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Hell angels the Motorcycle riders - Essay Example

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The group has gained widespread notoriety for its crimes and sensational actions. Currently, the group is recognized by the United States Department of Justice as an…
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Hell angels the Motorcycle riders
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Hell’s Angels The Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club is an organized motorcycle club that has been in existence since 1948. The group has gained widespread notoriety for its crimes and sensational actions. Currently, the group is recognized by the United States Department of Justice as an organized crime unit. The Hell’s Angels current motto is, “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets." This essay examines the background and actions of the group and examines the extent that they are truly an organized crime unit.
The Hell’s Angels were first founded in Fontana, California in 1948, as a conglomeration of four earlier motorcycle gangs (Winterhalder 2005). It was not long before other chapters throughout California were established and the group gained increasing prominence. During these early years the insignia and many membership elements were established (Winterhalder 2005). Today for an individual to become a member of the Hell’s Angels they must be a white male, have a driver’s license, an American made working motorcycle, and can never have applied to be a police officer or prison guard (Winterhalder 2005). Similar to the mafia there are a highly structured variety of stages an individual must progress through – including hang around, associate, and prospect stages – before becoming a fully-fledged member (Winterhalder 2005). Today there are over one hundred chapters of the Hell’s Angels. Surprisingly these chapters are not limited to the United States, but are spread out over 29 countries globally, with the first international chapter established in New Zealand in 1961 (Winterhalder 2005).
While the members of Hell’s Angels contend they make great contributions to society, they have also been involved in a high number of criminal incidents. Perhaps the most seminal incident occurred at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert, a free Rolling Stones concert (Lavigne 2010). The Hell’s Angels were hired as security for the event, but during one incident greatly overstepped their bounds and killed one of the concertgoers. This incident is only the most publicized in a long-history of criminal incidents. In recent years the Hell’s Angels were involved in a shooting in Sparks, Nevada. Jeffrey Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter, was shot in the back two times by members of a rival gang (Lavigne 2010). In 2002 another incident occurred in Nevada. Referred to the River Run Riot the Hell’s Angels engaged in physical conflict on the casino floor (Lavigne 2010). This incident resulted in one individual being stabbed to death and two others being shot to death (Lavigne 2010). While these are sensational incidents, they are by no means isolated. Rather than demonstrate the long history of crime related to the Hell’s Angels.
In conclusion, this essay has examined the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. Within this context of investigation it is demonstrated that the Hell’s Angels formed in 1948 in California and grew from these levels. While the Hell’s Angels claim they make positive contributions to society, the essay demonstrates they regularly engage in criminal actions. Specifically criminal incidents related to the seminal 1969 Rolling Stones concert, as well as two recent incidents in Nevada that resulted in deaths. Ultimately, it seems the Hell’s Angels have greatly inflated their contributions to society and neglected their criminal actions.
Lavigne, Yves Hells Angels: Into the Abyss, HarperTorch, 2010
Winterhalder, Edward, Out In Bad Standings: Inside The Bandidos Motorcycle Club – The Making of a Worldwide Dynasty, Blockhead City Press, 2005/Seven Locks Press. Read More
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