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Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Club’

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Two-hundred Washington state patch holders protest — peacefully and with style and grace?

If there is anything melding Government policies together these days, it is the proclivity to wage all kinds of wars within.  Thin as it is, “declaration of war” has been entreated frequently, from war on drugs, war against politics/graft, war against pay-day loans, war against street gangs, war on predatory lending, war against illegal immigration, war against drunk driving and yes, war against motorcycle “clubs” to name just a few.  We’ve been beseeched with so much war, for so long, that it seems to be a buoyant feeling of complacency.

This “declaration of war” prompts a national-security-at-all-cost rigidity and prejudice of sorts against the good men and women who are sniffing out the romance of the open road and freedom from slavery of monotony.   The mainstream media doesn’t help when they propagate faux-characterization with press reports like:

“testosterone raging men riding with intimidating speed on heavy-weight motorcycles terrorizing the easily spooked folks of our small town”

It’s no wonder that motorcycle groups are frustrated with the Hollywood attention grabbing headlines and broad brush paint applied to all motorcycle owners as this marauding group of misfits who need the thrilling risk of entangling with the law.

The rumor is true! Take a picture of this — last Saturday (Sept 12th) the CoC Run — Washington State Defender Run — mobilized about 200 patch holders from all parts of Washington state to protest the unconstitutional practice of discrimination against patch holders.  The protest run centered around two establishments (Foxy’s in Everett and First Class Bar & Grill in SeaTac) practicing the policy of discriminatory stereotyping and denying access.  The protest resulted in NO incidents.  NONE in terms of accidents, or by any individual and no law enforcement harassment!  The common ground of brotherhood and the freedom to ride outweigh any club differences.

Clearly the U.S. Defender program works and has sparked mobilization of patch holders in Washington state.  Hey, Oregon — 1999 called and said they want their fence back — join the call to action because together we secure our rights base.

Photo taken at ABATE Toy Run 2008

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bridgestoneIt’s an interesting idea!  A social networking type site from tire specialist Bridgestone.  The company launched the UK-based Biker’s Club with the claim being a new worldwide meeting place for bikers and enthusiasts who will get the unique benefit of advice from some of the top experts in their field.  This is exactly what motorcycle enthusiasts are looking for forever.  ACCESS!  Why doesn’t Harley do something like this?

The club will have a panel of both journalists and professionals who will be providing regular blogs and insight into the best new bikes, products and sharing of their own riding stories.   If the site is not a marketing strategy in “sales pitch” disguise and truly provides news worthy motorcycle information then I’m on board.

The free to join and use club provides members a monthly newsletter with up-to-date news and information about people, races and offers along with product updates and advice from Bridgestone.  They plan to also provide members with special offers and money-can’t-buy opportunities.  It’s not clear if this exclusive is to UK members only or also offered to U.S. based members too.

As experts in the field, Bridgestone is well placed to organize a ‘virtual meeting’ place for biker enthusiasts and engage with motorcycle fans.  If you want to sign up for the Biker’s Club you can do so HERE.

Photo courtesy of Bridgestone.

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queen_bookI won’t attempt to make sweeping comments about another outlaw motorcycle “club” undercover “tell-all” novel.  There are so many styles and flavors these days and when a reader interacts with a book they are not only served a story, but often feel connected to the writer.

The Under and Alone novel is different because of movie rights, but more on that in a minute.

The back story is the novel is based on the real life of William Queen, a motorcycle enthusiast who successfully penetrated the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle “club” using an identity of “Billy St. John.”  After becoming a fully “patched” member, he eventually rose to the level of chapter Vice-President and treasurer where he had access to the clubs activity of which some was criminal.  In the book, Queen details how, after 28 months in the club he began to battle the conflicts both within the club and within himself as the isolation of the work made him feel the Mongols were his family.

What makes the story compelling is that Queen spent twenty years as a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  He was a Vietnam War veteran serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces and was awarded the Silver Star during his 1971 tour of duty. After his military service, he devoted his entire career to law enforcement.  Early operations involved infiltrating the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan organizations.

William Queen

William Queen

Despite his nickname, “Billy the Slow-Brain”, he was successful in gathering evidence resulting in a series of raids in May 2000 by almost 700 LEO’s in four states.  His efforts led to the arrest and conviction of 54 club members.  Queen was awarded the Federal Bar Association’s Medal of Honor for his successful involvement with the Mongols.  After the club member trials, Queen retired from the ATF, and then wrote the book while in the witness protection program.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  In 2003, while the book was still only a draft, film rights were sold for $1M to Icon Productions, the Hollywood production company owned by Mel Gibson.  The book became a bestseller upon its release in 2005, and the movie adaptation, will have Gibson himself playing Queen.  The movie is scheduled for release by Warner Bros in 2010.  This would be the first project that Gibson takes the lead role in, since the 2003 movie Signs.  Gibson will not direct the movie, instead Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly) and Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, Training Day) have been hired to direct.  The book is being adapted by Ned Zeman and Daniel Barnz.

Consumer spending drives demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on creativity, marketing, and distribution of quality movie content and time will tell if this subject matter is something the public wants to consume. Gibson has been a lightning rod for controversy of late, but this role could bring him back into the mainstream vernacular like the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers and Payback did.  Who knows.

Photo courtesy William Queen/Random House.

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