Is what you are reading/watching for real?

Have you ever been watching the telly or reading a newspaper and seen an article that you felt 'wasn't quite right' or a bit off somehow. Well of course your a biker (which is a fair guess considering that you are reading this on a biker related website) and have therefore, I am sure seen these little 'artistic impressions' of the real truth before. I have been personally involved when an article appeared a few years back in my city's major newspaper talking about a charity Poker Run I had been involved in organising, the article was fine and factual apart for one small item the photo they used was not taken on the day nor was it of any of the bikers present but rather a 'file' photo they used instead. When I rang and questioned the journalist that wrote the story he said it was not unusual for media to use whatever is at hand and if that means passing off fiction as fact then so be it, in this case the photo of one group of bikers being passed off as another.

What harm? I hear you say well to be honest in and of itself the photo was no biggie but it does demonstrate the media's believe that nothing, not even the truth should get in the way of a story. This photo was not of us and yet the caption stated that it was us and the journalist was wondering 'why were we upset' after all they (the paper) ran the story and we should be thankful. Now letís put this into perspective, if Julia Gillard appeared at fund raiser and they did not have a photo of her at that event do you think a 'file' photo of someone else would have been used? Of course not!!

If the media and Police are to be believed we are in the grip of full scale Intercontinental ballistic warfare at the hands of bloodthirsty rabid outlaw bikies. It seems that a day doesn't go by without a 'bikie' or at the very least someone with 'bikie links' being paraded in front of the media as the forefront of that previously mentioned bloodthirsty rampage. In the last 2 days I have been reading a story coming out of Adelaide about gangland violence at a suburban cafe. The first story stated "Two men linked to the @#@ motorcycle club were sitting at the eatery when they shot at a third man, who returned the fire." What I find interesting is they don't say members but men 'linked' to a Club linked? Linked in what way did they perhaps have billboards showing their affiliation or maybe a business card boldly stating "You have just met **** a person possibly linked to a Motorcycle Club" What does linked mean? Were the men were wearing Club colours? No clearly not (there would have been a photo of that) so on what basis is that comment made? Maybe the men had beards and god help us all, tattoos and therefore clearly bikies either that or maybe one of the thousands who now consider getting heavily tattooed a fashion statement. In Australia, according to the Bureau of Statistics 1% of all crime committed in Australia is gang related and .6% of that 1% is conducted by members of MC's hardly what I would call a rampage. Just to put that into perspective if you have 2000 criminals approximately 20 of those crims are involved in gangs and of those 20 .6% or them or 1 person out of those 2000 criminals is a biker. True but makes fairly bland reading don't you agree.

I get increasingly frustrated by statements 'linked to' 'associate of' what do these comments mean? Well what they do is release the writer from any burden of proof and therefore enables the person to write whatever sounds the most colourful and will get maybe one more person to read their story. It is amazing how many journo's continue to use as a cornerstone to their modern 'bikie horde' stories the terrible riot that was Hollister Southern California in 1947 which in all actuality was a pissant party at best, 4000 bikers turned up for a hillclimb and rally event and a few got pi##ed and couple even got charged. In total, 50-60 bikers were treated for injuries at the local hospital. About the same number were arrested. They were charged with misdemeanours: public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and reckless driving. Most were held for only a few hours. No one was killed or raped; there was no destruction of property, no arson, or looting; in fact, no locals suffered any harm at all. Gus Deserpa lived in Hollister. He is the smiling young man seen in the background of the famous 'Life Magazine' photo. "I was projectionist by trade. I worked at the Granada Theater, which was on the corner of Seventh and San Benito. I would have got off work around 11 p.m.. My wife came to pick me up, and we decided to walk up Main Street to see what was going on. I saw two guys scraping all these bottles together, that had been lying in the street. Then they positioned a motorcycle in the middle of the pile. After a while this drunk guy comes staggering out of the bar, and they got him to sit on the motorcycle, and started to take his picture. This photo was proved to be garbage in 1951 and yet it is still trotted out as genuine some 60 years later, Hollister was an unknown nothing town that had a biker meet in 1947 that the public at large knew nothing about until the release of the Wild One in 1953 and then all of a sudden the genie was out of the bottle and the moral highgounders have been trying to put it back in ever since. We have had several very public incidents in Australia related to bike clubs, the last in 2009 at Sydney airport where one man died and I am sure you know what his name was and at least some of the 'facts' surrounding it but did you know that 120 other people died at the hands of others in that same year, can you name even one of them?

A wise man once said "the more things change the more they stay the same" Some things don't change do they, bikers were an easy target then and still are to this day. I am not saying that everyone that rides a bike is an honest upright member of society after all there are good and bad everywhere and god knows I've met some real turkeys riding bikes but that does not give anyone the right to invent stories or use tags that cannot be tested such as 'linked to' etc. I think I'll leave it there for today and let Bertis 'Bert' Lanning an eyewitness to the Hollister 'riots' tell it as it was "Main Street was packed, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the papers said. There was a bunch of guys up on the second floor of the hotel, throwing water balloons. I didn't see any fighting or anything like that. I enjoyed it. Some people just don't like motorcycles, I guess."

Some people just don't like motorcycles, I guess. Says it all really.

Till next time, keep the rubber side down keep ya bags dry and remember


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