By Woody Phillips MMA of AZ RCD, ABATE of AZ HCC, MRF, AMA
For anyone who was living in a cave last year, there was a tragedy in Waco Texas in May of 2015. 9 bikers were killed and another 18 were wounded when a fight turned into a shooting melee. It all started when some fellows, with some sort of axe to grind, got into it in the parking lot of a restaurant that was hosting a Texas Confederation of Clubs meeting regarding their political agenda for the coming months. The police were already on-scene, apparently expecting trouble, and also fired several shots, apparently from AR-15 type weapons. Immediately afterward the police rounded up everyone who was present, even if they arrived AFTER the incident, and segregated them according to the patches on their vests. They then arrested 177 of the more than 200 detained under suspicion of criminal gang activity and capital murder. The individuals arrested were then jailed pending a $1 Million bond â€¦ EACH! The arrest warrant for each person was identical except for the â€œfill-in-the-blankâ€ name.
Now at this point you may be thinking â€œHuh, biker gangs fighting. How about that?â€ But the problem is, there were a hell of a lot of people that had absolutely nothing to do with this violence that were caught up in it. And that includes other members of the clubs that caused the fight in the first place.
So why do I think all state motorcycle rights organizations should support the motorcyclists who have been arrested in Waco? The scales of justice are not always as balanced as they should be. They sometimes swing one way or another depending on who is holding those scales. Therefore, it is our duty as citizens to do our part to keep them as level as possible, at all times, for everyone, no matter what. Everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty, period. Normally that goes without saying, but yet, in this case, it must be said, again and again and again.
Also, it is not up to us as Motorcycle Rights Organization members to determine if one club or group is more worthy of our support than another. Rather, it is our responsibility, not as MRO members, but as American citizens, to cry foul when someone is charged with murder because they wear the same patch on their vest as an alleged criminal. That is not the United States we want or expect. It is our responsibility to cry foul when a judge issues a mass gag order after the arrest of 177 motorcycle riders when the Supreme Court of the United States has previously told courts they canâ€™t do that. It is our responsibility to cry foul when 177 motorcycle riders, some of whom arrived AFTER the incident in question, are arrested with â€œfill-in-the-blankâ€ warrants and charged with capital murder. These are things that happen in Iran, not the United States.
Simply stated, if this can happen to them, it can happen to us or anyone. So if you are an American citizen, you need to pay attention and keep the scales of justice level. That is why I am a Life Member of ABATE of AZ, a Life Member of the MMA of AZ, an MRF Member and belong to the American Motorcyclist Association. I do not condone, do not respect and will not tolerate criminal activity in my presence. But I will fight to the death for your right to wear whatever the hell you want on your vest and attend any political rally you see fit.