Waco, Texas- Twin Peaks Shootout

twin peaks waco texas

In light of the recent shootout in Waco, Texas involving motorcycle clubs, I decided to write this blog to eliminate a lot of the confusion between the terminology of bikers, riders, gangs, riding groups, and m.c. (motorcycle clubs).

The reason is simple enough: whenever a motorcycle is involved, you are guaranteed that the media will say it was biker gang. You never hear of “car gangs,” so obviously, a stigma still exists with motorcycles and those that ride them, and shows like Sons of Anarchy, while entertaining since I was a big fan, doesn’t help.

Even as recent as a few weeks ago when I was posting one of my Leesburg 2015 videos, I came across a video from Leesburg Bike Fest where the title had “scary bikers” and “clubs” and the description read “Motorcycle Gang Review.” Well, a 3 hour mass on an early Sunday morning was more interesting than that video. The video only showed a lot of people hanging around in Leesburg, some were members of motorcycle clubs, some were not. But, the keywords were there; a marketing lesson learned from the media, and now that person has close to 280,000 hits on YouTube.

Many of those depicted in the video were not even M.C.’s, but Associations or LEMC’s (Law Enforcement Motorcycle Clubs) which have nothing to do with M.C.’s. Videos such as that one only proves to me this person knows nothing of the motorcycle culture and that selling “fear” works. I’ve never understood why someone would write an article or speak without knowledge on a specific subject without proper research. The only thing worse is when the media or individuals with knowledge just lie to further their own interests.

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Now, speaking of the devil, today, the driver (Alexian Lien) of the infamous video of the black Range Rover that ran over bikers in New York was testifying in court. The first thing you see in the media clip is the heading “motorcycle gang attacks driver.” See what I mean? Not everyone on a motorcycle is in a gang or even an M.C. (Motorcycle Club). Some are just people that ride a motorcycle; take for example Jay Leno and George Clooney.

I have even been asked before “what club do I belong to.” I don’t belong to any club. I created a “independent riding group” called M.S.A.R.(Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Riders). My riding group doesn’t wear patches or even have T-shirts with our group name on it. But, that is the naivety or the poison pill the public at large has been given. God forbid someone rides with patches on the back of their leather vest because if so, it is time to hide the women and children. But, to eliminate the confusion, there is a very easy way to figure all this out and along the way, learn the reality of the motorcycle community rather than focus on myth and urban legends.

An M.C. will have a 3 piece patch. The top patch has the name of the club, their logo in the center, and what is known as the bottom rocker with the state of that particular chapter or M.C. is from. It will also say M.C. on the vest.

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A riding group will not have that bottom rocker that reads “Florida” or any other state,  and if anything, “RG” or riding group will be on their vest. In addition, with few exceptions, whenever a club member is riding, he is required to wear his vest. So, if you see someone riding and they do not have a vest on, you can assume they do not belong to any club.

In the picture below is a photo of a Harley Davidson vest. Yes, it seems like a 3 piece patch but first of all, we all know that Harley Davidson is not an M.C. Secondly, it doesn’t read “M.C.” anywhere, and finally, no state rocker on the bottom. It’s that simple. Watch again the clip with the Range Rover, and you will see there are no M.C. patches.

harley davidson motorcycle vest

Furthermore, it looks as if the only thing that particular group had in common was that they were riding motorcycles. Now, I can accuse those in that video of many things, but being a “gang” is not one of them.

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Now, while writing this post, I decided to look up Webster’s definition of “motorcyclist.” According to Webster’s dictionary, it is someone who “is a member of an organized club or gang.” Really? Okay, I guess I will have to provide my own definitions and now I understand why everyone thinks anyone with a motorcycle is a gang member.

Let’s first start with the term “biker.” I personally consider a biker an individual who does belong to an M.C. and if they don’t, at the minimum lives the biker life-style. The rest of us I consider riders, including myself.

