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Mitchell: Biker gangs no different from street gangs

Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. | AP file photo

Don’t mess with Texas.

After motorcycle gangs got into a violent confrontation that left nine people dead and 18 others wounded, police locked up 170 bikers on charges that could keep them behind bars for a while.

I suppose all bikers have a little rebel in them, but Waco Police described these guys as “lawless criminals” engaged in narcotics, prostitution, illegal gambling and other illicit activities.

OPINION

On Sunday, rival motorcycle gangs were meeting at Twin Peaks, a popular restaurant in Waco, Texas, when a fight broke out in the restroom.

The fight spilled over into a parking lot and out came the knives, chains and guns.

The bloodletting took place while families, many of them with children, were patrons at the restaurant.

Police are still trying to sort out whether all nine bikers were killed by rival gunfire or by officers.

Meanwhile, the bikers have been charged with engaging in organized crime linked to capital murder, the New York Times reported.

Maybe I missed a black face somewhere, but all of the men shown on TV being led away in handcuffs were white.

I’m sure some black people breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out the people being rounded up were not African-Americans.

Frankly, black people get tired of seeing black faces in published mug shots — a practice that makes it appear that the majority of black youth are armed and running wild in the street.

Ordinarily when something like this happens, I have to wade through nasty comments from haters.

But I haven’t heard a peep out of them since the Waco shootout.

Apparently, they understand that a group of hoodlums in leather doesn’t represent the entire white race.

According to police, the deadly incident in Waco likely began with a dispute over a parking space.

Since the shooting, details about the biker culture have emerged that I find mind-boggling.

For instance, the “Bandidos,” one of the motorcycle gangs whose members were involved in the shootout, is on a list of known criminal organizations compiled by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, according to the New York Times.

Instead of “thugs” and “gang-bangers,” the heads of these “criminal organizations” are referred to in the media as chairmen and leaders.

Somehow, the biker gang culture has managed to escape the scorn that most of us have when it comes to black gangs.

But as I said, you don’t mess with Texas. Each of the 170 bikers is being held on $1 million bail. The high bail sent a clear message to other motorcycle gang members that Waco isn’t about to give its streets over to armed gangsters.

We need a similar shake-up in Chicago.

Here, armed gang members camp out in some neighborhoods like snipers.

When they are caught with weapons, some of us actually complain that the gun-toters shouldn’t have been searched in the first place. And while it takes months for the wounded to recover, most shooters are back on the street in a matter of days.

In Chicago, gang members are not only shooting each other, they are shooting innocent bystanders.

My haters won’t admit this, but the Waco shootout represents a depraved level of violence.

But sadly, what happened in Waco is really no worse than what has been happening in our city for years.