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“Born to be Wild”

Posted by purplemary54 on September 22, 2014

Imagine my surprise this weekend when I saw the news that there had been a shootout between rival motorcycle gangs on a freeway near Corona.  The Hell’s Angels and the Mongols, no less.  The response and resulting investigation caused a massive traffic jam in one of the most jammed up areas in SoCal.  Sadly, one person was killed in the gunfire.

I was shocked at the news.  While I knew both gangs were still in operation, and that both were still pretty horribly violent, I had no idea this kind of stuff still happened.  Biker gangs were long ago supplanted by street gangs in terms of newsworthy crime in California.  For a few minutes, I wondered if it was 2014 or 1974.

Before I was born, there were some Hell’s Angels living across the street from our family in north Long Beach.  My mother would go out with my brother in his stroller, and if they were out, they would say hello to the “little mother” and the baby.  They thought my brother was pretty cute (he was).  They didn’t cause a lot of trouble in the neighborhood and were relatively quiet–as quiet as guys with huge Harleys could be, anyway.  But I know most people’s experiences with the Angels haven’t been as benign.  These guys are hardcore criminals; from what little I know of the Mongols, they’re not any better.  Movies like Easy Rider went a long way to romanticizing motorcycle gangs, even though the characters in that film weren’t members of a gang.  They rode around on bikes, having adventures and hijinks, thumbing their noses at conventional society and mores.  These days, I think Sons of Anarchy presents a slightly more accurate picture, albeit one that’s highly dramatised.  There’s a lot of unsavory characters and behavior in the modern biker gang.  Remember, the emphasis should be on “gang” not “biker.”

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