A DOUBLE BIKER'S FUNERAL AND
Death is closer to the motorcycle outlaw than to the operator
of any other vehicle on the road. This causes a defiance of death that
serves to bring death even nearer.
HANDLING COMPETITION FROM OTHER CLUBS
The lack of a safety helmet, the bare arms, the reckless
weaving through fast traffic at breakneck speeds suggests a suicidal maniac.
But it is not true that the outlaw biker has a death wish.
Instead of courting death, he has contempt for it. Instead
of wanting to die, he wants to live, totally, without compromise or quarter.
Freedom in the ultimate is his demand and if his demand is not met, he
seems to prefer extinction.
To the outlaw biker there is no such thing as a traffic
jam. Roads are incidental. He will cut through a fence and go across a
field or leave the highway and race across the desert leaving squad cars
floundering in the sand by the freeway.
With the motorcycle's mobility and style, coupled with
the rider's terrible courage, the threat of death is a weak thing to be
despised. And if it comes, he has certainly met it headlong, without flinching;
When a biker is killed on the road, his funeral is a solemn
event. There is a general truce among the nearby clubs if they have been
quarreling. Even the police show their respect as they escort the ranks
of bikers attending the funeral.
Quite an accident happened when a mob of Knight-riders
were storming along on the freeway about three o'clock in the morning.
The victims were a young outlaw called Rollio and his girl friend who was
riding on his bike behind him.
A red Volkswagen cut in front of the leader of the formation.
The leader put on his brakes and skidded around the car. Rollio, just behind
the leader, slammed on his brakes and whether he hit the rear of the leader's
bike or just lost control is not known. He bounced to the left to the center
divider and was scrambled along a hundred yards of freeway fence.
The fence shredded him like cheese through a grater. One
of his legs was left hanging on the fence. He was cut in half and pieces
of him were strewn all over the freeway. The girl riding with him had her
pelvis pushed up into her rib cage. She died at ten o'clock the next morning.
The Iron Crosses were friendly with the Knight-riders
and partied with them occasionally. Even if they had been feuding, such
a tragedy brings clubs together in a common bond of sentiment.
The funeral was held Monday morning at Valhalla Memorial
Park in Burbank. The newspapers said there were one hundred scooters there
but Noah counted over two hundred. What with cars and people coming on
busses, there must have been four hundred mourners. The main clubs in attendance
were the Knight-riders, the Iron Cross, Satan's Slaves and the Chosen Few,
a black club.
After the funeral, the main body of Iron Cross people
went to Glendale and about a dozen took off for Hollywood. Going down past
Hollywood Boulevard and Highland the bikers were held up by a traffic jam.
Ahead on the sidewalk were about eight Hare Krishnas jiggling around and
beating tambourines and chanting.
The Hare (ha-ree) Krishnas are a Hindu sect whose members,
ex-hippies for the most part, dress in white robes and shave their heads.
They are the most intense pacifists and preach love and reverence for all
It is little wonder that the mere sight of them drove
the Iron Crosses into fits of screaming rage. Gunning their engines, the
bikers tried to force their way through the crowds of tourists and hippies
surrounding the Hare Krishnas and flowing out into the street among the
There were about six motorcycle police trying to unjam
the traffic and disperse the pedestrians. When they saw the howling scooter
thugs bobbing up and down in the chaos and getting closer, they flew into
a frenzy. Knocking civilians in all directions like so many sheep, they
cleared an area a few yards from the sidewalk in the path of the bikers.
About that time, a pack of rowdies on the sidewalk took
up the Iron Cross's cry of "Kill the skinhead freaks!" As they moved in
and began shoving the unresisting Hare Krishnas, a squad of excited patrolmen
barreled through the crowd and began clubbing rowdies and Hare Krishnas
When the first of the line of bikers forced their way
between cars as far as the motorcycle police, the cops lashed out at them
with their clubs. Pinocchio punched one of them in the mouth and sent him
sprawling. Pinocchio was wearing a German flak helmet which looked like
a great wash bowl shielding his head and shoulders. Two of the police jerked
him away from the rest and after tearing his helmet off, handcuffed him
and then beat him with their clubs. Noah grabbed a tourist and threw him
across the small clearing against the two policemen on Pinocchio.
