A meeting at a restaurant in Waco, Texas between five biker gangs to “settle their differences” led to a bathroom brawl with fists that quickly devolved into chains, knives, and eventually gunfire from the bikers towards one another and at police. Waco police and Texas State troopers then attempted  pick off those firing into the crowd.

It was a bloodbath, and criminal charges from those who were part of the melee are starting to stack up:

It happened in broad daylight — around noon Sunday, at the restaurant known for scantily clad servers and “bike nights.”

The fracas apparently started inside the restaurant’s bathroom with something as simple as a shove or a disrespectful glance, authorities told CNN affiliate KTVT.

That brawl quickly escalated into a fistfight, which led to a knife fight, KTVT said.

The brouhaha spilled into the parking lot, where the gunfire erupted, Swanton said.

Bullets flew toward police, who returned fire. No officers were wounded, and all of the dead and injured are believed to be bikers, Swanton said.

He declined to identify the biker gangs involved. By the time the scene cleared, CNN affiliate KWTX said, authorities had recovered more than 100 weapons.

192 bikers from five gangs are in the county jail, and face felony charges—at an apparent minimum—of engaging in organized crime. Other charges may include capital murder for some of them, though theoretically, it seems possible that all 192 could face murder charges under Texas’ implementation of the felony murder rule if the prosecutor felt like sending a message and greatly expanding the number of people on death row.

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What is the lesson big from this incident for the rest of us?

Situational Awareness

Believe it or not, there are reports that there were customers other than the 200+ outlaw bikers at Twin Peaks when the battle unfolded.

The technical term for these customers is “idiots.”

Folks, if you see biker gangs and more than a dozen local law enforcement officers and state troopers standing outside with AR-15s, that should be a clue that you are in an area where serious trouble is expected… and you should leave.

Of course, events like this are incredibly rare, but “ordinary” violent crime is not uncommon.

People are robbed and assaulted every single day, and most of them seem oblivious to the presence of possible threats until they are already under attack, which puts them at a tremendous disadvantage.

In this day and age, seemingly the single biggest impediment to situational awareness are personal electronics, or rather, our tendency to become engrossed in them to the near total exclusion of everything around us.

Whether smart phones or MP3 players or tablets and other devices, many people are so deeply engrossed in what is going on in the personal device in their hands that they are completely unaware of what is going on around them.

For example, how many of you are reading this on a mobile device in a public area, and have read this far down the page without lifting your head to scan and assess your immediate area? That’s something to think about…

We’re strongly of the opinion that the very best kind of defensive weapon use is that event you avoid by being aware of potential threats, and then avoiding them.

Practice your situational awareness, scanning ahead, to the sides, and behind you for not only obvious threats or “bad areas,” but things that just seem “off” or out of place. Learn to trust that primal inner voice that is attempting to tell you that something isn’t quite right.

And maybe, just maybe, you should avoid biker wars.