Gazing at bikers, we tend to believe they’re rather dangerous. But the reality is not like that. The majority of motorcycle clubs turn to be completely harmless. They’re just passionate about leather and open road. However, there’s an evil side in the biker subculture as well – some of Harley-riding outlaws are known to gather into criminal networks in order to fight over drugs, ladies and weapons. Among the most well-known, one should mention the Cossacks and the Bandidos. These had a loud shootout in Texas not long ago. According to the FBI data, up to 44 000 citizens of the US are the members of over 3 000 outlaw biker gangs. And the problem is that they are not just guys in leather jackets, who like to ride the neighborhood. They’re the guys in leather jackets, who like to ride the neighborhood and sell tons of drugs, as well as kill people.
The biker gang movement had emerged shortly after the WWII. Right after the military conflict, many veterans, who were trying to readjust to the everyday life in the United States had established a biker club. The latter was supposed to help ex-soldiers to recapture the friendship they’ve had during the war. However, in 1948 the Hells Angels were formed. The gang was just riding around, raping and marauding.
Nowadays, the biker gang world constitutes the ‘Big Four’. First go the Hells Angels with 2 500 members. Then there are the so-called ‘Bandidos’ that are the enemies of the ‘Hells Angels’. The Angels’ enemies prefer wearing the colors of the US Marine Corps – the gold and the red. As for the other two gangs, they are the ‘Pagans’ from the mid-Atlantic area and the ‘Outlaws’ from the Midwest.
The life of a typical biker gang is usually backed up by bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars through extortion, weapons, drug deals and prostitution. In order to keep emotional and financial stability, the bikers do their best to protect their territory and families-on-the-road. And even the smallest issues may become the cause of a serious conflict. In Waco, the Cossacks and the Bandidos members have brutally beat each other, opened fire and killed nine in order to simply get the right to wear the so-called ‘Texas’ patch on the vests.
Some people believe the biker gangs are an exclusively US phenomenon, but that’s not true. A lot of gang chapters have already emerged in Europe and Canada. The bloodiest biker feuds are reported in Scandinavia. In 1990s, twelve people were murdered during the ‘Great Nordic Biker War’. The conflict was mainly unleashed by the chapters of the Bandidos and the Hells Angels in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In some areas, the violence was at military level already. For instance, one biker had fired an anti-tank grenade into the clubhouse of the ‘Angels’ gang. At the same time, the other one was peppered with the automatic rifle fire in the airport of Helsinki. But the most terrible biker conflict was the ‘Quebec Biker War’ in the late 1990s and 2000s. The biker feud was waged between the Angels and the Rock Machine in Montreal. Near 150 people were killed during the battle that included multiple bombings.
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