All Rights Reserved © 2006 Thomas W. Day
Biker gangs have been with us since the beginning of history. This was first pointed out to me by my wife when I described the "Comancheros" who used to terrorize the American plains before and after the Civil War, before "civilization" replaced random acts of terror with organized terror (aka "government"). In this context, Viking marauders were boat-gangsters. The Mongol hordes were really big horse-riding gangs. Roaming packs of male chimpanzees are horseless, bike-less proto-gangsters. Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were nations of biker-gangsters, finally, wearing helmets and uniforms. It's about time a biker gang thought about safety and strapped on helmets.
The basic concept of gangs could be taken from the Three Musketeers, "One for all, all for one." Of course, when the going gets really tough and individual qualities are required, the members add "and everyone for himself" until the smoke clears. Without loud and clear orders to follow and simple rules to remember, biker gangsters revert to the most human primitive values.
Years ago, I stumbled into a discussion with a guy who'd spent most of his life in biker gangs. He talked about "honor" and "loyalty" as if those character traits didn't exist outside of gangs. I had to comment on the fact that I had a hard time rectifying the habit biker gangs have of ganging up on an outsider who presented some minor challenge to one of their members with the quality of "honor."
His reply was that disrespecting one member of the gang was disrespect to all. Any challenge to a single member was a challenge to the whole group, even when the challenge was issued completely out of context to the group. Honestly, I though that was the nuttiest answer possible. I am incapable of seeing a gang beating as anything other than group cowardice and incredibly despicable. But I'm never going to be recruited to be a gang member, partially because I don't think like gang members. I'm all for "all for one and one for all," but at some point individuals have to accept the responsibility of their own actions. Gang members are not individuals. They surrender their individuality when they merge their weak personalities into the slightly stronger group-mind.
How does a 12-on-1 gang beating fit into the concept of "honor?" The logical extension of this response is the old 10-for-1 reprisal rule that the Nazi's applied to resistance movements. Today, the USA and Israel have extended that logic to several thousand for one in Iraq and Lebanon. To me, it still violates my Kansas cowboy sense of justice and fairness and I don't get it. Let's face it, when most of us saw L.A.'s cops beating the crap out of Rodney King we thought "somebody ought to help that guy," no matter what King did to get into that predicament. At least, I hope most of us thought that.
Paul William Roberts describes an American Special Forces soldier in A War Against Truth, "He was as alien as the yogis I'd seen up in isolated Himalayan caves - people who have had no interaction with other humans for years, who have forgotten how. The soldier was both shy and lethal. He had lost most human qualities. If he married, it would not last: she'd realize eventually that he had no feelings towards her - that he had no feelings at all. The 'company' would never let him go, either. It might make his leash quite long, but it would always want to know what he was doing, because it had trained him and knew what he was capable of doing. If he turned to crime, no police force on earth would be any match for him. This was The Terminator for real." This is a pretty accurate description of the prototypical biker gang member; with the exception of the Special Forces' exceptional training. Some bikers are ex-Special Forces and the like, however, and we can thank our military for loosing them on the public.
One of the prime faults in biker gang logic is the misinterpretation of fear as respect. Nobody respects bikers, but most everyone from cops to man-on-the-street citizens fear them. Any group inspiring fear creates an equal amount of hate. Hate and fear create a need for security. The need for security creates an opposite reaction to the source of the fear and hate. And arms races are born of thus.
Internationally, we're seeing these qualities displayed by at least two nations: Israel and the United States. Both nations have decided that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to them because . . . those rules are inconvenient. Both nations react to specific acts of violence with random, extended violence disproportionate to the initial event and without any concern for striking the actual perpetrators. Like drunken biker gangs, Israel and the US blast everything in the general direction of their enemies, creating larger and more sophisticated enemies. They intentionally pick on small, unarmed or barely armed nations and attempt to "shock and awe" them into submission. They are careless about the "collateral damage" they cause to both those they attack and the nation (gang) they "represent."
This is not just Little George's gang, Clinton's gang, Old George's Gang, and Reagan's gang (who have mostly moved on to Little George's gang) all felt the same way. Remember Madeleine Albright's response to the possibility of 300,000 children dying to effect "regime change in Iraq?" "I think it is worth the price." That's what she said. Billy Clinton's Secretary of State was willing to sacrifice 300,000 children to replace Saddam with an unknown (but more compliant) political system. So, we did.
Things have changed in Iraq, mostly much for the worse. A few hundred thousand Iraqis have been sacrificed since 1991. We patrol, but don't control, the oil wells that were the real reason for this sacrifice. And we've created an image for ourselves that is equal to the shining aura of the Hell's Angels. We've become a nation of crack-importing, meth-manufacturing, gang-banging bikers who instill fear in every sane nation in the world.
Any national leader who cares about his country's security is either cranking up the national defense mechanisms, building weapons of self-defense and mass destruction, or is sucking up to Little George in hopes that obedience is all he and his loons want. In the case of Great Britain, that's probably all that is necessary. They have used up their natural resources, so there is nothing worth stealing on that pitiful island. The rest of North Africa, however, is scared to death. South America is bracing for another round of assassinations and invasions. George Pataki, New York's nutty governor and the potential 2008 Republican Presidential candidate, ramped up the hyperbola about to be concentrated against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in his National Press speech, "Energy Freedom: Putting an End to Foreign Oil's Dangerous Grip on America's Future." "Energy freedom" was a side-issue in Pataki's speech, mostly he used the forum to rant against the elected leader of a country that has failed to allow American corporations unrestricted access to that country's national resources.
Shame on them. Everybody grab a weapon. We're gonna go beat the crap out of those disrespectful civilians.