My first question I asked myself as I began to read about the adventures of the "Green Machine" was, wait a second how many Terry the Tramps are there? To my ignorance, I guess there are more than two but definitively more than one. Then again, a stupid question, I mean, how many people out there are nicknamed Big Dog or Lil' Mike?!
Anyway, as the readership will figure out this book is about yet another MC from the state of CA, and I found the book very informative and demystifying. If anyone you know is facing a RICO case, this book like Barger's chapter on RICO is uplifting and inspiring-fighting the panopticon of authoritarian discipline and control! The most gratifying aspect of this book is not so much the focus on MC's getting into trouble but trouble finding MC's. That trouble is usually spelled by a combination of three government issued letters.
Throughout the entire book, whether at the beginning of Terry's life where he was rebuilding and cleaning up an entire hand me down Panhead with gasoline and a toothbrush or explaining the shift from choppers to baggers with the discovery of the Evo, Terry the Tramp focuses on motorcycles, runs, and the life on a motorcycle. Terry the Tramp eloquently traces the history of a club, as it tells the chronology of clubs uniting into a confederation of clubs, the differences between AMA and MMA, and gives you an exciting story without that bullshit menacing deep voice so cleverly crafted by History Channel. At least with Sons of Anarchy we know is creating a fantasy world, whereas the federally funded History Channel is just lying while passing as fact. "Truth" is stranger than fiction.
This book is a spit in the face to the TV nonsense out there and reminds the reader, yes, motorcycles and runs are very much part of the often mythical world of MC's.
Then we got Out Bad, reads like an angry manifesto against the ATF that exposes the interconnectedness between national police agencies and TV entertainment. Since the onset of national and international TV in the 1960s police agencies throughout this county have had backdoor access to how reality is reflected back at us through the TV screen. Whether its the local 6 o'clock news or international TV shows like America's Most Wanted, the State's agenda flows through entertainment-news. This book does a great job in showing how police operations are motivated by big money and news and entertainment movie cameras alike. What depresses me though is the harsh reality that people's lives have to first be ruined and locked away, as a sort of primitive accumulation, for our entertainment and the citizens need to feel safe.
You could say there is an ongoing war between rebels and the State for the hearts and minds of the general populous. But then again, it seems that the rebel armies within the world of MC's are living the life rather than fighting for it. Rightly so, as society becomes more and more under the influence and control of authority and greed, live your life while you still have a chance.
Out Bad does an excellent job exposing the many overlapping ATF operations, snitches, and confidential informants that litter the MC stomping grounds of the American Southwest. There seems to be a connection between RICO cases and snitches and a glaring omission of guilt the stems from government police agencies that conduct these snitch operations within the world of MC's. The Out Bad author, Donald Charles Davis also writes an interesting blog for those who like the blurring lines between bikes, laws, and freedom the Aging Rebel
I am not naive enough to think that every little detail within the club world is a federal conspiracy. But if Barger's vindication for all clubs out there in his win against RICO in 1979, like many other legal victories within the world of clubs ain't enough convince you. At least, it proves that until the day police agencies are able to show meeting minutes which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that clubs, on a club level, are engaged in "organized crime", I know I will continue to enjoy the romanticism and lure of Motorcycle Clubs as the battle with agencies to be left alone.
After all, if it one thing I have learned in life and in books, it's that it takes to many police agencies, to many snitches, and two much ignorance to weave the web of RICO that it keeps me up at night.
After all, this is what it's about...