Way too often the weekend warrior types call themselves “bikers” because of the image they are trying to convey but just because you own and ride a motorcycle, that does not make you a biker. A rider? Yes. A weekend warrior? Most likely. But not a biker.

Being a biker is a way of life if not all of your life. Bikers in M.C.’s belong to a brotherhood that they consider their family and if not in an M.C., bikers still live, eat, sleep, and breathe the motorcycle sub-culture. Wanting to ride this weekend doesn’t qualify you as a biker. Riders are just riders. There is no “life-style.” We ride on weekends, sometimes during the week, and occasionally we enjoy an out-of-town ride.

Now, I play golf on the weekends. Does that make me a golfer? No! Researching various websites I couldn’t even find the word, even though I am called a “golfer” all the time. Actually, those who play golf like me, just call ourselves “weekend hackers.” If you work on your bike are you a mechanic? If you add parts to your bike are you a bike builder? You see what I am getting at?

As to gangs, I found myself researching the Florida Statutes and I’ll assume Texas has a similar statute. Below is a part of the statute:

874.03  Definitions.–As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Criminal gang” means a formal or informal ongoing organization, association, or group that has as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal or delinquent acts, and that consists of three or more persons who have a common name or common identifying signs, colors, or symbols, including, but not limited to, terrorist organizations and hate groups.

That definition is exactly why the term “biker gang” should rarely be used. The two words that should stand out are “primary activities.” Thus, if an M.C. or riding group has a member that does participate in crimes, that doesn’t mean that is the primary activity of the club or group, but just the primary activity of that one individual. Now, from a legal standpoint, that doesn’t mean legal issues are avoided for that M.C. or riding group, but by definition, it is NOT a “gang.”

But, let’s be realistic for a second. A news story about a guy riding a motorcycle or a motorcyclist did this or that, will not grab as many headlines as “biker gang!” The media is in the “fear mongering” business. Just watch the news for five minutes if you don’t believe me, then watch it again the last thirty seconds because that is the only time you will get the “feel good” story. You always have to end on a good note.

Now, the same way every rider or biker is not in a gang, is the same way every M.C. is not a “gang.” Again, one individual does not speak for the group. M.C.’s sometimes have thousands of members and many chapters spread out through the state, country, and sometimes the world. Yet, the media lumps them all together when one or a few act out. Give thought for a second to the fact I am an attorney. Per the statute above, are there three or more of us that share a common name? Yes, especially if it is a law firm. Are the “primary activities the commission of criminal or delinquent acts?” Don’t answer that! I already know all the jokes on attorneys. But, seriously, does one attorney speak on my behalf? No.

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Now, I am sure there are “M.C.’s” out there that are involved in criminal acts the same way I am sure there are attorneys in a law firm involved in criminal acts, and politicians, and the list goes on in infinity. As a matter of fact, my trial advocacy class in law school was taught by Scott Rothstein, the largest Ponzi Schemer in the state of Florida and the forth largest in history.

You can’t have “good” without having “bad” first. “Bad” helps define good and the fact is, there is bad everywhere. But, before we rush to judgment, lets have the facts play out.

I know the M.C.’s in Miami. I know their members, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, wives/girlfriends, and children. I also know very well their charitable efforts. They not only have their own great charities and causes that they support, but they support mine as well, but you will not see any of that in media because that doesn’t grab headlines.

Good and bad exists in every walk of life. The media? They have their own agenda as I have mine. I admit, our agendas are polar opposites, but, part of my agenda is making people realize that bikers and riders deserve to share the road with automobiles. The image we inherited is not deserved. Don’t believe me? I’ll introduce you to some of those that I ride with and you can decide based on facts and not speculation.

In closing, I also wish to point out that when this story first broke, I did notice a lot of inconsistencies and facts that did not make sense, but I will let time sort that out and I’m sure I’ll be writing more blogs on this case as time goes by.

In the meantime,  have fun, ride safe, and be careful. I look forward to seeing you on the road soon.

