Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Effect of The 1% Biker Wars in Waco, Texas

Eight Cossack and one Bandido Nation 1% bikers were killed at Waco.
170 rival bike club members are in jail w/bond set at $1 million each.
There is concern in the riding community that what happened in Waco will dampen the public's opinion about motorcycle riders -- especially at a time when so many riders will be on the nation's roadways over the Memorial Day Weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend is a time when thousands of motorcycle riders are on the roadways -- including an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 riders from across the country riding together to participate in the annual Rolling Thunder Freedom Ride/ DC  that is a healing event for many war veterans.

For most people, who enjoy riding the open roads together as part of a "brotherhood" that is second-to-none, the violence in Waco makes no sense!  "They are ruining this for the majority of motorcycle riders, who are great people and not criminals" is the sentiment shared across the web. 

So what happened in Waco?

It was supposed to be a typical get-together of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, an umbrella group that meets every two or three weeks, which is usually attended by two or three members of various motorcycle clubs. 

"We are not street gangs," says Gimmi Jimmy,
national ambassador for Bandido Nation.
"We have been doing this for 18 years" without a problem, Gimmi Jimmy told a NY Times reporter. "We discuss things like biker rights, but no individual club business is talked about," said Jimmy, who is chairman of the state group and also national ambassador for the Bandidos. 

In the New York Times interview, Jimmy said representatives of the Bandidos club were part of the meeting, but "the other side" -- The Cossacks and Scimitars -- were at the Twin Peaks sports bar in Waco, but they were not part of the meeting.

Jimmy said he's not in jail because he arrived late to the meeting. He did not share what might have triggered the fight in the bathroom that spilled into the bar, and then out into the parking lot. Eight Cossacks and one Bandido were killed in the gunfight, he said.

"It's all about territory," said Edward Winterhalder, a former Bandido who has written more than a dozen books about outlaw bikers. "The Bandidos told the Cossacks to remove the third-rocker TEXAS from their 3-piece cut, and the Cossacks chose to ignore the warning."

The Bandidos club was founded in 1966 in Texas, and the Cossacks club was founded in 1969 in Texas. But the Bandido Nation has grown to be the largest outlaw club in the world, and feels they own Texas.

"The Waco episode was a challenge to the Bandidos' pre-eminence by less established organizations," said Don Charles Davis, who writes the biker blog, "The Aging Rebel." 

"A lot of the newer members are veterans, and they want to prove their independence and equality," Davis said in the article. "It's a generational thing that is reshaping the culture."

The "1% outlaw club" distinction dates back to 1947

All clubs not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclists' Association (AMA) were labeled "1% outlaw clubs" and banned from all future AMA bike events after the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club made headlines at an AMA-sponsored event in Hollister, California in 1947 that was the basis for the movie, "The Wild One."

The AMA (founded in 1924 to organize events sponsored by bike manufacturers) wrote a scathing article in their magazine shortly after the disastrous event, stating that "99% of all motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens and only 1% are outlaws." 

Today, the AMA represents 235,000 members and hundreds of riding clubs, including H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) and the Jackpine Gypsies MC -- Founders of the Grandaddy of all biker rallies, "The Black Hills Classic, in Sturgis, SD" that started off as 9 featured motorcycle races in 1938 and has grown to a rally attended by more than half a million motorcycle fans. -- But there are plenty of good people within all clubs.