Judging from comments on social media, local law enforcement officials supposedly staged a big Saturday morning bomb threat to shut down a memorial service for bikers killed in the May 17 shooting melee at Twin Peaks. One critic even suggested the police shutdown rivaled the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for protesting homosexuality at the funerals of war dead.
But as long as we’re in the realm of speculation, what might have happened had an explosive device actually been placed downtown? Gone are the days when an ice chest and a suitcase sitting near a protest site can be dismissed as completely inconsequential. In this day and age when just enough people believe they must make a political or religious point in a cataclysmic way by claiming the lives of the innocent, when evidence of such thinking dominates newspaper headlines at home and abroad, a risk exists in simply underestimating such matters.
Besides, why should law enforcement fear 75 bikers holding a solemn memorial downtown, one complete with hearse? Judging from police handling of the several hundred bikers who mounted an impressive protest at the McLennan County Courthouse in June, Saturday’s event was surely no threat. At times it seemed to take on the air of an old-fashioned revival, complete with placards that read: “Waco, you have sinned!”
Happily, the introduction of a robot and bomb expert to check the ice chest and suitcase that curtailed the protest soon enough revealed no cause for alarm.
Bikers at Saturday’s protest are right to demand answers about the deaths of the bikers killed outside Twin Peaks. They’re right to demand answers about the role police had in the gunfire. And they’re right to demand greater accountability by our criminal justice system in the cases of bikers arrested in this tragedy. But bikers shouldn’t let conspiracy theories about ice chests deter their broader search for real truth.