LETTERS: Two critics ask questions about the controversial May 17 biker shootout at Twin Peaks
Bad for Waco
This biker incident is unfortunate for Waco. It has produced more bad press for a town that has already lagged behind. Waco doesn’t need to be famous for another mass killing.
A situation in which apparently innocent bystanders who don’t even own motorcycles, are not in any club and have no criminal history were swept up in mass arrests and their personal property seized doesn’t sit well with people who value their own freedom and possessions. The McLennan County Jail is a private for-profit business, leaving Waco ripe for criticism that people are being held there on million-dollar bonds as more of a money-making scheme for the jail than a pursuit of justice.
Allegations that the corporation that runs the jail has made contributions to the McLennan County district attorney open him up for ethical questions about his decision to set unreasonable bail amounts. Now the lawsuits against Waco have begun. This is likely going to drag on for years, during which the only stories the nation will hear about Waco are bad ones.
I have heard 18 police officers were pre-positioned with sniper equipment at Twin Peaks prior to any shots being fired. But they were all hidden, in tactical gear, with no marked cruisers in the Twin Peaks parking lot or mall parking lot or adjacent highway. Likely just one marked police vehicle with lights going would have prevented trouble, as no fight would have started in front of an obvious police presence. Sadly, the police chose to have no visible presence.
Even 18 police officers can’t break up a fight from 50 yards away; they can just send bullets into the fray, which is apparently what they did. That is what the military does, but it is not what police are supposed to do.
So we have a town that has abandoned community law enforcement in favor of military-assault vehicles and sniper weapons; private for-profit jails hungry for prisoners; and possibly corrupt officials. This is not a formula for growth.
Michael Russell, Woodway
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It’s time for Central Texas citizens to ask questions regarding the May 17 incident at Twin Peaks. Who was actually shooting who? Was this a setup and by what organization? And why was everyone’s bond set at $1 million? Do we really believe everyone arrested is guilty and should still be held in jail? Why is it OK for all vehicles to be confiscated, or why are these still being held?
As citizens, we are not blind or foolish. We know there are some dangerous people out there. We also know that what police and the news media tell us is not the complete truth. We as citizens here in Central Texas are entitled to the truth. Citizens who did not commit a crime such as murder should not be held in jail till District Attorney Abel Reyna or others simply decide they are of no advantage.
We live in the United States of America. One of our most cherished principles and rights remains this: One is innocent till proven guilty.
Tone Mahon, Waco