Newspapers from Beirut to Sydney ran think pieces last week examining the persistent problem of well-armed, racist, drug-addled, American bikers who ain’t afraid to die.
“The idea that white supremacists could be plotting to kill a black presidential candidate will not seem farfetched to America,” Jacqui Goddard warned readers of The Times of London – generally considered one of the world’s greatest newspapers. “Collectively they form a sinister underbelly of American society, often cloaking themselves in a veil of patriotism but rejecting government authority and striving for social and political dominance over other racial groups such as African-Americans and Jews through often violent means.”
But Wait There’s More
In the time honored tradition of ink-stained wretches everywhere, Ms. Goddard, found an authority who was more than willing to speak authoritatively to a reporter on the phone. His name was Rick Ross and he was principally employed as “executive director of the Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey which monitors cults and controversial movements.” Really. That’s what she said. Rick Ross of the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey.
“There have been repeated rumblings against Barack Obama in the white supremacist community,” Mr. Ross told Ms. Goddard. And, so Ms. Goddard told the world. “There are many, many groups that are deeply resentful of Obama’s candidacy, that have said hateful and horrible things about him.”
No, He Didn’t Mean The Clintons
Mr. Ross and Ms. Goddard were talking about “the racist ramblings of three meth heads, as Colorado Federal prosecutor Troy Eid characterized them. The three tweakers were arrested after a truck driven by Tharin Gartrell was stopped by police in suburban Denver. Unfortunately for Mr. Gartrell, the police found drugs, guns and ammunition in his truck. Something Mr. Gartrell must have said to police then led them to another desperado named Shawn Adolf.
Besides Mr. Adolf’s unfortunate choice of surname, he was wearing a swastika ring and he had a open warrant. Mr. Adolf so feared and detested the mere possibility of incarceration that he jumped out of a sixth story window trying to escape He broke his ankle and still tried to run. But he could not run very fast so he was caught.
Police then found and apprehended a third man, Nathan Johnson. Mr. Johnson, it seems, also loathed the idea of incarceration and during an eight hour interrogation he revealed that all three men had spoken earlier that day about shooting Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. “He don’t belong in political office,” Mr. Johnson is alleged to have opined.
A fourth suspect, a woman guilty of knowing the three men, was arrested soon after.
And so, the police of Colorado had means, motive, opportunity and a racist conspiracy.
Coincidentally, one of the three men was wearing a tee-shirt which advertised his support for the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club.
Times Of London Leaps Logically
“The other group mentioned in connection with the four people arrested,” Ms. Goddard continued, “was the Sons of Silence, one of the country’s biggest outlaw biker gangs. With its headquarters in Colorado, the Sons of Silence (SOS) are known as ‘one-percenters’ – the term given to those that operate on the fringes of an otherwise law-abiding motorcycle community. One-percenters are dedicated to principles of personal freedom and the right to self-expression. Membership is by invitation only and their motto is Donecmors non separat - Latin that is intended to translate as ‘Until death separates us.'”
Of course. What could be more sinister than a group with a Latin motto? Right. A group with a Latin motto that is “dedicated to principles of personal freedom and the right to self-expression?” Oh no! What next? Independence from England?
Another Authority Chimes In
“At first sight, an alliance of white supremacists and biker gang members seems an odd one,” Ms. Goddard rhetorically asserts.
“But Steve Cook, president of the Mid-West Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigations Association, said that the gangs were known to have a sub-culture – and a bad element – that could sit comfortably with racist extremism. I have personally seen SOS members wearing hats that say ‘Dirty White Boy’, Tee-shirts with swastikas and other Nazi regalia,” Ms. Goddard reports Mr. Cook as explaining.
Variations on this story appeared all over the world for the next week. If you speak German, French, Italian, Spanish or Serbian you can find versions of this same tale in those languages.
And of course, there was no plot and none of the plotters, if there had been a plot, had any connection to the Sons Of Silence. After a few days the Associated Press and the New York Times both moved stories that acknowledged there had never been any “credible threat” of an assassination attempt against Barack Obama.
Yet the accusation persists, spreading out like ripples in a pond, farther and farther from the great media centers into the Borat countries, reported in ever stranger languages.
Let’s Email TMZ
Finally, apparently, the Sons had enough. So, someone who felt authorized to speak for the club emailed a statement to the AOL Entertainment website TMZ.Com.
“Those guys have nothing to do with our organization whatsoever,” the Sons spokesman complained. “Nothing. None of our guys know who they are. We heard one of them was wearing a Sons of Silence support tee-shirt, but you can buy that online or at any of our swap meets. What if one of the guys was wearing a TMZ tee-shirt?”
Think about that.
Caput gerat lupinum