Personally, I love government. I love my Social Security checks, Medicare, my Golden Age Pass; and I love the government agencies which make sure my food and medicines are safe, our air and water pure; and when disaster strikes, FEMA and others come with aid and succor. It ain’t perfect, but it is sure as heck better than nothing. But I know lots of other people hate the government and say things like, “The best government is no government.” I always wonder what those people do when their house is on fire or the hooligans are banging down the door; whom do they call if they hate the government so much?
Anyway, on Memorial Day weekend about 400 of the most societally dysfunctional, dangerously ignorant, drug-dealing, money-laundering, prostituting, gun-toting misfits decided to ride their motorcycles to Wayne County for their annual “convention”. It’s hard to imagine these urban thugs were interested in what we think of as “Wayne Wonderland”. This particular gang, the Mongols, has a reputation second only to the Hell’s Angels for violence, havoc and disrespect for civil society (Google: “Mongol Motorcycles”). William Queen, an ATF agent who infiltrated the Mongols for two years calls them, “America’s most violent outlaw motorcycle gang.” While some of us want to be better writers, teachers, ranchers, or businessmen, the Mongols want to be better thugs, sell more drugs, get in more fights, pimp under-age girls and intimidate people by the authority of group menace. I seriously doubt if any one of them would understand the concept of mano a mano or be capable of a single leg tackle. These are not individuals you would want to have as your next-door neighbors.
But this is America, a free country right? Well, yes and no. It is estimated that ten percent of all Mongols are in jail, which, seems to corroborate agent Queen’s unflattering assessment. Okay, you say they are just being “persecuted” but I would argue that our justice system is arguably one of the best in the world and if several dozen members of a particular organization are serving time in several states for crimes ranging from possession to prostitution to murder then there must be an underlying reason for such fraternal mischief. Lets not be disingenuous and pretend that most gang activity is not tied in one way or another to drugs, prostitution, money laundering and murder. These are not cordial people. In several hours of searching the Internet I failed to discover a single redeeming feature of The Mongols…unless you happen to be residing in one of several western states “correctional” institutions then your Mongol tattoo will allow you to walk across “the yard” un-molested. Nice. If you think I am indulging in hyperbole, take a look at this Youtube
The Mongols came to Wayne County to remind us that we are all vulnerable. “Respect few, fear none” doesn’t sound like the philosophy of the ideal guest. Nine months ago they had come to check out the accommodations and law enforcement. They knew there were only six deputies in the entire county and they knew where each one lived. One could argue that, hey, just because they are The Mongols doesn’t mean we shouldn’t embrace them and be happy if they spend a few dollars in our community. Fine. Two years ago The Banditos, another motorcycle gang almost as unsavory as The Mongols, decided to have their big annual ride to Moab. They, at least gave law enforcement two month’s notice and the event went relatively peacefully. The Mongols gave virtually no notice (other than ignoring a Nevada Highway Patrol officer) and, among other things, appropriated the Sunglow Campground as their private rendezvous site posting a guard at the intersection with 24. No locals or French or German tourists allowed. Sunglow campground and trail are on public land and NOBODY has the right to close it off for their own purposes.
Nobody is sorrier than I that life is not easy in the ghettoes of Los Angeles, Detroit and San Francisco and gangs offer a kind of solace for the angry and disenfranchised. I’m sorry about all that but at the same time, to some extent, they have chosen a life of drugs, guns and violence. Some had no choice, and worse yet, still do not even have the choice to get out of such gangs (Google: “leaving a gang” and then tell me that you want to invite these guys back next year).
The Mongols were established in the early 70’s by Hispanic Vietnam War Veterans who were refused membership in the white supremacist Hell’s Angels (Wikipedia). I think it is safe to say that discrimination is the raison d’etre for all gangs from the Nazis to the Taliban to the Ku Klux Klan. I very seriously doubt that an African American or Jew would be welcome in most outlaw motorcycle gangs. Thanks to ATF agent Queen, in April, 2000, 54 Mongols were convicted of sundry felonies ranging from drug trafficking to motorcycle theft to conspiracy to commit murder. In 2002, in a small town in Nevada, some Mongols ran into some Hell’s Angels and three people died and a couple dozen were injured. Again, in 2008 members of these two gangs had another serendipitous confrontation at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas and three people ended up in hospital. “Respect few, fear none”. For whatever it is worth, I think Jesus would say, “Respect ALL, fear none.”
There are those who were hoping to score some money from these rogues and are unhappy that they departed Wayne County a day early. This early departure should not be blamed entirely on the preponderant law enforcement in as much as the weather was so cold that anybody on a two wheeled vehicle, with his arms in a high wind-embrace would leave early no matter what; I know I wasn’t about to get on my bike that weekend. The forecast for Memorial Day was snow. I have a photograph from Memorial Day 10 AM showing the ice sculptures of the sprinklers across the valley.
Just in case somebody thinks I am “talking out of church”; my daughter just divorced a guy who joined The Pagans a few years ago, mainly an east coast gang. He had a good job, a nice house and a company truck. Nobody forced him to join a gang. First it was the Harley, then the Tattoos, then the drugs, then the abuse. Google: “The Pagans” and you will be able to imagine the travails my daughter experienced while married to this guy. Happily, the marriage is history but guess who co-signed the loan and still owes ten grand for the Harley? Pagans, Hell’s Angels, Mongols, Banditos…give me a break.
In any event, thanks to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and various Utah State law enforcement agencies, Wayne High School became the command and control headquarters for approximately 75 law enforcement officers from around the state. On Saturday morning, as hundreds of Mongols rode into Bicknell and saw the parking lot filled with state patrol cruisers, phantom police SUV’s and Sheriff and posse vehicles they were forewarned that the Sheriff and his six deputies in Wayne County have friends.
Other than a few minor traffic violations and drug busts the weekend was tranquil. I think the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department was right to follow the advice of Louis Pasteur the great scientist, who said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”