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SKEPTOID BLOG:

The Truth About Waco Biker Shooting Truthers

by Mike Rothschild

June 9, 2015

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Donate May 17, 2015 saw a tense but regularly scheduled meeting at a Waco restaurant between members of rival motorcycle clubs the Bandidos, the Cossacks and smaller support clubs explode into a bloody shootout. When it was all over, nine people had been killed, 18 others shot and hundreds arrested, held on one million dollars bail each. The scene of the crime was chaos, with bodies and bullet casings everywhere, hundreds of police officers and SWAT members on the scene and bikers sitting under guard.

Naturally, any event that causes as much damage and carnage as the Waco Biker Shooting is going to have a number of inconsistencies in early reporting, and questions that remain unanswered even after those inconsistencies have been cleared up. Even now, nearly a month after the shootout, we don't have a clear idea of who shot first, who shot whom, and which victims were shot by other bikers and which by the police. Some witness accounts have the brawl beginning in the parking lot when a Cossack ran over a Bandido's foot, while others claim the shooting started on the restaurant's patio. At first, reports said four bikers were killed by police gunfire, then that was retracted as further ballistics testing was required.

Just as natural as these errors and inconsistencies are, so too are the conspiracy theories that spring up behind them. There are a couple of major conspiracy theories related to the Waco shooting, one that might have some element of truth to it, and others that are just nonsensical gibberish. Here's a quick rundown on the small but vocal Waco Biker Shooting truth movement:

Conspiracy — The shooting was a setup by the police.

Because of underlying tension between the Bandidos and Cossacks, the meetup at the Twin Peaks restaurant already had a considerable police presence, with at least a dozen Waco police deputies, as well as members of the Texas State Police, outside the building. Many of these officers were heavily armed, carrying semi-automatic rifles. All accounts of the incident have the first shots fired outside the restaurant, and several news outlets have reported that much of the gunfire was from automatic weapons, which the bikers didn't have, by and large.

In fact, there are dozens of different accounts of the shooting, many of which directly contradict with the "official story" put forth by officials in Waco. So it's not a stretch to think that the police essentially stationed gunners outside the restaurant, waited for a false flag, then opened fire and cut a swath through the motorcycle gangs that have been plaguing them for years.

This is essentially the narrative you get from a number of conspiracy theory and conservative blogs, proclaiming things like:
"All of the "Twin Peaks" dead were shot by police."
Conservative Treehouse
"Personally, I have no doubt in my mind that the police opened fired on a group of bikers fighting among themselves who were no danger to the public. I also believe that the cops were spoiling for a fight, and may have placed an undercover agitator in the restaurant to get something started."
Saboteur365
"The bloody incident at Waco's Twin Peaks restaurant was not a "biker shootout." At present there is no evidence that any of the nine victims were killed by fellow bikers, rather than being "taken out" by the scores of police — including snipers — who had effectively turned the parking lot into a kill zone."
LewRockwell.com

Despite these and many other titillating pull quotes from blogs and self-proclaimed experts, the situation in Waco is not quite that clear. In fact, what happened that day is not clear at all. There were hundreds of bikers at Twin Peaks, along with hundreds of bystanders, restaurant employees and police officers. It's not a stretch to say that there might have been 1,000 eyewitnesses to the shooting, and each one of those witnesses is going to tell a different version of what happened. This is not because they're all liars or paid shills. It's because every one of them experienced it slightly differently, and because memory is malleable and fallible.

In the case of Waco, the idea that the entire thing was a false flag cooked up by Waco to cull the herd of biker outlaws ignores the very real and documented context that led to the meeting. And that context is a bloody feud between the Bandidos and Cossacks that needed no "outside agitator" to turn it into chaos.

According to multiple police statements and newspaper reports, the tension between the crews goes back nearly a year, and is over drug trafficking, respect taxes and colors — all familiar issues in the world of outlaw motorcycle gangs. Hostilities appear to have begun when Bandidos members beat Cossack at a Toys for Tots event on December 6. Then, a week later, three Bandidos burst into a bar and opened fire, killing a Cossacks member. In March, there were multiple fights between the two clubs, including a Cossacks group beating and robbing a Bandidos member, then several weeks later, the Bandidos returning the favor with a beating of a Cossacks rider. All of this violence is standard when dealing with biker feuds, epics conflicts that have seen men executed wholesale, sometimes by their own club.

So any conspiracy theorist's idea that the Bandidos and Cossacks were just getting together for an amiable brunch over mimosas and crepes is simply wrong. These were two gangs that hated each other, and needed little in the way of an excuse for things to go horribly awry. Unless one wants to make the argument that the feud was concocted from the very start by a police agitator, which is not supported by evidence, it's clear that the meeting — and very likely the shootout — was going to take place, police involvement or not.

