

Even before these events that I mention above occurred, I wondered what kind of place was Waco. One has to admit that the name is rather unique.  Something about the name gets to me.  If we changed the pronunciation to Wacko, perhaps one would conclude that a lot of crazy people either live there or are drawn there.  Certainly, the wacko, outrageous behavior associated with Koresh and the recent bikers support at least a pronunciation change.

For whatever reason, I felt the need to visit the site where David Koresh made “his bones” or his last stand–the site where many women and children were senselessly murdered by this mad man.  The experience was surreal.  When I went there, several years had gone by.  It was apparent that there are Branch Davidians still there.  The erection of a new chapel, trees, and other improvements on the property displayed obvious evidence.  When I walked into the chapel, a sense of evil overwhelmed me.  There was a man on the pulpit, and there were a few people in the pews.  When the man on the pulpit asked me what I was doing there, a chill kind of ran down my spine.  It was clear that I was considered and unwelcome spectator, an outsider.

And I realize that not all bikers are the same, that some bikers may be different.  By being different, I do not intend a criminal assumption.  Yes, I agree that some of them were criminals.  Some–not all– deserved a different type of response.  Rather than chills going through my back when I heard about the biker massacre at that restaurant, what I felt was anger.  And I find that there are similarities between the two different Waco events.  The main similarity seems to be the lack of coherence to the story around what occurred.  I guess we can call this “confusion on the battlefield,” the truth somehow being lost in the chaos of what happened, in the use of overwhelming force, and then in the bravado of law enforcement.  The only truth is that we have people who are dead.

There is always the official story.  This is the story that is orchestrated and presented in the media.  It is the story that is meant to placate the public.  It is the story in which we are presented the good guys and the bad guys, the we are tough on crime, and that law enforcement prevails again.  The story always has an agenda.  Waco is a relatively small town, and about twenty years separate the Branch Davidian event and the recent biker event.  Since this Waco, I would imagine that some of the same people may have been on the scene of both incidences–I wonder.  Do you?

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