M.C. Atty

 

 

58 thoughts on “Waco, Texas- Twin Peaks Shootout

  • August 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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    J.W.- thanks for replying. I have been out of town for three weeks riding cross country so I didn’t have the chance to reply earlier. I spent one night in Waco and stopped by Twin Peaks which I will write about and show the video. Definitely a strange feeling when you are there.

  • July 17, 2015 at 3:43 am
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    I am a Cossack. I am also one of the 117 arrested who had no criminal history as well as 5 other members of my chapter there that day. Including my best friend who lost his life. The club is 46 years old. Google the Texas Cossacks and you won’t find one article concerning criminal activity dated before 5-17-15. We were never classified as a criminal gang by any law enforcement to the best of my knowledge before that date. Only after some of us were killed and wounded by law enforcement. I guess they have to say that after they shot some of us. They have to justify their actions somehow. Neither myself or any members of my chapter had guns on their person or took part in the violence. But yet we are all charged the same. Usually the accused are afraid of surveillance video but in this case the accused are begging for the videos. And the law enforcement are afraid of them being seen.

  • June 13, 2015 at 7:11 am
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    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  • June 8, 2015 at 10:36 am
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    Hey, thanks for the post.Thanks Again. Cool.

  • June 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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    Can’t help you there, sorry.

  • June 5, 2015 at 6:04 am
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    Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  • June 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm
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    Thanks for the tip Mirtha. Will look into it immediately.

  • June 4, 2015 at 8:11 am
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    Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  • Pingback: The Latest on Waco Shooting- A Shocker! | M.C. Atty

  • May 31, 2015 at 4:21 am
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    Thank you.

  • May 30, 2015 at 10:17 am
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    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most individuals will agree with your website.

  • May 30, 2015 at 4:01 am
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    2Q0d81 Great info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • May 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm
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    Gabby, you know why I enjoy the motorcycle community so much- b/c they are non-judgmental.There is a reason I don’t hang out with attorneys. All we care about is riding, meeting new people, share stories about our rides, etc.. When I went to Sturgis in 2012, it was an amazing experience to be riding through a row of bikes and some guy passing by taps my shoulder and says “ride safe brother.” Or being in the middle of nowhere and bikers show up, we give each other the nod, and we start talking what route did you take, how many miles so far. Trying doing that when show up in a car and approach another cager. Thanks for the post.

  • Pingback: Criminal Biker Gangs in South Florida | M.C. Atty

  • May 27, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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    Thank you. I will say however you forgot M.M. I ride with a very well known MM and if you read the different Motorcycle Organizations that were arrested one was an MM. For those who do not know what an MM is. Motorcycle Ministry. It’s a Group of Riders who do this as a outreach to Motorcycle Clubs, Groups, Riders, etc. It’s just like a Church going out to do a street reach where we go and set up to visit with the homeless, addicts, gangs, etc. We ride together but promote Christ. Some of us are just riders per the term and some are bikers. Some eat live breath (myself), some do it for a ministry. Some of us are Current Former Law Enforcement/Military (myself), some of us have a criminal record to include felony, or just maybe a few traffic tickets (myself). Never will you hear one of us say We are perfect.

  • May 26, 2015 at 7:56 pm
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    Freeman- definitely a double standard. Btw, of those with an arrest record, what type of record is also important. As expected, it is spreading. It is my understanding a Hooter’s restaurant close to Miami is not allowing clubs inside anymore. That Hooter’s has the longest and largest bike night gathering.

