IF SOCIAL media commentary is any guide, outlaw motorcycle gangs are doing a bang-up job of public relations.
Whether it is their occasional charity rides or the influence of a popular TV show, it seems many in our community have favourable opinions of bikies.
Understandably, it is
an attitude that has police frustrated.
The general theme is that bikies are like any other group in society, with a few giving the rest a bad name.
We are told a majority are good people, with families and jobs, and are attracted to these clubs – not gangs – because of their shared interests.
Just a bunch of mates who like bikes.
Those who share this
view are either naive or trying to pull the wool over
Tasmania Police’s Assistant Commissioner Operations Glen Frame says outlaw motorcycle gangs are “criminal organisations” that “use violence and intimidation” to make money from selling drugs.
But we shouldn’t need
him to tell us that.
We only need to look at recent events involving these gangs.
In Canberra, for example, there have been at least seven suspected bikie-related incidents of drive-by shootings this year.
On some of those occasions there were children in the homes targeted, with one house next-door to a childcare centre shot at not once but twice.
Speaking of shootings, only two years ago in the US a meeting of bikie gangs – including the Bandidos – at a restaurant in Waco, Texas erupted in gunfire.
Nine people were killed and 20 wounded.
On Father’s Day in 1984, Australia had its own bikie massacre – also involving the Bandidos – that saw seven people killed and 28 wounded in a battle in a Sydney suburb.
One of those killed was a 14-year-old girl.
Should any amount of charity rides make up for the innocent lives these thugs have taken in their senseless turf wars?
Violence is part of their culture, and making money from drugs and prostitution is their business.
Even if a majority of bikies are not involved in criminal activity we cannot accept that they do not know about those who are.
By putting their allegiance to their “brothers” first, they are accepting behaviour that is harmful to our community.
That’s why we should not be fooled – outlaw motorcycle gangs are not like any other clubs with a few bad apples, they are rotten to the core.