A shootout between biker gangs over parking spaces in the Texas town of Waco has left 9 people gang members dead and almost 200 in police custody.
Whilst it is common knowledge that gangs of all sorts consider various parts of their neighbourhoods to be their “territory” – Russia, for example, considers most of Europe to be in theirs – disputes often lead to fatalities, and Sunday afternoon lunch in downtown Waco turned into what witnesses have described as a “war zone” after five rival biker gangs opened fire on each other.
The dispute is said to have begun with punches being thrown before knives and then guns were drawn. An article on the BBC suggests the fight began as an altercation over parking spaces, however the Waco Tribune describes the incident as having started in the toilets, so possibly the argument began over the dimensions of available space in the trouser department, rather than the parking lot.
It’s likely that the gangs had rather more to say to each other, however, which begs the question as to why – if the police knew in advance of their arrival – they were all allowed to gather together, at the same time, carrying guns, in a popular location frequented by many thousands of ordinary folk. Because five violent biker gangs visiting the same restroom isn’t going to result in a crossing of the streams now, is it?
There are plenty of occasions where poor parking has caused citizens the world over to wish that murder was a legitimate option, but most people sensibly resort to nothing more forceful than aggressive leafleting.
No doubt the debate about gun control in the US will re-ignite, and no doubt the flag-waving, gun-toting right-wing lobbyists will rant about the second amendment and how patriotic it is to be allowed to carry firearms in public spaces. There are better ways, however, to resolve disputes about parking – or the size of your manhood – than resorting to all out warfare.