A police spokesman said on Monday that 192 people were being charged in the shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at a busy shopping plaza in the Central Texas city of Waco on Sunday that left at least nine bikers dead and 18 others wounded.Charlie Pierce mocks the usual gang of tut-tutters, whom he expects to be conspicuously silent about this:
Law enforcement officials said the gun battle was primarily between the Bandidos and Cossacks gangs, a continuation of a long-running feud between the two groups, though members of the Scimitars and two other gangs were also involved....
The gunfire erupted about 12:15 p.m. on Sunday outside the restaurant, and the fight spilled into the parking lot, initially involving just fists and feet, but escalating quickly to chains, knives, clubs and firearms....
“There were multiple people on the scene firing weapons at each other,” Sergeant Swanton said. “They then turned on our officers. Our officers returned gunfire, wounding and possibly killing several.”
I am sure that, when the dust settles, and the 200-odd (!) people who were arrested get arraigned, we will hear a great deal from the usual suspects about the cultural pathologies inherent in white society that are at the root of episodes like this one. David Brooks will notice that white people -- many of whom wear ponytails and mullets -- also tend to fk without his approval, and Ross Cardinal Douthat will wonder whether we'd even have motorcycle gangs if Pius XII were still alive. Earnest pundits on television will agree that we must discover immediately how many of the assembled grew up in two-parent homes.But I think Brooks and Douthat really might get on their high horses about this, even given the low melanin levels of the participants. In their crowd, it's very common these days to say that, yes, black people have a defective culture, but it's all liberals' fault, and now poorer whites are behaving badly as well, for the same reasons. Here's Douthat last year:
... I do think that if you’re looking for a discussion of the “culture of poverty” that isn’t particularly racialized and that’s pretty intently focused on social problems in the white (and Hispanic) working class as well as in African-American communities, you can find it quite easily among right-of-center policy thinkers, in the pages and pixels of conservative journals and magazines, and (occasionally, if too-infrequently) in the rhetoric of conservative politicians as well.The Charles Murray argument appeared in a 2012 book titled Coming Apart, which Brooks gave a rave review:
... it’s at least noteworthy a generation [after The Bell Curve], the name “Charles Murray” is mainly associated with a controversial argument about cultural collapse in downscale white America, and the most recent cover story on poverty, culture and welfare in a political magazine was Kevin Williamson’s grim essay on Appalachia in National Review.
’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.” I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.In the case of Waco, it wouldn't surprise me to see Brooks and Douthat argue, following Murray, that white social pathology stems from the fact that rich people who've mastered the manly and Christian art of self-control no longer live on the hill just overlooking their moral inferiors, but now live way out there, where their profound moral influence can't be felt. They may also blame the sixties -- hey, the Cossacks were founded in 1969! -- and to ignore the fact that America has been worried about biker gang violence since at least the 1953 film The Wild One, which traces its origins, in part, to news reports of a California biker riot that took place in 1947.
... there are vast behavioral gaps between the educated upper tribe (20 percent of the country) and the lower tribe (30 percent of the country). This is where Murray is at his best, and he’s mostly using data on white Americans, so the effects of race and other complicating factors don’t come into play.
Brooks and Douthat won't care. They'll blame the Summer of Love and the Grateful Dead for what happened in Waco. They'll say rich liberal elitists should have prevented a Texas bar fight. Moral scolders gotta scold.
Meanhile, what's our plan for the aftermath in Waco? I assume the everyone who matches the biker profile -- white, male, beer gut -- will now be stopped and frisked by the cops, based on "reasonable suspicion." Right?