Sergeant Lindsey Houghton
Media Relations Officer
Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit - BC
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The column I write is an opinion piece.
The content is on your site, and needed no clarification or verification from your office. The content is there for all to see.
It's in public domain, I took offence, I wrote to you and I wrote about the offence I took and shared my letter to you.
For you to accuse me of not being like other journalists, well - I am not. For you to jump to the conclusion that I would not give your response the "air time" it deserved is totally untrue.
Please believe me I will be posting your response, in it's entirety. Just because I tend to do things a little differently from other journalists does not mean that I don't offer the opportunity to provide dialogue and comment. Your full response to my first letter letter and my response to you will be the topic of another "Editorial Comment" on this topic, in the very near future. I may or may not wait for your response to this letter before I share my personal feelings, observations and opinions with my readers.
Just so as we are both clear, this is on the record.
So let's dive into the topic at hand.
Your comments are rather confusing as your ad for the web site report was on the Eagle Valley News web site today so I am unclear as to how this is OLD content.
Perhaps having a date it was created would be handy, then one could identify if it is outdated content.
Thank you for your email. While not a “report”, I want to thank you for bringing what is a poorly worded sentence of some of our old web-only content to my attention, especially since it is accompanied by a photo of a 1% patch next to it that doesn’t represent the best image for the content. I will ensure that the content is updated to clearly reflect that while not allOutlaw MC/MG’s are 1% but all 1% clubs are Outlaw MC/MG’s, that wearing a three-piece patch does, in fact, traditionally symbolize the “outlaw” designation and all that comes with it (consent from the dominant club, a fealty-like form of support and association, etc).
WHAT is an "MG" if not a Motorcycle Gang?
- There are NO Outlaw Motorcycle Groups - they are Motorcycle Clubs.
- OMG - Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs is a designation the police services created and has no place in the motorcycle community.
- We were discussing Outlaw Motorcycle CLUBS and the mis representation/information on your site that the three piece patch is an indication of 1% affiliation.
Your attaching the "MG" police designation beside the MC designation is confusing.
Or did you mean Motorcycle Group? If that is the case, and I believe it is, then you really are doing a disservice to all riders.
The statement should read "NOT ALL Outlaw Clubs are 1% Clubs but ALL 1% Clubs are Outlaw Clubs". PERIOD
I take a lot of offence to this comment: "that wearing a three-piece patch does,in fact, traditionally symbolize the “outlaw” designation and all that comes with it (consent from the dominant club, a fealty-like form of support and association, etc)."
In Fact NOT all Outlaw Clubs go to the dominant club for permission, there are many Law Enforcement Motorcycle Clubs, Veterans Motorcycle Clubs as well as those who accept law enforcement and first responders into their clubs, who wear a three piece patch and have a prospecting phase, who do not approach a dominant and do not follow the COC protocols.
They are still three piece patch clubs, Outlaws by the strictest of definition, but not 1%.
The Outlaw designation does NOT necessarily come with consent from the dominant club, it is not a fealty like form of support and in no way represents association.
The Outlaw designation has everything to do with earning a patch and nothing else. Could you please make your wording less ambiguous? Please?
I take a lot of offence to this particular paragraph:
Begin Quote: Unfortunately, and quite tragically in many cases, we have seen many “non-outlaw” motorcycle “groups” here in British Columbia in recent years drift closer or associate more and more with the more well-known OMG’s and their overt support clubs in this province. These groups wear three-piece patches with the consent of the HA or their support clubs and in addition to being found at more and more HA rides or OMG events, their members are involved or suspected of being involved in various levels of criminality with or in support of traditional OMG groups.
This is, and should be, completely unacceptable to not only all legitimate MC’s and riders, especially those law-abiding ones in these groups/clubs, but the general public as well. These people are hiding behind what some are purporting to be “non-outlaw” groups, when, in fact, many of them are more “outlaw” than they claim to be and are quickly moving closer to being a “gang” and further from a mere “club”. We know this because of our investigations, what members of these groups tell us, and what is seen in public. End Quote
So what you are saying here, if I understand you correctly, is that you are seeing members of Motorcycle "Groups" as you call them associating with Hells Angels or "OMG" feeder clubs.
Is that Correct?
To what NON OUTLAW groups do you refer? The Harley Owners Group? The Okanagan Motorcycle Riding Association? The Women in the Wind? The Rock Solid Biker Church? The Shadow Riders? The Border Riders? Who are these NON OUTLAW, Motorcycle GROUPS you refer to? What do their patches or CUT look like?
Your attempt to tar members of riding clubs and associations with "we have seen many “non-outlaw” motorcycle “groups” here in British Columbia in recent years drift closer or associate more and more with the more well-known OMG’s and their overt support clubs in this province", as a justification for misrepresenting who is who in the motorcycle community appears to me to be nothing more than a profiling of our community.