  • May 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm
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    I recall a series of events wherein cops from the NYPD came down to Washington DC and fought with the DC Metro Police. Then the DC Metro Police went to New York and fought their police. And back and forth.
    I do not recall these armed gangs getting very much media attention. These stories were mostly “blacked out.” Yet these were organized and planned attacks on police officers. Charges? Nah! Just boys being boys was how it was described. Double standard? You betcha!
    Out of 170 bikers arrested in Waco 117 have no prior arrest record. Quite a large percentage of those carrying firearms held current concealed weapons permits. Twin Peaks was not a business that had a weapons ban because they were not a 51% sales establishment.
    I appreciate your blog. Straight facts are certainly not coming out from Waco PD’s talking schmuck. One question I have is why the ATF or any of the other agencies involved step forward when Swanton was telling lies they all knew were lies? Their credibility was impacted by him naming them as part of his “force.”

  • May 26, 2015 at 12:32 am
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    Thank you Jimmie. Good to know. I don’t mind learning something new everyday. Keep riding riding and be safe.

  • May 25, 2015 at 11:01 pm
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    I appreciate your article it was pretty much on point however I belong to an international motorcycle association… we wear a 3 piece patch… top rocker..center patch… and bottom rocker… I know it is rare but there are some 3 piece patches that are not 1% clubs… we are a piecefull lot and do not support any clubs including 1% clubs… keep up the good blogging someone has to educate the general public besides the idiots in the media and the police… IN THE WIND

  • May 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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    Thanks Dave for reading the article.

  • May 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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    finally a voice of reason. thank you

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm
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    Jerry, I just commented that when I first read the article, my first reaction was no innocent bystanders where shot, including police? The Police even have seemed to be bashing Twin Peaks that has required them to reply publicly on their Facebook page multiple times since the Waco Police Dept. is saying that Twin Peaks wasn’t cooperating with them. Since then, reports have come out that bikers were running into the restaurant and having the patrons lie down to take cover.

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm
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    Thank you Luis A Jazz. What I wonder is why people keep following the media?

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    Thank you Jorge. They don’t do what’s best to inform the public, they do what is best to line their pockets.

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    At least that one event gets coverage. Let me guess, the “feel good” story, 20-30 seconds at the end of the newscast, b/c the first 20 minutes it’s all negative. Seriously, I don’t know how people can watch the news regularly and not be in a constant state of fear.

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm
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    Thanks Fork M.C. 45, glad you enjoyed it. I think this piece came more from frustration and anger at how the media reports in general, but specifically about the motorcycle community. Like someone commented in this post, the media isn’t reporting about 500,000 bikers in D.C. right now, but, if two bikers get in a fight, well, the media will report “fight breaks out in criminal biker rally.” Which reminds me, a couple of years ago I was checking into my hotel in Key West for the Poker Run, of course, the guy in front of me, wanted to cancel his reservation b/c he didn’t want to stay in the hotel with all these criminal bikers. I just laughed and told him what I do for a living, then told him the money raised goes to the Diabetes Research Institute. Yesterday, the thought crossed my mine that as we have all experienced, how cagers treat us on the road and I wouldn’t put it past them that in the back of their mind they are thinking- so what if I hit him, I’m doing society a favor, he’s just a criminal biker.

  • May 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm
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    John, I will start off by saying thank you for your service! As to Waco Police Department, from the word “go” I saw many inconsistencies as I’m sure everyone else did and other things that just defied logic. In my opinion, like you wrote, “dodge” & dip.” We have all seen the generic replies “I cannot comment at this time since the matter is still under investigation” and “no comment.” But, it avoids “foot in mouth” syndrome. From what I have read so far, the “weapons” include nail clippers even the chains tied to wallets that bikers use and the 1,000 weapons has since been reduced to 318. A friend of mine posted the article on Facebook when it first occurred and after reading the article, the first thought that cross my mind was no innocent bystanders or police officers where shot or injured? And by the way, the criminal gangs include the Leathernecks, M.C. and other M.C.’s tied in to Military Veterans. Of course, even here as far away as south Florida, I have heard the rumors that The Bandidos have declared war on “all” police officers of the Waco Police Dept.Let me guess, some nutjob, not related to the motorcycle community in any way, calls this in, and now the police have passed on that information to the media. Actually, the Waco Police Dept. already posted that on their website. As an attorney, I have seen it way too many times when an attorney is enjoying the media attention they are receiving and it does more harm than good to their client and their case. By now, Sgt. Swanton is thinking of his future book deal.

