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Posts Tagged ‘Gypsy Joker’

Happy New Years!

Now that the champagne toasts are made and the ball dropped, it’s time to start thinking ahead:  What’s your riding resolution for this year?  Will you ride your motorcycle more often to work?  Take that epic journey or stay close to home?  Will you buy a new ride or enhance the existing one?

Before going forward let’s take a quick look back.

Over the years I’ve posted the occasional summary of the more popular and least liked stories from the past 12 months.  It’s not my “helper-monkey”, but the good folks at WordPress.com state their rankings algorithm is based on how many people read a particular article.  The average is the sum of views divided by the number of days and its gets even more complex if you are the sort of person who likes to verify computations.  I don’t.

The final tallies can be a little mystifying, to be honest.

Are readers giving a “thumbs-up” because they liked the content of the article or just the topic itself?  I don’t find these summaries a really useful exercise because some of the better written articles (IMHO) will sometimes have the fewest views.  It’s the old adage that writing about or reposting the nip slips, exposed undies and ever-presence dysfunction from the celebrity train wrecks for the whole world to see will bring a whole lot more views if that’s your goal.  But, if nothing else, the summary does provide a snapshot of what struck in my readers’ collective fancy during the past year.

In 2011, I posted 88 new articles (about 7 per month).  That brought the total archive on this blog up to just over 800 posts.  I uploaded 165 pictures (or about 3 per week).  The busiest day was September 25th (during the Vagos and HAMC shooting in Reno) with 1,120 views on an article I posted in 2008 (HERE).  Clearly the social behavior and the attraction of the events in Reno was a big draw, but I’m mystified why the more current article (HERE) had fewer views?  Maybe it’s a SEO thing.  I also want to provide a shout-out to the large number of UK viewers who consistently visit the blog.

Here are the 2011 most viewed highlights:

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Flying Colors in Oregon
OCC Family Feud Ends
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Are New Media Darlings
Vagos MC Meeting In Grants Pass
Harley SAMCRO Limited Edition Motorcycle
Harley-Davidson’s SwitchBack
Vintage Motorcycles – Honda CB750
Harley Engine History
“Green Nation” Busts On Saint Patrick’s Day
No Angel
The Day Laughlin River Run Changed
Men Of Mayhem
A “Legend Bell” Full of Mystery
Harley Snubbed In Benjamin Button Movie
Operation Black Rain Nets Oregon Mongols

I enjoyed this past year—and I hope you have, too.  If I’ve done my “job” right as editor of this blog, then your visits will have helped make your motorcycle hobby a bit more meaningful.  Hopefully you’ve become closer to your motorcycle and grown your relationship with friends that you’ve met on the road.

Happy 2012!

Photo’s courtesy of WordPress.com and Northwest Harley Blog.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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An outlaw biker and his “colors” declare membership in a particular club. Colors usually consist of a three-piece patch embroidered on a leather or denim jacket which contains the name of the club, the club’s logo, and the club’s location.

Bryan Denson of The Oregonian wrote an interesting article (April 20, 2008 – with Bruce Ely (photographer)) about the rise of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG) in Oregon.   Specifically it detailed how the Mongols Motorcycle Club (MMC) had discretely opened a 4th chapter in Eugene after previously setting up chapters in Portland, Medford and Bend.  The article characterized them as one of the most violent OMGs of the “Big Five” and it made me wonder if Oregon was set for a bloody turf war like the late 60′s in San Francisco.  The aftermath of many killed bikers was that the Gypsy Jokers MC left California and the Hells Angels agreed to stay out of Oregon.

So what’s going on here?  Are rivalries between OMGs sparking a local trend and a recruitment drive to expand their network?  Will Oregon witness more violent confrontations and increased criminal activity?  Will this impact the Taco Wednesday riders who seldom throw a leg over anything and live to ride…to a dealer to buy something bright and shiny?

A little background and context — OMGs are well-organized with a hierarchical structure, bylaws, and a written constitution. The organizational structure is complex.  Members are required to pay dues and attend meetings and events (e.g., “runs”) to demonstrate loyalty to the club leadership.  Infractions are punished by penalties with the most severe being death.  Club members refer to themselves as “1%ers” (or One Percenters) and most display “1%” patches on their jackets, or “Colors 13″.  The label refers to a quote by the American Motorcycle Association stating that “ninety nine percent of all motorcycle riders in this country are law abiding citizens.”   The OMGs claim to make up the remaining one percent, thus the reference.

The Oregon Attorney General (Hardy Myers) completed a comprehensive review of the organized crime threat to citizens of Oregon back in 2006.  The review included everything from possible terrorist attacks to threats from outlaw motorcycle gangs.  The “Big Five” refer’s to the five major U.S. OMGs (Hells Angels (3500 members worldwide), Bandidos, Pagans, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence). 

The illegal activities of “1%ers” include narcotics manufacturing and trafficking, vehicle thefts (in particular, Harley motorcycles), assaults, and prostitution. Some OMG members have diversified into “legitimate” businesses (e.g., motorcycle shops, night clubs, strip clubs), though more often these businesses have been set up for money laundering and fueled by unlawful activities.  Oregon now has five separate OMGs. Most have multiple chapters in the state and at least one chapter in three bordering states. In addition, the largest OMG in Oregon has established a chapter in Germany and has affiliated clubs in Australia and South Africa.  Below is a list of the estimated members of each OMG:

OMG                       Founded                  OR Members

Free Souls               1968                      105

Brother Speed          1969                      45

Gypsy Joker             1956                      40

Outsiders                 1968                      26

Mongols                   1969                      12-15

Vagos                      1965                      15

Source: Police estimates; Attorney General report

The typical response from an outlaw member is “It’s not a gang…we’re a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts getting together”, but do a Google search on any day of the week and you’ll find news about numerous arrests across the country from manufacture of illegal drugs to trafficking and for all the mystique of being just a bunch of rowdy dudes riding together for the fun of the camaraderie…a lot of dead bodies are piling up!  Does this mean all outlaw clubs are filled with miscreants?  No, I’ve personally met and talked with Hells Angels and Jokers members and found them to be reasonable.  If you treat them with respect then they are reasonable.  But they are not all saints either. My advice is to show respect, but to have as little interaction as possible.

The biker legend runs deep in America and many fun loving riders cherish the freedom of the open road and the wind in their face.   But, I don’t buy into the outlaw clubs attempting to wrap themselves in a Harley flag of defiance and rebellion.  I’ve posted on the Laughlin River Run melee previously and a freewheeling, even raucous lifestyle is one thing, but pushing drugs and killing people are not.

The increased appearance of “colors” flying in Oregon no matter who the “club” means that for us true motorcycle enthusiasts the road just gets a little rougher to navigate.

UPDATE: September 30, 2008 – the Oregonian reported that Justin “Mooch” DeLoretto, the founder of the Mongols Motorcycle Club‘s Oregon chapters, who was ordered not to associate with the organization after a June conviction for menacing a pair of outlaw biker investigators, has left secretly to California.  According to Detective Dave Burroughs there will be a warrant for his arrest.

UPDATE: January 8, 2009 – Eugene’s KVAL news reported that DeLoretto turned himself in this week for violating the terms of his parole.  He was working at a tattoo parlor in San Diego, CA which had ties to the Mongols.

 

Mongol photo courtesy of Bruce Ely of The Oregonian.  Person in photo is reported to be Justin J. “Mooch” DeLoretto, 27, and credited with setting up the Oregon chapters.

Gypsy Joker photo courtesy Flickr

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