As the bikers filled up the clearing, the police drew
their guns and sent out calls for reinforcements. The patrolmen on the
sidewalk had handcuffed three of the Hare Krishnas and a member of Gay
Liberation who had clobbered a cop with a "Gay Power" sign. In the distance
were the flashing lights of several squad cars trying vainly to get to
Noah, looking down a policeman's gun barrel, was yelling,
"How come you keep us away from those evil spawn of Satan? It's your duty
as a Christian to release the power of the Lord against those funny looking
With the arrival of more foot patrolmen the cars moved
and the mob was soon dispersed. The bikers were by then surrounded by police
and were loudly demanding the release of Pinocchio. The police flatly refused
to give him up.
As soon as a squad car could get through they stuffed
him into its back seat, prodding him with their clubs. Pinocchio kicked
out at one and knocked him half way across the street.
Soon the bikers were alone except for some tourists. Noah
called Big Mike and asked him to send the camper for Pinocchio's scooter
and to call their bondsman.
At the Hollywood jail it took five burly policemen to
take Pinocchio, cursing and struggling, into his cell. They opened the
cell door and threw him inside. He immediately got off the floor and went
around threatening to brain the other prisoners, mostly blacks, if they
got out of line. Banging his cuffs against the bars, he hollered, "You
goddam pigs have jailed a innocent man. You think you can throw me in here
alone with all these niggers? But I ain't alone; I got Jesus Christ."
An hour later the club's bondsman had come and bailed
him out. As he left the cell area, one of the blacks called to him, "You
show a lot of class, baby. In our book, you prisoner of the month."
That night about twenty-five bikers were in the clubhouse
partying. They were discussing the funeral, the Hollywood riot and Pinocchio's
running amuck on the Hollywood police. Big Mike said the charges against
Pinocchio were assaulting a police officer, rioting and resisting arrest.
No one was hurt so Big Mike figured, with a plea of temporary insanity,
they could get him off with a small fine.
Paranoid George and Ape had gone out for more beer and
as they came back, Ape saw a red Volkswagen parked a block from the clubhouse.
Ape went over and caved in its door with a fierce kick.
Paranoid George asked, "How come you kicked in that car's
Ape answered, "It was a red Volkswagen that killed those
people at the funeral, wasn't it?"
"Yeah," said Paranoid George, "but what makes you think
this is the same red Volkswagen?"
"What makes you think it ain't?" was the reply.
Paranoid George's eyes lit up and he said, "Let's get
the guys and execute this car."
Ape responded, "You mean kill it, really, in a ceremony,
Paranoid George said, "You go get the others. Tell 'em
to bring their guns. Meanwhile, I'll hotwire it and we'll take it out on
Angeles Crest Highway and do it in with a lot of real heavy symbolism."
Ape took Paranoid George's case of beer and rushed back
to the clubhouse. Paranoid George put his engineer boot through the car's
right side window and reached in and opened the door. Then he got in and
went under the dash and by the time the other bikers had streamed out of
the clubhouse, he had the little engine purring.
Not all the outlaws had their weapons, so Big Mike stopped
by his home and got about ten 30-06 rifles and a case of ammunition. Then
the camper, the red Volkswagen, three cars and twenty scooters moved on
toward the Angeles Crest Highway.
A few miles out they went off the road and over a small
hill. They parked the Volkswagen in the middle of a large depression and
built a bonfire near each fender.
The next step was to decide whether to just blaze away
at the Volkswagen or to make runs against it with their bikes. Ape said
they could do it both ways, so they decided to first make runs at it. Five
were on foot and no one would loan his bike to a neighbor for any reason.
To keep peace five with bikes agreed to let a man ride behind him on his
Then arose the question of what guns were practical for
shooting from a motorcycle whether by the one controlling it or by the
passenger. It was generally accepted that a pistol or the light semi-automatic
carbine were best as they could be operated with one hand while the other
hand was free to guide the bike.
Shotguns and 30-06s were agreed by most to be too heavy
to aim with any effect using only one hand and impossible to pump in extra
shells while on the run.
Ape said he could shoot and reload even if he was a passenger,
which he wasn't since he had his own bike. A thug called Ginch, who had
come in the camper told Ape he couldn't do it, and especially riding tandem.