    One more thing, $1 million bail is unheard of and beyond absurd! The bikers did not kill anyone! Throw punches, fight? Yes. But I can’t remember of any cases where someone is being held on $1 million bail on assault or weapons charges. Of course, their attorneys will seek to reduce the excessive bail and most likely succeed, but in the meantime, everyone is sitting in jail, including a retired law enforcement officer who now is employed as a bus driver.

  • May 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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    You know what Jeffrey, you are 100% right!That fact didn’t even cross my mind. Even when I go online, you don’t see it as “trending now.”

  • May 25, 2015 at 3:43 am
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    All the coverage of the incident in Waco but 500 thousand plus show up in DC and nothing where is the media?

  • May 24, 2015 at 11:57 pm
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    Great article!

  • May 24, 2015 at 11:54 pm
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    Wolf: Waco Police can blame themselves

    The Waco Police Department has no right to take issue with so called conspiracies about what happened 1 as well as questions about the mass arrests, the $1 million bail,2 and the refusal to ask for assistance from outside agencies3
    Whether four out-of-the nine or zero out-of -he nine dead of gunshot wounds were killed due to police weaponry is irrelevant to point of this article. What disappoints me about The Waco Police Department is that they have let the public down – not necessarily due to their actions on the ground, but due to their irresponsible media relations work lead by Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton. He “dove” to often when he should have “dodged” or “dipped.”4 Irresponsible media relations, in my experience, leads to riskier conditions on the ground as well.
    I hate when commentators justify their opinions based upon a vague resume references analogous to, “I have X years experience with Y,” “I did X for Y years ,” or “you have no X experience but I did X for Y years.” But, while in the Army, I worked in a field termed by the Army as Information Operations. This field brings together the areas of Media Relations and Psychological Operations. True Media Relation officers will distance themselves from PSYOPS officers because, in the opinion of many, the latter tests the element of trustworthiness and truth when speaking to the media. Trust is something that a good government media relations officer must cherish, hold sacred, and consistently maintain. Once a media relations specialist looses his trustworthiness, his reputation and the representation of his government department is tarnished and he/she will face unnecessary scrutiny which brings unwanted heat to any situation and is basically worthless a spokesperson.
    In my career, I saw many military public affairs spokespersons reassigned to a rear echelon level jobs far from the limelight of a press conference such as cutting and pasting news clips and doing media analysis. Maybe this is not necessary, but it would do the Waco PD good if Swanton were to get a sudden case of laryngitis, have a family emergency, or just go on that vacation he has had planned for months.

    Rule #1: Do not speculate
    Swanton’s 1,000 weapons recovered figure5 was in his exact words a “best-guess estimate.” He is an admitted speculator here. By speculating early, then coming out with more accurate numbers, his credibility first began to drain away. He did admit his mistake, but the whole purpose of having a media specialist is the fact that they are a “specialists.” One of the things that make them special, is the fact that they know when to NOT speculate.

    Rule #2: Make sure your information is accurate before releasing it.
    In his initial releases, Swanton claimed that all the bikers killed were members of either Bandidos or Cossacks. Recent evidence 6 has suggested otherwise. Swanton has also indicated that the meeting at Twin Peaks included “five rival gangs” who were to meet to discuss“turf and recruitment” 7. This has also come to be known as an untruth8. This claim coincides with Swanton’s enforcement of a vast over-generalization about the bikers in attendance of the Texas Region 1 Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting.“These are criminals on Harley-Davidsons that are members of a criminal biker gang, and we know they who they are.”9 He also has initially indicated that the fight started inside the restaurant, but evidence now shows this as an untruth surrounded by other compelling contradictions.7

    Rule #3: Don’t contradict yourself, or jump to conclusions.
    While police have yet to determine which or if any of the dead were killed by Waco officers, according to Swanton and the Waco P.D, they claim that the officers who fired “without a doubt-did a hell of a job…..and saved numerous lives.”

