The truth may set you free but it is not free. Not here, at least. At least not at this end of here.
The Aging Rebel is not a well known site but at least some of what you have been able to read here for free over the last eight years has been influential. This page has covered in depth two RICO prosecutions filed against 79 members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club and against the club as a whole; the railroading and imprisonment of a Hells Angel named Dave Burgess; a public relations panic attack I called The Hemet Hoax aimed at the Vagos; the rise of the instant motorcycle club; the Philly Warlocks versus Florida Warlocks; a RICO case in South Carolina aimed at destroying a colorful guy named Diamond Dan Bifield; the murder of a Black Piston named Zach Tipton by an Iron Order prospect; the prolonged case against the Highwaymen; and the deadly brawl at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco in 2015.
That is hardly a complete list. At last glance the site included 1,668 posts and 79,627 comments. And, it is all available for free. Over the years, The Aging Rebel has reported on numerous, colorful skunks including but hardly limited to Jay Dobyns, Doc Cavazos, Julian Sher, Darrin Kozlowski, John Carr, George Rowe and Charles Falco – who now resides in Oregon, by the way, in case anybody wants to send him a Christmas card. Much of the work associated with this site never makes it onto a page. That includes selling stories I think should be covered to reporters with many more readers or viewers than I have and collaborating with defense lawyers.
Over the years many people have tried to shut me up or discredit this website. For awhile, a well known ATF agent was trying to spread the rumor that I was a child molester. From time to time, I still get death threats. This site was fairly spectacularly hacked in April 2015 and shut down for three weeks. My words are banned in most American prisons. The Waco Tribune-Herald has referred to me as a “notorious blogger” who plays “fast and loose with the truth.”
This site survives month to month. The key words are “survive” and “month to month.” Doing thoughtful, usually accurate journalism about the motorcycle outlaw frontier does not pay well and choosing to do this limits other opportunities to make money. I cannot, for example, testify as an expert witness without revealing my sources so I have declined to do that. Most readers know that the mainstream publishing establishment will not touch anything I write because, as one gatekeeper put it. I am “hopelessly naïve about outlaw motorcycle gangs.” The main income for this site comes from three, fairly unobtrusive, ads in the sidebar and from voluntary donations.
In November, nine blessed souls donated about $165. I by no means wish to imply that their generous donations were not important. But, they were what they were. They were $165.
Unfortunately, I spent a significant portion of last year writing a book called The Twin Peaks Ambush. It has not sold well. The possibility didn’t occur to me at the time, but most potential readers seem to think the book is about the 1990-1991 television show starring Kyle MacLachlan. Other potential readers seem to believe that Ed Lavendara of CNN nailed it in his televised report Biker Brawl so there is nothing more to know about the incident. It was a real life episode of Sons of Anarchy. What else could there possibly be to know?
An astounding number of people seem to think that producing this blog is a part time job, or that I just pull the content out of my rear end or that I am independently wealthy. One reader who did not like the Waco book suggested that I make amends with a “generous contribution” to his favorite charity. Just yesterday a jolly old elf offered to let me interview him if I paid him $5,000.
Some people, I believe, very much like this site. They may even number more than nine. So, I would like to take this opportunity to warn whoever may read these words that at least some of you are going to miss this page when it is gone. Again, the key words are “survive,” not prosper, not get rich from, not get famous from, and “month to month.” And “gone.”
Do what you feel.