Just because I wear a patch and ride with an MRC - Motorcycle Riding Club (a motorcycle group as you call it), motorcycle association, motorcycle ministry, veterans MC or manufacturers club does not mean I will gravitate towards a tight relationship with 1% or their feeders clubs.
That is like saying that because I am black, wear a certain style of pants and hat, that I am going to gravitate towards being a member of the Jamaican Posse or some other street gang, or that because there are police officers (now former police officer) like Monty Robinson on the force that all police officers have a tendency to CYA and be drink drivers or alter reports to protect themselves.
Or that because priest XYZ molested little boys that all priests have the predilection towards molesting little boys.
Profiling is profiling and it is wrong, but because clothing isn't protected under the charter you seem to feel you are able to profile motorcyclists and that it is OK to do so.
It is not OK.
I fail to see where your comments regarding non outlaw clubs has anything to do with my original email to you, but you sure have given me more reason to be upset not only as a journalist, but as a rider and taxpayer.
You cause every rider to wear a social stigma because you can't get your terminology right, where is that fair?
You cause very rider to experience barriers to tourism and tourism services like meals, beverages etc. Establishments that are licensed tend to be the ones most fearful of serving riders who wear their patches or cut because of conflicting terminology and a lack of understanding of the motorcycle community and the lack of educational materials like photos to identify the 1% community and training to those establishments and their employees.
I find it interesting that you did not address the fact that many Outlaw Law Enforcement Clubs exist - they have a prospecting phase and wear a three piece patch - you earn that patch, you can't buy it.
You do realize that you have tarred a large percentage of the Police Service Community with the label of 1% er because you can't get your terminology right.
Not only that, but many of those Law Enforcement Motorcycle Clubs do not wear the appropriate LE designation and that causes even more confusion and fear for all involved.
Please see the attachment of the ad I clicked on and some interesting Outlaw Patches that are NON 1% - in fact all are Law Enforcement Outlaw Clubs.
I look forward to your response and unlike other journalists, I will print your entire response, not just a snippet.
Renee "Belt Drive Betty" Charbonneau
Editor- The Busted Knuckle Chronicles
So, we shall see what the next response is, if there is one.
This started out to be an editorial rant on the way things are worded and the inferences one draws, but, it appears that is has become one about education and profiling. Semantics and inference...
I have attempted at various times in the past to get a civil rights lawyer willing to take on this challenge, but sadly, the Canadian Civil Liberties movement clearly does not extend to the riding community. There appears to be no one who thinks that the riding community needs and deserves protection under the charter as a visible minority.
By virtue of the fact that riders, those who wear a patch or cut, are being "monitored" because they might become friends with someone who wears a 1% or feeder club cut is cause for concern.
We truly are a visible minority, we truly appear to be being profiled, but because we have no unified voice, no advocacy group, we are unprotected.
It is perfectly fine to label every rider who wears a patch or cut as a potential bad person all in the name of crime prevention. That appears to be the message.
In fact, there have been some cases where legitimately non criminal Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs AKA Traditional Motorcycle Clubs have been unfairly tarred with a brush they don't deserve - remember what happened in Orangeville Ontario, in Medicine Hat Alberta and in Kelowna and Ladysmith BC? In Orangeville, members of one piece patch clubs were asked to leave a Legion because of liquor license restrictions. In Medicine Hat the Falcons were served their food outside on the grass so as not to violate the license for the legion there - other things transpired here as well - so read the article I linked to above.
In Kelowna and Ladysmith, the Veterans MC have been tarred as 1%. They are adamant that they are not, that they are simply veterans but no matter, they are still under scrutiny - unfairly in my estimation as I know many of the members. Read through the comments on the article linked above, about a Kelowna Gang that was convicted - the comments become somehow about the Veterans MC and the crew in Ladysmith and have a lot of Veterans MC members very upset.
And frankly I don't blame them.
I know that pictures of their cuts were circulated to licensed establishments as a banned club, along with the HA and a few others. I saw the email and the print out with my own eyes. The ideology behind the "Three piece patch being an indication of 1% affiliation" might be behind the tarring of this club. I am just guessing here.
I support the Veterans MC through our newspaper. Why? Because I support our military and our veterans and until such time as I know for myself first hand that the clubs are going in a different direction than being about veterans causes and community, I'll keep on supporting them. Same with the Falcons or any of the others I know who are law abiding.
If everything the various newspaper reports on these three incidents, the reports from some of the clubs that were affected like the Falcons MC, is remotely true, then Houston we have a problem...
Peoples reputations have suffered, peoples lives have been affected and there truly appears to be no recourse for it.
I understand that the police need to do their job and keep communities safe. I do get that.
The way they go about doing their jobs though, makes me wonder.
Since when are you guilty until proven innocent?
What say you?
If you are blessed enough to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you - and remember our SPOT THE GEAR FAIL contest for your chance to win some fabulous prizes from Kimpex and Draggin Jeans!
Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider