POLITICAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN DECLARED AT MEETING
Popeye Moss, president of Sons of Liberty Riders MC, quoted Saul Alinksky’s “Rules For Radicals” – “It only takes a few to make changes…”
Bedford – When an organization stops talking and put its money in the pie hole to pay for broadcasting and printing political messages, they’re serious. It’s on.
Said Mel Robins, vice president of Sons of Liberty Riders MC to a small gathering of activist bikers from the Metroplex and the metro Houston area: “You are in trouble. You may not know it – yet – but you are in deep, deep trouble.”
Murmurs of assent followed his declaration as the truth sank in.
The freedom of the open road, to associate with whom one may choose, express in language one’s thoughts, gather for fellowship – all is on the line.
Robins gave numerous examples, but none more stark than that of Queensland, Australia, where patched bikers are prohibited from gathering in groups of three or more without facing arrest.
There was dead silence in the meeting room at the American Legion Post when he spoke. Only 29 months ago, the world watched as lawmen pulled over and arrested all bikers in the Waco area on the off chance that they might be headed for the scene of a deadly shoot-out before a Confederation of Clubs meeting could even begin to discuss two key issues in the 85th Legislature – $17 million in motorcycle safety funds collected from bike registrations, and the law enforcement profiling of men and women who choose to ride together wearing signs of recognition – the patches embroidered in distinctive colors they call their rags.
In the days following the recusal of 19th Criminal District Court Judge Ralph T. Strother, a story has circulated throughout the state about a well-known Austin biker who was arrested after the police massacre that left 9 bikers dead, 20 wounded and 177 arrested for the very vague conspiracy offense of engaging in criminal activity.
This chap has written numerous resolutions and proposed bills – and he’s seen them passed by the houses of the Legislature before the Governor signed them into law.
His attorney Millie Thompson elicited testimony that made it clear Judge Strother had acted with bias when he participated with prosecutors to keep defendants separated as to their arbitrarily assigned suspected affiliation or sympathy as to either the Cossacks MC or the Bandidos.
He told certain people in the gallery in private remarks that his phone and personal property was labeled “Bandidos.”
He is a member of a completely different club, one that is totally separate from the Bandidos. When he told the deputy who was classifying him by his association, the man asked “What difference does it make?”
A lot. First of all, it’s not true. Secondly, why would the state wish to jump to some erroneous conclusion as that?
And then it hits people like a ton of bricks or two hundred pounds of turkey feathers hurled from a speeding box car: He wasn’t arrested and charged for his club affiliation; the authorities came down on him for his political activism.
These men are battle scarred by the road, hardened by war, many of them veterans of the military – industrial manufacturing industries of the mid-cities, who have operated their own businesses and led men into battles against both enemies and commercial competitors. They have no illusions as to what all this means.
Robins lets his remarks sink in, then his running buddy Popeye Moss set the hook with a fierce tug on the rod.
A group of riders out of Houston, associates of the Sons of Liberty, came into town the night before and when they left their motel rooms, the found police busy taking pictures of the machines, writing down VIN numbers, recording license plate registrations, and running radio checks on their owners.
These men know what that means, too.
They saw their challenge to what they see as mismanagement of a multimillion motorcycle safety fund for budget-balancing purposes and the sidetracking of any possibility of an anti-profiling bill evaporate like ether.
They are ready to fight back, now that the cases are coming to trial.
The best news they’ve heard: The Attorney Millie Thompson took the witness standing during a recusal hearing to remove 54th Criminal District Judge Matt Johnson from the bench in his replacement of Strother in the first trial scheduled, that of Jake Carrizal, who led the members of the Dallas Bandidos Chapter into a surprise ambush at the Twin Peaks. In remarks during cross examination by lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett, she replied that when it comes to motions to recuse the two judges in the cases, “There are more on the way…”
Most important, they plan to spend their money raised from websites on week-long radio and print advertisements headed by the legend, “People of McLennan County, Don’t Be Duped”
But audio tapes of the rousing remarks made by these activists tell the story much better than the recollections of any one reporter.
Watch these columns for an interview at the Courthouse Square in Waco tomorrow evening around dark-thirty.
Here is a portion of the discussion: