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Motorcycle Clubs

by: ehoy32

Motorcycle Clubs SOCIOL 2310

GPA 3.28

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About this Document

Notes from 3/23/16 and 3/25/16. These notes are Exam 3!
Sociology of Gangs
Brian Kowalski
Class Notes
Sociology of Gangs
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by ehoy32 on Saturday March 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCIOL 2310 at Ohio State University taught by Brian Kowalski in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Gangs in Sociology at Ohio State University.


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Date Created: 03/26/16
Motorcycle Clubs 3/23/2016 and 3/25/2016  Remember the National Gang Center (funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies) defines gangs as… o Do not include motorcycle gangs  Can motorcycle clubs defined as gangs? Why or why not? o More hierarchical o Common ideology o Criminal activity  Gang status = master status Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs  Mongols MC o Gangland Video o Strong sense of exclusivity and protection within the group o Older members o Realm of criminal activity is a little different  Self-oriented o More organized than street gangs  Special Agent Bill Queen’s infiltration of the Mongols MC in LA o Queen is an ATF agent – filtered through law enforcement lens  A “biker” could be anyone who rides a motorcycle o What image comes to mind when we hear the term “biker?”  Leather and tattoos  Long beard and hefty  Harley – not a crotch rocket  Older men/women o Some Americans “biker” could suggest a tattooed, leather clad, drunk (or high), and barroom-brawling criminal  Similar to the images (and interviews) seen in the video  Various motorcycle groups can range from riding clubs (associations with little or no criminal activity and fairly loose membership standards) to outlaw motorcycle gangs like the Mongols MC (with non-conformist outlooks and anti-social activities)  “One percenter” – originated from a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association in response to a motorcycle rally held in 1947 in Hollister (CA) that turned very violent o “99% of the motorcycling public are law-abiding…there are 1% who are not”  Outlaw groups embraced it  We see the “one percent” denotation applies only to the most dedicated and anti-social of the motorcycle groups o Hell’s Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Outlaws, and Pagans  Criminality is certainly not universal among one percenters, but as Queen observed, we see a wide variety of crime and deviance (drug dealing, illegal gun sales, extortion, motorcycle theft, and violence) o The larger the club, the more extensive the illicit networks of its members  Groups like the Mongols do not exist solely for profit o A membership in outlaw motorcycle gangs means a strong and full commitment to “the life” (entails a 24-hours-a-day commitment)  “The life” of an outlaw motorcycle gang consists of: o Constant partying (riding, drinking, and meth use) o Strong and loyal support system (solidarity…must protect the group) o Social selves dominated by violence, intimidation, and guns o Embrace social rejection and outcast labels o Could not join unless you owned a gun or motorcycle o Needed to have “the look” (leather, facial hair, tattoos, colors/patches/rockers)  Despise legitimacy o Very exclusive and secretive organizations  Private investigators, 3-page application, checking into backgrounds  Master status  Queen argues that Mongol anti-social behavior is not directed at making money o Violence is simply a lifestyle choice that members take pride in  We can see outlaw motorcycle gangs (or one percenters) as gang members who do not necessarily fit within mainstream society o Isolated enough to revel in the “outlaw” status o They are fearless enough to defend that status against all challenges  Can observe this through the long-standing rivalry, feud, and violence between the Hell’s Angels and the Mongols Gang Member Self-Identity  Bikers like the Mongols (and like other street gang members) place a premium on value respect and honor o Willing to go to great (and extremely violent) lengths to avenge acts of disrespect (random bar fights with strangers and violence against other MCs) o These aggressive and anti-social attitudes and behaviors were also directed at “prospects” or members seeking admittance to the MC (on a probationary period)  At first, Queen was a friend of the Mongols who partied, rode, and shot pool with the gang o As Queen was invited to join the Mongols, the behavior of the gang members changed as Queen became “property” of the MC o In order to prove himself to full members (“patches”) Queen had to do anything the gang members asked including running drugs, stealing motorcycles, and fighting  Constantly being tested  Despite the anti-social behavior (and criminal activity), outlaw motorcycle gangs stress the fraternal aspects of these clubs o It forms the identity at the core of their lives o Show a deep loyalty and love for one another  Queen was living the life – slept with, partied with, hung out with, rode with o Eventually became a full-fledged Mongol o The longer Queen stayed undercover, the more isolated he became  Lost touch with family and colleagues at the ATF o Spoke almost nostalgically about some of his rides with the Mongols  Queen becomes somewhat disillusioned at the realization that he will have to betray his “brothers” who arguably have become closer to him than most of his law enforcement colleagues o “I was a Mongol. I was an ATF agent. Well, what the hell was I?” – Billy St. John/Special Agent William Queen


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