by William Teach | May 20, 2015 8:02 am
There’s actually a bit of misdirection in this NY Times op-ed. Let’s see if you quickly pick it up. Clue: the writer’s name is Wajahat Ali, a journalist at Al Jazeera America
I’m a Moderate Biker Gang Member Compelled to Condemn This Violence
On Sunday, a biker gang meeting at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, Tex., erupted in violence that claimed the lives of nine people and injured 18. This tragedy stemmed from the criminal actions of a fringe minority that does not represent the democracy-loving values of the majority of tolerant biker gangs devoted to freedom, denim, mutual understanding and leather accessories.
As a moderate biker gang member, who has never met the suspects, visited Texas or even seen the TV series “Twin Peaks,” I offer a full-throated condemnation of, and apology for, their violent acts.
Unfortunately, Sunday’s violence, which led to about 170 people being charged with involvement in organized crime linked to capital murder, has created an opportunity to demonize our biker gang communities as vicious thugs. In a familiar pattern of rhetorical retribution, people are demanding: When will moderate bikers take responsibility for crimes committed by these violent extremists?
But when did I become responsible for the criminal actions of a handful of deluded fanatics just because I ride a motorcycle, sport facial hair and have tattoos? Americans are as much at risk of being killed by falling vending machines as by domestic terrorist attacks, but do we indict Coke and Pepsi?
The Department of Justice claims that we represent a “serious national domestic threat,” but the moderate bikers I mix with represent no threat when we meet to discuss biker issues. In no way are our gang names — such as the Bandidos, the Cossacks and the Scimitars — intended to intimidate the public or law enforcement officials.
At this point, you’re probably starting to say “hey, wait a minute…..”
Yet, potential presidential candidates cynically exploit the issue with anti-biker memes like “biker gangs are at war with the West” and “the biker gang world needs a reformation.” One prominent governor has accused bikers of belonging to “communities of people that don’t want to integrate” into America, while cable TV news pundits warn of “no go zones” in towns and cities allegedly infiltrated by radical biker gangs. Recently, in Texas, a radical liberal blogger held a provocative competition for cartoons lampooning Hells Angels.
To make matters worse, our community is now in the spotlight in Congress, with a special hearing on the “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Biker Gang Community and That Community’s Response.” Another congressional panel will investigate “Biker Gangs and Their Culture of Violence.”
By this point, you’ve certainly figured out that Mr. Ali is actually engaged in a bit of misdirection in order to use the biker gang melee to make a point about radical Islam and how the so-called moderates are always asked to condemn the actions of the extremists. It’s a cute way of doing this. Of course, groups like the Cossacks, Bandidos, Hell’s Angels, and many other biker gangs are gangs, as much as the Bloods, Crips, Texas Syndicate, Surenos, Mexican Mafia, MS13, Aryan Brotherhood, Zoe Pound, Triad, and so on. They can be dangerous (mostly to other biker gangs), and are heavily into drug production and distribution, as well as money laundering, among other crimes. Many of these mostly white biker gangs are as racists and bigoted as the Black, Latin, and Chinese gangs.
No one is asking “moderate” Muslims to apologize for the actions of their fellow religionists. Yes, they are often asked to condemn the actions. Of course, it is interesting that many get upset about this, when the extremists tend to kill more Muslims than any other race, creed, religion, or nationality. Not all Muslims are bad people, just like not all bikers are criminal gang members. It’s often said that only 1% of Muslims are hardcores. If only 1% of bikers association members are gang-bangers, that’s only what, 44,000 biker gang members (according to a 2011 FBI assessment)? If we’re talking hardcore Islam, that’s 16 million (1% of 1.6 billion worldwide). A number which continues to grow monthly. A number that doesn’t cover those who agree with the hardcore Islamist goals and beliefs, but aren’t taking action themselves. Those who believe in hardcore Sharia law, in hanging gays, treating women like chattel, stoning women who have been raped. You know the hit parade.
Law enforcement has engaged in mass surveillance of biker gang communities, sending F.B.I. agents in fake mustaches to roadhouses and blanketing Texas’ Harley-Davidson shops, Jiffy Lubes and multiplexes playing “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Actually, law enforcement at all levels have engaged in mass surveillance of biker gangs, and have even taken a look at those who are not criminal enterprises, just to make sure.
We refuse to be demonized as a criminal, violent community — an ugly stereotype abused by politicians and members of the mainstream media for profit and ideological gain. We urge peace-loving citizens to reject this worrying trend of Bikerphobic bigotry.
If a small number of Tea Party members, Conservatives, Republicans, Christians, do something wrong, all members are blamed and Told To Apologize and Condemn. Unfortunately, it’s the way the world works now. Of course, a big difference is that radical Islam, Extremist Islam, hardcore Islam, is continuing to grow and spread. One would think that those who aren’t Islamists might be concerned with this.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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