Saturday, February 5, 2011


In the late 70's and 1980's, I spent a few years investigating motorcycle gangs on the east coast. At the time, gang members were heavily involved in many nefarious activities, namely drugs, prostitution and loan sharking. The members I interacted with were pretty bad individuals who thumbed their noses at government, religion and civil society in general.

I worked the motorcycle show today and the vast majority of bikers wearing colors were sporting this patch. Some were handing out fliers with information about joining, and the few I spoke with seemed pleasant and genuine. While the criminal activity of the original gangs was wrong, I always admired both their rebellious attitudes and their desire to live life on their own terms. IMHO, religion is quickly morphing into a brand instead of a belief, and many of it's most strident followers feel the need to wear their beliefs for all to see.

Ironically, right next door to the motorcycle show, was a gathering of thousands of teens attending the Acquire The Fire Tour. From what I saw, it was a series of Christian bands combined with the occasional preacher. The kids were being kids, dancing and singing and generally having a good time.

And then it happened. A preacher walked to the center of the stage and yelled (and I quote):
" God is your true parent. You should listen to him, and him only". I looked around at the parents in the audience to see if their was going to be any reaction but they continued to drink the kool aid for the next 20 minutes as the preacher went on about how bad the world was blah, blah. It's no wonder teen suicide is on the rise. Being a teenager is hard enough without having an extra guilt trip laid on you.

Crimes aside, the attitudes of the original bikers would do those teens a lot more good than the preachers. Live your life your way -- and listen to your real parents.



  1. I agree with you that "belief" is turning into "brand", and sadly that's the kind of thing that causes misunderstanding of the speaker's message.

  2. Right on KM, right on!!!
    Without getting on my soap-box, you hit the nail on the head with this post!!!


  3. I don't believe in the supernatural, but outlaw bike gangs - now there's something you can really put your faith in! Down here they're big meth suppliers and the occasional tit for tat bomb or drive by shooting goes on in the cities as they argue over territory or other perceived grievances.

    It's just become big business with many in the upper echelon unable, or just barely able to ride a motorcycle. Many gangs down here are run by thugs of middle eastern decent.

  4. Lemmiwinks -- you get that I said repeatedly, that their criminal activity is not what I was referring to. The original gangs were more about living life their own way.

  5. Yeah, that's kinda what I was trying (and failing) to say. It's just a business these days.

    I did get your point, even though it may not appear that way.