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Jul-16-2011 02:07printcomments

Bikers Continue to Defy Stereotypes in Oregon

Salem-News.com is recognized again for our fair position toward motorcyclists and clubs.

Salem-News.com picture with Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club
Larger image below, courtesy: Quiet from the Gypsy Joker MC

(SALEM, Ore.) - Thousands of Americans returning home from World War Two, who fought for their own lives and those of others; men who won the war of all wars... found life in the U.S. sluggish after being in such a violent event.

Clark Gable Circa 1947

A large number suffered from advanced cases of what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that created myriad problems for individuals trying to reintegrate into a society that is very, very different from what they came to know in Europe and the islands of the South Pacific. Clark Gable, the actor, is one example of the men who turned to Harley Davidson after WWII.

This is the basis of the American biker movement, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

In Oregon, like other places, clubs exist and constantly absorb grief from police and authorities, even business owners. I contend that if most of these individuals knew the bikers they discriminate against, they would feel differently about it. A large percentage of club members have never been arrested in their entire lives.

Almost every club today has mutual association with other clubs. This is where the dividing line comes into play.

Police and anti-biker types in other aspects of government, can not stand biker unity. I'm not sure if the acceptance of peace among clubs threatens their job security or just what it is, but it is the case. There are officers and deputies and troopers who treat bikers with respect, but there are not enough.

Bonnie and Tim King receive the Oregon Award in Nov.

Those who seek to ban motorcycle club membership and restrict the rights of riders, suggest, with the media frequently parroting their lines, that clubs are 'rivals' and pose danger toward one another and consequently, the public.

While there is truth to this if you go out of your way and look for it, it amounts to very little. Police agencies have rivalries too and when their egos get in the way the public, who expect police to serve them, suffers.

In my time as a reporter which is well more than 20 years, I have never covered a story where a biker threatened or assaulted a member of the public, or police for that matter. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, or hasn't happened, but I have covered every type of story from LA to Baghdad and I've yet to see it.

With the reputation bikers have inadvertently earned, there does seem to be a conspicuously missing trail of bodies. Instead you find things like Christmas Toy Runs to benefit kids, and if you really pay attention, you might know about the time last year when members from several clubs simultaenously responded to a house fire, calling 911, evacuating residents, and actually battling the fire to the point that it was mostly out when fire teams arrived.

Media doesn't report this, (we did) and they also overlook the fact that one of the supposedly 'dreaded' and bar-banned clubs has 100% firefighter membership.

It is the public who loses, because most would love the positive stories about bikers that the newspapers and TV stations overlook.

In order to vilify one local MC club, police cite a murder from the 1960's. I have news for you, there isn't a group or culture or club in existence that hasn't run awry of the law. There is however, a history of police harassment, prejudice and legal discrimination that needs to end.

Tim and Bonnie receive the NCON award in May.

Bonnie and I have been honored not once recently, but twice by the biker community. The first instance was receiving the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs November 2010 'Excellence in Journalism Award' in Portland in November, 2010. Then in May, we were flown to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we received the 2011 Silver Spoke Media award at the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Convention.

Then this week, we were honored again by the gathering of local clubs during a special event during which the main photo above, was taken.

For those who don't know, this team of reporters at Salem-News.com has a strong military veteran presence, and one of the subjects we have covered consistently since going online in 2004, is PTSD. The importance of dealing with this war-induced condition can not be overstated. I wish people in this country could grasp the connection. Not all bikers are veterans but most are. Some clubs are exclusively for veterans, while others have veterans comprising 80% or more of their membership.

Considering how bike clubs started after a great world conflict, all over the world for that matter, it isn't surprising that their unity today is a major tool in helping members live with and deal with this associated post traumatic disorder of war. We should be glad for this support system and in turn, offer our support toward these fellow Americans who are often the most solid individuals any of us are likely to meet.

Remember 'Support the Troops', well this is an extension of that same thinking.

It is not illegal to ride a motorcycle, it is not illegal to be part of a club, and above all it is un-American to judge a group at large for the acts of a few.

Tim and Bonnie King Receive Excellence in Journalism Award - Salem-News.com

Tim and Bonnie King Receive 2011 Silver Spoke Media Award in Albuquerque (VIDEO) - Salem-News.com

Courtesy: Quiet from the Gypsy Joker MC

_________________________________________________________

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Oregon biker October 30, 2013 12:16 am (Pacific time)

Ya right, try to start a MC in this state and see how fast these guys trample on your rights....and they whine about their rights....


Out Of Oregon & Back August 27, 2013 10:56 am (Pacific time)

Why am I seeing more Hells Angels in Vancouver and Portland these days?


Anonymous October 22, 2011 1:07 am (Pacific time)

Most clubs are against unity. Look at the creed of the Jokers. They will not admit a certain color into the groop. Hell look at all the patch holders in the picture. Is there anyone not white? Did you leave out the Mongols patch? I know they have many hispanic patched people. Just good old Amarican boys I see. Glad to see thats how the USA was formed.

Editor: We are people who are open to all people and clubs, if you want to see diversity, watch the associated video report.  The man speaking about the police treatment is an African-American Combat Vet.


just jim July 16, 2011 9:35 am (Pacific time)

biker unity, the truth will keep motorcycling free.


COLLI July 16, 2011 6:40 am (Pacific time)

It seems that some individuals can find the strangest reasons to disrespect their fellow man. Religion, skin color, country of origin, their preferred mode of transport. Getting to know an individual and discover who they are in their heart is more difficult than pre-judging based on appearence or first impressions. Imagine the potential that the people who do this might never realize. Your motorcycle related pieces bring this fact to light Tim. Thanks for the wake-up.

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©2017 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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