Dear Jimlas, A Postscript

November 3, 2009

All Posts, News

Let me give this one more shot with you. Okay? And then we can agree to disagree.

First I know, it is a shame that I am the guy who has chosen to cover this weird and sometimes scary journalistic niche. You might be better served by Alex Caine or Yves LaVigne or Christopher Hitchens or Maureen Dowd or somebody, but it is your cruel fate to be stuck with me. As my old lady is fond of telling me about once a day, “Oh fucking well.”

I have had the video that clearly shows the start of the fight and John Lindeman’s death for awhile and I do not think I have let on that I had it. As a rule, I usually know more than I say. The video surfaces now because a relative of one of the victims asked me to post the video. He asked in a public way, in a comment on the site, so the jig was kind of up then. Okay?

The Technical Problems

There are two obvious, general technical problems with posting the video.

The first is the huge contrast between the fluorescent lit foreground, which is the interior of the store, and the background, exterior which is comparatively dark. (I am not even going to go into wavelengths or formats, okay?)

My solution basically, was to create overexposed stills for the background and, on occasion, lasso the players in Photoshop. Then I compared and marked up the stills while watching various permutations of the video. Some permutations were various levels of over exposure, others crowded the red end of the spectrum, others the blue and so on. Usually the video was in slow motion. Some bits were in slow motion and looped. It was involved. I am just some guy. I am not the FBI crime lab. I spent about 15 hours on this in the last couple of months. I spent about 25 or 30 hours on it last week. Unless I actually hand out the video, you physically cannot massage it as I did.

The sound quality, except for the hum of the fluorescents in the store, is excellent by the way. And, the illustration that accompanies the story is one of the stills I marked up from the video and it was cropped to fit that illustration hole on the page, The field of view of the video is much larger than the illustration I showed you

The second, obvious, general technical problem is that because I am a little web-site, the video I would be able to show you would have to be squeezed into a window that is 310 pixels wide by 250 pixels high. The images I have been watching are very much larger than that. You would not be able to download the video I showed you. You might download a still but not the whole video.

The Ethical Problems

There are also a couple of ethical problems that ride with this video, too.

The survivor who asked me to post the video did so, I happen to know, not FOR people like you but BECAUSE of people like you. The survivors have really been beaten up emotionally by the Sober Riders. This particular survivor, thought that if skeptics saw the video with their own eyes it might shut them up. I feared the opposite. I feared that without taking the pains I took with the video, some moron might just say, “There is nothing there. I can’t see anything.” And, as I understand it, that is your argument. What I am telling you must be a lie because you cannot see it. I must be blind because you cannot see. And, I think there are none so blind as they who will not see. So we disagree.

The other ethical problem, is that there is not a uniformity of opinion among the survivors about posting this video. I’ve got it and it would be great for me, personally, if I put it up. I would have the site with the snuff video. You know? I would attract freaks from seven continents. I might even get that book deal I have been pitching since June. I am sure video of Lindeman’s death would generate a ton of hits. But, also women and children who knew and loved John Lindeman would have to watch him die. And, in the end, I chose not to post the video.

And, since I posted the 5,000 word story, “Watching Lindeman Die,” two days ago, another survivor has written me and asked me in the most touching terms to please not post the video. So I will not be posting the video in the future either.

What To Do

Without posting the video, the best I thought I could do was what reporters have always done, which is to try with words to truthfully tell you what I saw and heard. And, that is what I did. I told you what I saw and heard. I told it as a first person piece, which is the most personal voice in journalism, which by its nature carries emotional as well as factual content, because it was a first person piece for me. You can believe what I told you or not. It is good to be skeptical. I applaud and encourage your skepticism.

I understand that you are often offended by the tone I take in many stories. I am guilty. I have never mastered the miracle of the immaculate perception. If you think I am bad, you should go read H.L. Mencken some time.

I happen to think that if you are going to pick up a pen, if you are not a coward or a punk, you have an implied obligation of advocacy. You choose sides and take stands. Sometimes you are right. Sometimes you are wrong. You take that calculated risk. And, you speak for men who, but for you, would not otherwise have a voice. So sue me if you think I have chosen the wrong side.

