This story was pubished at 1 p.m. on August 20, 2014 and the accompanying photo was changed two hours later. The original photo accompanying this story was not Michael Brown but a bogus photo of a murder suspect named Jodah Cain posted on social media by Kansas City police officer Marc Catron who identified the subject as Brown. The Aging Rebel regrets the error.
Members of two, black, three piece patch motorcycle clubs, the Outcast and the Dominant Breed MCs, have joined the many ringed circus in Ferguson, Missouri. The two black clubs join civil rights advocates Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Attorney General Eric Holder, Amnesty International, the Black Panther Party, members of numerous black fraternities and sororities, parishioners of many St. Louis area churches, alleged outside agitators including the Ku Klux Klan and an army of journalists.
All of these as well as the President of the United States and many talking heads appear to be on the verge of actually recreating whole passages of Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities – a tale of greed, spin, racism and class in a world gone mad. Wolfe conceived his long book as a satire. Of course, satire is now an obsolete concept. For example, a local QuikTrip gas station and market that was looted and burned to the ground has now been rechristened “QT People’s Park” and it is hard to make up that kind of thing even if you are Tom Wolfe.
Ferguson has been boiling with riots, unrest and immoderate rhetoric since a local cop named Darren Wilson shot and killed a local 18-year-old named Michael Brown, who is pictured above. While Brown may not have been the likeliest of martyrs his death did provide a good excuse to riot. The actual causes of the riots and the rage that underlies them are much larger and more important than Brown and are unlikely to be meaningfully addressed anytime soon. Yet ironically, all this meaningless sound and fury is what makes Ferguson a wonderful news story with a gazillion angles. Look for it the next time you turn on your television.
Cue The Bikers
In its coverage of the Ferguson mess, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported: “Among those on the rainy streets of Ferguson late this morning was a motorcycle group of mostly African-American riders, many of them in law enforcement or with the military. Members of the Outcast and Dominant Breed motorcycle clubs said they were there to show support to the people of Ferguson and deter looters. One club member said there was no official plan to protect Ferguson. ‘But normally when they see our presence (troublemakers) don’t come around much,’ the rider said.”
The black biker angle on Ferguson has been particularly popular in Britain where it has been picked up by both the Guardian and the Daily Mail.
Previously, a black son of Ferguson named Ron Johnson who is a Captain in the Missouri State Highway Patrol addressed the discontented at QT People’s Park and tried to bring peace to the town. He was unsuccessful so the Governor of Missouri, a man named Jay Nixon, deployed the National Guard. That led to the New York Times running a story under the headline “National Guard Troops in Ferguson Fail to Quell Disorder.”
Mad Dog And Stink Eye
Possibly the Outcast and Dominant Breed will mad dog and stink eye the locals into calm. It wouldn’t be the first time this year that black bikers have tried to exert some moral authority over a predominantly black neighborhood.
Last May the Thunderguards Motorcycle Club in Wilmington, Delaware tried to convince local and state authorities that they were men who live by a code and that they could be part of the solution to many of the problems that plague black America. A local minister named Derrick Johnson told Wilmington officials, “The Nation of Islam has been received and respected all over the country because of their ability to go into the war zone and be effective. Well in Wilmington the Thunderguards are the ones who have that kind of credibility and ability and they do have a history of helping the community.”
The politicians insisted the Thunderguards were the problem and forced that club to shut its clubhouse doors.
So, it seems unlikely that the Outcast and Dominant Breed will bring calm to Ferguson. But they do lend an additional, colorful, zany element to a news story that only a couple of decades ago couldn’t have been true, that would have had to be fiction.