Intrigued by gang culture and why people join these clubs. I wanted to study the Hells Angels because they are one of the longest running motorcycle clubs. The Hells Angels are steeped in American culture. They are one of the most mysterious and well-known biker gangs. I want to examine the history of the club and the mystique it carries. The Hells Angels are now in over 30 countries and have in excess of 250 chapters. They have grown to be the biggest motorcycle clubs in the world. There are many documentaries, books, and undercover activities by law enforcement about the club and their structure, with many questions still unanswered.
The Hells Angels are a very secretive and mysterious club.They are a group of people that fiercely protect their culturefrom outsiders. There are not many people outside of theclub that have had a look on the inside.
The club was founded after WWII and named after an elitepilot squadron. In 1958 Sonny Barger was the first leader ofthe club where they made their transformation from a partyclub into an enterprise setting up chapters all overCalifornia. The first public showing of their newfoundbehavior was at a Rolling Stones Show in Altamont, Dec 6,1969 when they were hired for security, but it turned into aman getting killed by the group. By the 80’s they had grownto 70 chapters in and outside of the United States.
This is how they viewthemselvesWarning: Biker language
The structure of the club is surprisingly set-up like any other organization with a top down management style, or a functional structure. Their structure is very similar to the military with a President, Vice President, and their officers. President Vice President Seargeant Intelligence Road at Arms Officer Captain Club Club Club Member Member Member Prospect Prospect Prospect Hang Hang Hang Around Around Around
At the very bottom of the organization is the “hang around” and this person is the grunt for the club. They will do whatever is asked by the members without hesitation. They will not be given inside information about the organization and do not get to wear the colors of the club. This stage of the membership process is used to see if the person has what it takes to be a Hells Angel. Once the hang around has proven themselves to the club they will be given a probationary status called a “prospect”. The prospect can expect to spend time at this level for at least a year while the club once again scrutinizes every move they make and they will also perform a full background check to validate your story. A prospect will be given a vest to show that they are a prospect, but theirs is missing the rockers. The rocker is the part of the vest that shows the club name and the area that they represent. A prospect will be given a top and bottom rocker upon their induction into the club.
The Angels meet at “church” to discuss new memberships and business decisions. Notes are maintained for each church meeting and are once again discussed at national rallies where all top leadership is attending. Once the prospect’s membership is voted on at church they will have full access to the organization and their activities. TOP ROCKER BOTTOM ROCKER
When you think of a Baptist Church you would think of a loving and caring environment, for example the local First Baptist Church in Troy, Ohio has core values that value the word of the bible, God, people, and the church. There is no mention of God being vengeful for our sins. When you think of the Hells Angels you would think that they would have a website named “godhatesfags.com”, but in fact it is a Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church
There can be differing opinions on topics, but to be as extreme as the WBC is in a sense similar to the Hells Angels. Similar to the motorcycle clubs, most churches are for the good, but there are the outrageous.
The common assumption of the group is that they set out tocause crimes and are only together for a common “bad”, yet theydo show that they have the ability to care. During the nowinfamous shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona therewere six killed and many wounded, a 9-year-old, ChristinaGreen, was among the killed. In an article written by James Kingfrom the Phoenix New Times, a church from Topeka, Kansas,the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) plans to protest at herfuneral because they believed that Christina "was killed for yourrebellion when God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrousAmerica."(King, 2011) According to James King from thePhoenix Times “Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has rallied andpeacefully prevented the group from getting close to funeralprocessions.” (King, 2011)
Does the media create thisnegative image of the club?Warning: Biker language
Not to be confused, the Hells Angels are not a group of people that are model citizens. They have been implicated in almost every type of crime there is. The most common crimes with the Hells Angels are shootings, either they are shooting, or they are being shot at. Typically another motorcycle club is feuding with the Angels and it moves from fists to guns. The club makes money by selling guns, drugs, murder for hire, and prostitution. The first drug ever sold by the group was PCP in the 60’s and the term “beads and beards” was coined referring to the sales to the hippie culture at the time. The Hells angels are now one of the largest distributors of methamphetamines in the United States. This behavior is really where the 1%er patch comes into play.
This group could be considered to many, a detriment to society, or possibly a saving grace to those who have lost their way and need something to belong to. None the less they have not been a very beneficial group to society as a whole.
Administrator (2012). Hells Angels Motorcycle Club World.http://www.hells-angels.com/?HA=faq King, James (Jan 10, 2011). Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Funeral of 9-Year-Old Girl Murdered in Tucson Shooting; Hells Angels to the Rescue?http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2011/01/westboro_bapstis_church_to_pro.php First Baptist Church (2007). Mission and Values.http://www.fbctroy.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=4&id=17&Itemid=33 Westboro Baptist Church (October, 2008) Barack Obama is Antichrist.http://godhatesfags.com/fliers/archive/20081024_antichrist-obama.pdf Vancouver Province (September 17, 2008). Life as a Hells Angel Prospect:http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=5b78bc4c-31b7-48ec-bc19-5a1751b8d6ce