That's not to say that it won't be found that the police overreacted and used too much force to stop the brawl. That's entirely possible, and might even be supported by evidence, since the police had far more semi-automatic weapons than the bikers. But until we know for sure who fired the shots that killed those nine men, all of that is speculation. And so is the narrative that the police cooked this whole thing up as a set-up.

Conspiracy — There was no shooting, and it was all a hoax.

As conspiracy theories have gotten more mainstream, they've gotten more predictable. So it goes with the rush of bloggers proclaiming the whole thing was a hoax, that there was no shooting, no killing and nothing happened other than some crisis actors given biker wardrobes and sent off to look menacing.
"Make no mistake about it the claim of an actual bloody brawl by biker gangs in Waco, Texas, is a total fake. Nothing of any sort happened. It's all staged, readily proven. It is easy to see that this is a real hoax. Supposedly, nine people died and 18 were injured. Nine and eighteen: interesting numbers."
NoDisinfo.com

There are no convincing photos of the "crime scene." We are supposed to believe the news story. [...] Those "bikers" are all pretty well-groomed and wearing clean (new) clothing. The official story from Waco, TX Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton is that "These are very dangerous hostile biker gangs."

They don't look dangerous or intimidating to me; in fact, they appear to be quite well-mannered and very cooperative. The "tough guys" in these photos look more like CIA or police operatives dressed up to look like gang members."
MoralMatters.org

The evidence here is essentially that the shooting doesn't look like it's "supposed" to look. This is the same supposed evidence that virtually every terrorist incident of the last decade has been a fake — it doesn't look "right." But this is a non-evidence based approach that appeals to emotion and ignorance. Things don't look how they're "supposed" to look — they look like what they look like. Not to mention that this look changes as time passes, as authorities intervene and depending on where you're looking. Take a picture of the patio of Twin Peaks and a picture of the parking lot — same place, same incident, totally different area.

In the case of Waco, it makes perfect sense that many of the bikers are sitting under guard, rather than under arrest — many weren't arrested. Another common thread in the hoax conspiracy is that the bikers' patches and vests look too new to have been anything other than costumes. But how is a biker's patch and vest supposed to look? Why does that mean anything? Wouldn't it be just as fair to say that either how something looks is entirely one's opinion, or that they look clean and new because they're worn with pride and represent the club that one has pledged their allegiance to?

And what's the point of a hoax, anyway? Who gains what from it? Isn't it risky to stage a hoax shooting with hundreds of witnesses, any of whom might crack and go to the press? Of course, these are the same questions asked of 9/11 hoaxers, Sandy Hook hoaxers and Boston Bombing hoaxers — and they never get around to answering them.

Conspiracy — The Waco Biker Shooting and Jade Helm 15 are somehow related.

As any true conspiracy watcher knows, Jade Helm 15 is the code name for a special operations exercise the United States is running in seven states in the southwest, from July to September. Some people believe this is merely a smokescreen to get US troops into these states for the purposes of a government takeover. Isn't it "interesting" that the Waco shootout took place in the state where Jade Helm is headquartered? How could that possibly be a coincidence?
"With all the goings-on in Texas in regard to the joint military training exercise known as Operation Jade Helm 15, the field for such rabble was ripe for the picking.
" — Patriot News Wire
"It's just too coincidental that this Jade Helm thing is going on with TX the stated target, the biker shooting in Waco involved the Banditos gang which a year ago Holder's (criminal) Justice Dept released a report about that gang and stated concern that they have many active and retired military [sic], police and other federal government personnel as members (one of their "red list" targets that now they can portray as criminals), AND on top of all that TX is being completely hammered with extreme weather that seems suspiciously like what one would characterize as weather war."
50K View
"Now that most of the troops are in place, we have our first of what many are calling the catalyst, the gas on the fire to get it blazing, in the shooting that took place in Waco, where at least 9 bikers from rivaling gangs were left dead. The only question is, was this a set up?"
Patriot News Wire

Given that there's little behind the rampant Jade Helm conspiracy theories, there's even less to the connection between it and the Waco shooting. What would the two have to do with each other? Some rumors state that the shooting was a way to cull patriotic, gun-owning Texans — but there are hundreds of thousands of Texans who own guns, few of whom are in motorcycle gangs. What good is killing a few of them? It's the same lack of logic that says the closing of a few Wal-Mart stores means martial law is one the way. When you're dealing with a huge government takeover, what's the point of taking out only a tiny fraction of its opponents? If the UN or Obama or whoever wanted to get rid of anyone dangerous, this is probably the worst, least efficient way to do it.

As more details emerge about the Waco shooting, we'll have answers to some of the questions that have been asked since the incident first took place. And no doubt, those answers will simply be folded into the conspiracies surrounding it.

by Mike Rothschild

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