Both raid and editorial were way off the mark
By Jim Green, Tamworth
I read with interest your story on the police “raid” on the Gladiators Motorcycle Club in Gunnedah and your following editorial.
I am a bike rider, I belong to a motorcycle club and I know and have befriended a number of members of the Gladiators.
I have been a guest at their clubhouse, therefore I believe I am able to give a fairly honest view of their activities as I know them, unlike your organisation.
Let us begin with the term “outlaw motorcycle gang”(OMG), “1 per-centers and bikers”.
The first OMGs were formed in the USA after World War II. They were formed by ex-members of the USAF, who, after the adrenalin filled years of war, still felt the need for some excitement.
They bought army surplus bikes, got rid of all the extraneous gear and proceeded to act in a manner that shocked polite society.
They gave themselves the title “outlaw”, not because they were set up as a criminal fraternity, but because they refused to conform to the norms of society at that time.
The term of “1 per cent” also showed they considered themselves to be that percentage of non-conformists in society.
These forefathers of modern-era bikers at no time set themselves up as a criminal organisation.
It was only natural that this idea caught on in Australia and thus was born the Australian OMGs.
To name these clubs as “criminal organisations” is slanderous in the extreme.
The majority of members of these OMGs are in fact honest, hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying individuals whose only crime is to belong to a club that rides motorcycles.
If I were to use the same parameters used by our politicians, police and yourself, then I would have to say the NSW and federal parliaments are “criminal organisations” (as supported by the evidence of ICAC), the police forces of all states, particularly in NSW, as supported by the PIC and ICAC.
How many newspaper editors are guilty of resorting to “yellow journalism” to sell papers and to sledge others without once obtaining facts?
Let us look at the two organisations involved in this story: Task Force Raptor – set up by the state government to combat organised crime within the “bikie” world.
This force is staffed by hardworking, decent people, but like all governmental knee-jerks, they are being used in the wrong manner.
They are being used as a public relations tool by the government and senior management, hence the media contingent that accompanies these raids.
With regard to the raid carried out on Friday – what intelligence justified it?
What weapons, drugs and criminal equipment was located and how many arrests were made and how safer are our streets now?
When the police are made to return the property of the club are you going to give it the same coverage as the raid?
Gladiators have been in Australia for 50 years and the local chapter has been in Gunnedah for a number of years.
I know members of the “Glads” and am proud to have ridden with them.
The “Glads” may not know my name but I am called “Bones”.
The laws that have been passed and the powers that have been given are draconian at best and we need to ask ourselves “On whom will they be turned next”?