History of biker gangs
Biker gangs are defined as a group of motorcycle riders who share a common identity and mythology. Although not all motorcycle gangs engage in illegal activities, these groups have gotten a bad rap in the latter half of the last century.
Historically, the term 'biker gang' also included chopper and motorcycle hobbyists who like to travel in packs and tourists that enjoy the freedom of exploring the highways on two wheels.
Nowadays the most common understanding of the word ‘gang’, whether it be a street gang or a biker gang, is a group of individuals who use drug sales, the selling of "personal protection", extortion and other crimes to take over a territory in a city. But that's not exactly what the real term should be viewed as. A gang can be a group of individuals who have positive goals.
Popular culture has often taken a somewhat romantic view of biker gangs, featuring them as rebels, loners and vigilantes on the silver screen. However in reality, biker gangs tend to be less noble in their aims, often intimidating and corrupting the neighborhoods that they take over.
There are thousands of biker gangs in the United States, but the big four outlaw motorcycle gangs are generally considered to be the Hell's Angels, the Bandidos, the Outlaws and the Pagans.
The Hell's Angels are practically synonymous with the word biker gang due to their volatile history and heavy-handed reputation. Formed in 1948 in San Bernardino, the Hell's Angels are viewed as criminals by many law enforcement agencies.
However, the Hell's Angels claim that their membership consists mostly of law-abiding citizens who have been stereotyped as a result of media sensationalism.
The Hell's Angels history is a bit hazy but many believe that the original Angels were members of the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne Division, an elite group of paratroopers trained to rain death on the enemy from above. They apparently called themselves Hell's Angels because they...
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