He explained that either way, the recoil would cause him to lose his balance
and riding behind someone, he wouldn't have a purchase for his feet to
Ape told Ginch he was a damned fool and didn't know anything
and should shut up. This enraged Ginch, so he grabbed up a heavy Eddystone
Enfield loaded with armor piercing ammo. Then he went over to where Pinocchio
sat on his bike and hopped on behind him.
Pinocchio gunned his machine to life and circled the Volkswagen
then headed straight for it. Ginch managed to get a fair shot off holding
the rifle with one hand. But when he released his hold on Pinocchio to
work the bolt, he fell off and broke his arm.
He got up yelling in pain and rage. The other bikers were
howling with glee at his plight. Rushing over to Ape he screamed, "You
son-of-a-bitch, I told you it couldn't be done. When this here arm heals,
I'm gonna kick your ass." Then he went to Big Mike and asked to be taken
to a hospital.
When the laughter had died down, the bikers mounted in
a line and headed in single file for the Volkswagen. Most of those who
had shotguns or 30-06s contented themselves with one shot before sheering
Ape, however, was going to show up Ginch. He took his
first shot and tried to ride no hands over the bumpy turf while he struggled
with the bolt. Instead of sheering off as he approached the Volkswagen,
he slammed into it and was thrown clear over it.
The ten bikers following him continued to blast away while
Ape screamed for them to let him get out of the way. Some of the bikers
even took second runs while Ape tried to burrow into the ground.
When the shooting was over Ape scrambled up and cursed
everybody. Then he examined his bike and found the front wheel and fork
demolished and five bullet holes in the frame and engine.
When Ape got his wreck out of the way and into the camper,
all the bikers, including Ginch, formed a half-circle around the Volkswagen.
At a signal from Big Mike, they solemnly raised their guns and fired point-blank
into the Volkswagen. It actually seemed to shudder and die.
Then they threw all the guns into the camper and mounted
up and began to leave the field. Before getting into the camper, Noah lit
a fuse attached to five sticks of dynamite and threw the bundle under the
Volkswagen. Then he leaped behind the wheel and roared after the others
as the Volkswagen went up in a fall of fire and splinters of tin.
Four miles away from the scene, they met about twenty
highway patrol and police squad cars coming from Glendale, lights flashing
and sirens screeching. When the police saw the bikers, they slowed and
over half went to a turn-off and raced back.
Noah plunged ahead honking the scooters out of his way
and got to the front of the formation. With all the guns in the camper,
he didn't intend to get caught. As he pulled ahead of the column, the bikers
spread out and slowed down.'
When the squad cars approached the bikers and the three
cars, they couldn't get through. To add to the sirens, they all honked
and one crazed highway patrolman emptied his pistol into the air. At this
all the bikers skidded to a halt.
Big Mike got off his scooter and rushed back to the lead
squad car. Confronting the highway patrol captain at the wheel, he said,
"Sir, this is the last straw. We were within the speed limit and you go
blowing your mind and shooting at us. I'm taking your number and..."
The captain snarled, "You shut up, punk. There was shooting
back there and an explosion and you guys had something to do with it. Now,
you're blocking our way and that camper is escaping off down the road.
You have your people pull over to the side, right now, or I'll book all
Big Mike hollered for the bikers to pull over and they
did so, very slowly. While the others stumbled around on the highway Pinocchio
and Paranoid George went back past the squad cars and dragged a terrified
motorist from his car. They hustled him over to Big Mike and the captain
and Paranoid George said, "Here's a witness, captain. He'll testify to
your loud and abusive language and ungentlemanly conduct."
They left the motorist standing there gibbering and went
to their bikes. When the motorist broke and tried to run back to his car,
the captain's partner jumped out and clubbed him to the pavement. Then
he threw him into the back seat of the squad car. By this time the camper
was long gone. With no adequate description from its pursuers, it was not
stopped. In a few minutes Noah dropped Ginch off at the hospital and then
went to Big Mike's where he and Ape unloaded the arsenal.
A few days later some of the bikers were at the clubhouse
repairing Ape's machine. A call came in from an anonymous woman that the
Warlords, a club in the valley, were going to come and have it on against
the Iron Cross that evening.
It seems the Warlords had heard that Big Mike and his
people were looking for a Warlord called Poet with the intent to kill him.
That meant the Warlords were obliged to gather their forces and come shooting.
A few years ago, clubs settled their differences with
fists, motorcycle chains and knives. Today, beating and stabbing is reserved
for fellow club members and citizens.
The reason clubs are so gun oriented now is the national
mania for firearms. Most adult Americans own one or more guns. There are
at least one hundred million rifles and pistols in private hands. That
is more small arms than are held by the Russian and American armed forces
Since motorcycle outlaws are extremists in everything
they do, they probably have more guns per man than any group in the country
except perhaps the Minutemen or the Black Panthers. It is a certainty that
any club outguns the local police department.
The promise of a gang shootout was the kind of thrill
every member relished. It had never happened before except for minor skirmishes
between a couple of members from one club shooting at a couple of members
from another club. But this was supposed to be one whole club shooting
at another whole club.
Several members couldn't believe it would happen so they
did not show up. They had been disappointed so often in life they no longer
believed in anything. Twenty-three optimists did come in, however, and
brought eighty-four guns, about five thousand rounds of ammo and ninety-two
six packs of beer.
They waited until about ten o'clock and nothing happened.
Then Big Mike called up Crow, president of the Warlords and asked him when
they were going to attack. Crow said his club was not attacking. He added
that a woman had called them and said the Iron Cross was coming to shoot
up the Warlords. He complained that someone had driven by an hour ago and
fired several shots into their building and he had presumed Big Mike was
Big Mike denied everything and invited Crow to come partying
sometime soon. Then he hung up and started to go out and call down the
men posted on the nearby roofs. Before he got to the door a bullet ripped
through it and narrowly missed him. More shots rang out and it sounded
like a war going on outside.
Big Mike and the rest grabbed their guns and ran out the
back way. By the time they got around to the street, it was all over and
the gunmen were climbing down from the roofs.
Black Bart got down from the clubhouse roof with his Tommy-gun
as Indian and Richard descended from a building across the street. He told
Big Mike that it was the girl bandit who started the shooting. She had
driven by and cranked three rounds into the clubhouse and they had all
opened up on her. Indian said her car was like a sieve but she still got
away. Richard added that Snuffy Smith, the ex-moonshiner and Ape had taken
off after her in Snuffy's souped up car.
Big Mike figured the police would be there soon so he
told the bikers to put all their weapons in the camper. Then he had Noah
drive it over to his place. Next he had all the empty shells picked up
off the street and sidewalks and hung an out to lunch sign over the bullet
hole in the door.
Just then three Glendale squad cars pulled up in front
of the clubhouse. Six policemen got out and confronted Big Mike. "We just
got a report of some shooting over here. Who were you shooting at?"
Big Mike took a swig of beer and answered, "What shooting?
Nobody's been shooting around here, man. We been partying for hours."
"Don't give us that garbage, Brown," said one of the officers.
"I can smell gun smoke. It's hanging all over the place. You guys have
been shooting and don't try to deny it."
"You want to search the clubhouse for weapons?" asked
"Forget it," said the officer. "We're wise to you. You've
probably got your guns in that goddamn camper heading out someplace to
hide them. We're not as dumb as you think."
Paranoid George said, "You couldn't be, man."
The police got back into their cars and after glaring
sternly at the bikers they drove off. Big Mike and the others went back
inside and resumed partying.''
When the girl bandit began firing at the clubhouse , Black
Bart let loose with a volley from his Tommy-gun which riddled the passenger's
side of her car. Across the street Indian had pumped two loads of buckshot
through the car's roof and Richard had hit it four times with his Eagle
Snuffy Smith and Ape had been parked down the street drinking
beer and waiting for some sort of hit-and-run raid. As the girl bandit
fired at the clubhouse, Snuffy started his motor and peeled out after her.
Thinking she had a milk-run like at the Warlords, she
was horrified at the artillery barrage she got. Weaving all over the street
in hysterical panic, she headed madly for Colorado Boulevard.
Snuffy would have caught her in no time if she had kept
to the street. But she was on the sidewalk half the time or else on the
wrong side of the street. Other cars were stopping suddenly or swerving
in her way, making a real obstacle course for Snuffy.
Ape was rattled at the risks Snuffy was taking. He had
his door unlatched ready to jump out if Snuffy slowed down. When they skidded
around the turn on Glendale Avenue, Ape hollered, "Let her go, damn it.
You're going to get us both killed. You can shoot her some other time.
Let's go back."
Snuffy said, "Hell, I don't want to shoot her. I ain't
never seen driving like that. I love her."
By this time several squad cars were converging on the
girl bandit and her pursuers. For several blocks more there was nothing
but flashing lights and sirens and screeching brakes and panicked motorists
Snuffy and Ape knew they were going to be caught so Ape
took their pistols and threw them into a clump of bushes as they turned
on Chevy Chase Drive. Then they pulled over and got out and waited for
the nearest squad car.
Up ahead on Brand, an old lady tooling along in a Marketeer
Caddie Car was crossing directly in front of the girl bandit. The girl
swerved to avoid the caddie car and stopped on the sidewalk. Immediately
she was surrounded by cops and dragged from her car.
The little old lady pushed her way in between the police
and yelled, "Young puss, driving like that and scaring a body out of her
wits. And that miniskirt and those naked legs; if I had a board..."
One of the policemen took her by the shoulders and ushered
her to her cart saying, "Don't interfere, lady. Go home and watch Merv
Griffin or something."
She got into her cart and shouted back at all of them,
"You'll let her go. It never fails. An old lady never gets no justice from
a bunch of horny cops." Then she drove off angrily.
the police had searched Snuffy and Ape, they led them the half block to
where the other officers were examining the shot up car. One cop seemed
to be lecturing the others. "Now here are two bursts of buckshot pretty
close together. That was done by an expert. There are at least four hits
from what appears to have been a 45. On the passenger's side, from the
pattern, it's obvious that this car has been worked over with an automatic
The police all stared at the girl bandit and one asked
her who had been shooting at her. She said, "How should I know? A girl
can't go anyplace in Glendale and be safe. There's nothing but a lot of
rapists in this town, anyway."
When Snuffy and Ape joined the group, the head officer
said, "I know who she is now. She's the young Ma Barker who was in a shootout
with some Iron Cross guys a while back." Then he searched her car and found
the pistol under the seat.
He sniffed the barrel and said, "From the smell f this
it's been fired, I'd say, just a few minutes ago." Then he told them all
about their rights and had them loaded into squad cars. Policemen drove
the girl's and Snuffy's cars and everybody went down to the station house.
The captain at the desk knew there had been some shooting
at the clubhouse and had pretty well pieced the story together. He questioned
the girl and tried to get her to press some good charges but she would
only charge Ape and Snuffy with attempted rape. The captain didn't even
bother to write that down.
He asked Snuffy if the girl had shot at them. Snuffy said,
"Well, she's a strange piece, alright, but she didn't shoot at us."
The captain then asked why they were chasing the girl
and Ape said, "We saw her car was all shot up and thought she might be
in trouble and need help."
The captain gritted his teeth and said to the girl, "Young
lady, I don't know why you keep coming in contact with these people but
I advise you to stay away from them. I'm charging you with possession of
an unregistered hand gun and transporting it in an auto. I'm also going
to impound your car for further investigation."
To Snuffy he said, "I'm charging you with speeding, reckless
driving and failure to pull over when signaled by the officers. Now you
people go call your bondsmen because I'm going to lock you all up until
someone comes for you."
When the girl bandit and Snuffy and Ape were led off,
one of the officers said, "Is that all you're charging them with? We saw..."
The captain interrupted, "You saw some pretty wild driving
and that's all anyone in the department saw. We know these people were
shooting at each other and we know there was a whole string of felonies
committed tonight, but we can't prove anything.
"The girl won't tell the truth or press any sensible charges
either out of fear or obstinacy. She was certainly fired on and was obviously
being chased by persons she had good reason to fear. Under the circumstances,
her wild driving was a justifiable attempt to escape bodily harm."
An hour later the club's bondsman and the girl's mother
came to bail them out. Snuffy and Ape left immediately but the girl's mother
stayed to chew out the police.
She raged at the captain, calling him every name she could
think of. Then she said, "You're just a bunch of dirty men always abusing
my little girl. She never did anything wrong. She's always been a lovely
child, no thanks to her father, and I want you brutes to let her along."
Then the girl bandit said, "Can the shit, Amy. Let's go
home and get bombed."