10 November 2009

1% Motorcycle Clubs:
Under and Alone

Book rating scale:
5: Touched by God - a work which makes Shakespeare look infantile
4: Amazing - Instantly began rereading it and quoting it to friends
3: Worth Every Penny - a solid, interesting read, inspiring some thought and discussion with people who share similar interests
2: I Paid For It So I Finished Reading It - Some interesting parts but if I lose the book I'm not buying another copy
1: Couldn't Force My Way Thru and Burnt the Book in order to send it to the Hell it deserves
I rate this book a 3.6. It's solid, interesting, and informative.

Once upon a time the Mongols MC was became big and violent enough that the federal government decided something had to be done. That something, or rather someone, was William Queen. His job was to infiltrate the Mongols and help bring them down from the inside.

Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, is another book which I listened to via audiobook. It's an anecdotal / informative book which has as its main draw entrée into a world which few of us will ever see, the life of a 1% gang.

It's interesting to see how well the gang is actually run and held together. For instance, we are told it has a constitution and that in the late 90's the entire MC decided that they weren't going to beat “Prospects” (new members) anymore and that the rule was mainly followed (except by the one member who was supposed to enforce it throughout the various chapters of the club).

Queen makes contact and enters the gang through the San Fernando chapter. He rises up, becoming a prospect, a fully patched member, and finally an officer. Along the way, we get a feeling for the brotherhood which the members share, the danger they are to anyone who crosses them, their conflicts with Hells Angels, and the constant drug use. I'm not sure if the chapter Queen was in was an average chapter. The book makes it seem to be barely holding together with motorcycles that were falling apart and members not having the werewithall to do much besides hang out. It taxes there very fiber to make the cross country trips required by the mother chapter. In fact, I found myself wondering more than once whether the reason that Queen rose as far as he did in the three years he was under was because he was the only one who had his stuff together. In fact, we're lucky that Queen's on our side because if he had embraced the club entirely he might have led them to do a lot more damage then they were able.

It was an interesting listen. I recommend it to anyone interested in this genre as well as anyone who wants a primer on how 1% gangs work.


D said...

the icon of the american biker seems on the rise. with the hit show son's of anarchy i imagine it will once again become a romanticized lifestyle. Hunter Thompson's Hell's Angels does allot to dispel that myth.

Flash Gordon said...

I read that book. I'm 64 and have never been without a motorcycle of some sort since I was 16. I've always known two things: The 1%ers are bad guys to be avoided and if you have a nice bike, they might steal it.

Years ago I read a book by an author with a French name on the Montreal Hell's Angels. They make the Mongols look like girl scouts. According to the book, their motto was "three can keep a secret if two are dead."

There is another book about an organized crime task force in Philadelphia that took down Mafia boss Nicky Scarfo. It tells of an alliance between the Scarfo's Mafia family and The Pagans, an East Coast 1% gang.

Taullya said...

I had the privilege to listen to Mr. Queen speak at a conference. To actually hear from his mouth how he did what he did is far more amazing than the book. He even allowed some of to ask questions which helped give us more insight.

Of course, this conference was for law enforcement only. I live and work on the west coast. I am fortunate enough to work in a county that has a court system that has a Gang Unit, there are two prosecutors assigned to it and all they do it prosecute the gang members. In my area we do have a large number of 1% bikers from three different clubs.

I highly recommend to any of you who are prosecutors, with 1% clubs in your jurisdiction, to attempt to go the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Conferences in your area, or heck any gang conference in your area.

Anonymous said...

1st of all the idiot that said 1%er clubs steal your bike-That is such a myth I'm surprised he was allowed to print it but I guess rumor,innuendo and LIES are what he believes and propagates.And the guy who said he's a prosecutor in the West:well dude....you are myopic,narrow minded and not feared by any 1%er club members.Benjamin Franklin IS the man who wrote that quote"3 can keep a secret if 2 are Dead" and billy Queen was in a Street gang...Not a 1%er club(at least one recognised & respected).AFFA