    It is most likely possible that these severe errors in media relations are to continue. Perhaps the Memorial Day weekend will bring about new, unusual, and more recent stories to distract the media and the public away from all this media mess. Granted, that is the news cycle. But, this could be Swanson’s strategy. If so, Swanson has strayed from public relations into PSYOPS, where the truth does not matter.

    By violating these three simple rule, Swanson has put his and other jurisdictional officers in danger by not serving the public good and only the good of himself – directing media attention away from the facts, focusing on the outrageous, and being generally irresponsible with the release of information. It is now harder for me to believe that he and the police department have the public interests at heart. It seems they are focused only upon their own. He has made it possible for myself, many other bikers and members of the public to now over-generalize about him, his department, and all police in general.

    While early on it may have seemed credible that Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs have ties in the military and other government agencies in which they will use to procure grenades, explosives and automatic weapons and are planning to use them against the police; it doesn’t seem likely anymore.

    Disabilities due to my military service have severely limited my ability to work. I am now a teacher. A couple weeks ago during a reading class, the topic was finding the theme of a story. My students and I were discussing “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” One student clarified them by saying, “If you call for help when you don’t really need it too much, then no one will believe you when you do need help.”

    Time will tell if Swanson has “cried wolf” too often to be believed anymore and if him or other officers will end up being eaten by the big bad wolf.

  • May 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm
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    Thank you for that spot on piece. You know you’re stuff! I appreciate when a person knows the subject on which they speak and report the facts. Something the media has forgotten. So thank you.

  • May 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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    well read, well read indeed
    Thank You

  • May 24, 2015 at 3:45 am
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    Thank you for posting it on your page. Look me up on Facebook under MC Atty. Take care and ride safe!

  • May 24, 2015 at 3:41 am
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    Yes, Steve, unfortunately, the image problem is everywhere. You are judged in so many different ways but never judged as a person that just likes to ride his motorcycle.

  • May 24, 2015 at 3:38 am
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    thank you Laura. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • May 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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    Very interesting and very well said! Thank you

  • May 23, 2015 at 8:36 am
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    U b the man of the hour Alex !

  • May 23, 2015 at 5:55 am
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    Very good read, here in South Africa we have the very same problem. Only one charitable event is acknowledged…..the annual Toy run for underprivileged kids.

    I have reposted this article onto my personal fb page.
    Respect
    Lizard

  • May 23, 2015 at 1:51 am
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    It mercy be publicize in the more open forum. I agree with all you… Excellent job Alex. Media make a news for sell no matter what, They just want to Sell,,

  • May 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm
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    Very well written, good job Alex

  • May 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm
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    Extremely well researched and written. Great job Alex.

  • May 22, 2015 at 2:32 pm
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    Very well written.

  • May 22, 2015 at 3:12 am
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    Agreed. I share the same thoughts. Fear mongering existed long before the realm of “instant media” that exists today. Bad news and fear sells.
    Movies, TV shows, and typical portrayals in these forms of media have also contributed to the misleading information out there for the general public to tap into for their reference point.
    I also noticed the careful choice of words used by officers and other officials in the Waco incident. All of the story has not been told and not all of the questions have been asked and answered. A lot of what happened there doesn’t make sense in regard to the actions and staging of law enforcement.
    Thank you for sharing Alex.

  • May 22, 2015 at 2:52 am
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    So many jump to conclusions without knowing or understanding the facts, seems like par for the course lately. Media with their own agenda, feeding an ignorant public that believes everything on the news as facts, is truly sad and dangerous.

    Excellent blog!!!!!!!!!

    Luis A Jazz

  • May 22, 2015 at 1:56 am
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    Very well written!

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