All I really know about John Lindeman is the last forty seconds of his life. In those last forty seconds I saw him run directly at mortal danger three times in order to try to defend his friends. In the last four seconds of his life I saw this guy literally run through three bullets in order to, I think, try to get his hands around the throat of the guy who had just mortally wounded one of his friends. And, the killer was running backward, too. Lindeman had chased him completely across the parking lot and the killer’s back was against a wall when Lindeman finally fell.

This Finger Is For You

I have led what cynics call an interesting life. I do not know if Lindeman is the bravest man I have ever seen but I know he is a candidate. Lindeman’s survivors should be proud. His killers should feel ashamed. And, nobody else is going to say it: Not the Arizona Republic, not the El Lay Times, not Easyriders, not Thunder Press, not Rolling Stone, not The New Yorker, not Vanity Fair, not Hog Tales, not People Magazine, nobody else, so you are stuck with hearing it from me.

Oh fucking well. If you don’t want to hear me say it don’t listen. Okay?


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16 Responses to “Dear Jimlas, A Postscript”

  1. Road King Rider Says:

    Three years since Brad and John were murdered. Still not an ounce of truth has been spoken about their deaths. All those responsible for their deaths are cowards and liers. I’m still open to receiving truthful information about what happened in AZ on 17 Feb 2009. Email me at [email protected]. I will not rest until I have the truth. So those that are responsible…come find me. Like you, I’m not hiding. I cherish the day I can look you in the eye as you take your last breath.

  2. Road King Rider Says:

    I asked questions of the ARM people that were there and all I and my family received were LIES! For those member’s of ARM…they have no honor. I pray their higher power is counting their days.

  3. James Says:

    Thanks, your words have helped heal wounds for some of the people who knew these two men, and answered questions that could not be asked of the people who were there. As a sober person, my higher power looks after me, John and Brads higher power looked after them, until they were needed for a greater cause, the cause know only to thier higher poweres.
    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change,
    Courage to change the things i can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference”
    Thanks Rebel

  4. Road King Rider Says:

    Brad and John were murdered 2 years ago today. So far nothing but empty promises from ARM to step up and make this right–bunch of cowards and posers. Phoenix PD faces a stalled murder investigation. Mean while Brad and John’s family still mourn their loss. I still wonder to this day what Brad and John died for. A Cause? A belief they were doing something good for others? All BULLSHIT! For the members of ARM and SRMC that were involved and/or directly responsible for killing Spitfire and Ripley; may you rot in HELL!

  5. Road King Rider Says:

    Thanks. In other postings I have let it be known that I am Brad’s older brother. And I am not shy when it comes to telling it like it is. Brad gave his all to ARM for over 5 years. And ARM’s bulshit is what got him and John killed. Yet those that were with him that night walk around today living their lives and keeping their mouths shut like good little soldiers. To hell with Brad and John’s families. Who cares if they get justice? ARM doesn’t. Bunch of cowards afraid to step forward and tell us the real truth.

  6. willienelso3 Says:

    Dear Road King Rider,

    I probably never would have heard of John L. or Brad L. except for this story; I probably never would have crossed paths with either of them, (but I might have because I ride, I’m clean & sober, and I’m a member of a very small c&s motorcycle club).

    Though I never met them, I will never forget these two men.

    Respects to you and yours,

  7. Road King Rider Says:

    I just found this posting yesterday. All this praise for Rebel’s words and ethics…how about words that lead us to Brad and John’s killers? Its almost two years now and this case has gone no where. There are a number of ARM members that caused this to happen. They are the direct cause for Brad and John’s death. Some organization; bunch of cowards they are. Sober Riders are no better. Pretending to be C&S when all they want is 1% status in AZ. Bunch of losers!

  8. c8652 Says:


    Good word picture and thanks for giving it in the first person perspective. For what it’s worth, it is a blog after all and you are the creator. You weave your craft with an educated hand and draw a diverse crowd. Your old lady gives sage advice. She is a good sanity check.

    I’m hoping to see a new post under The Rebel Rides. I need the distraction.

  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear 10Guage,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    your pal,

  10. 10Guage Says:

    “Without posting the video, the best I thought I could do was what reporters have always done, which is to try with words to truthfully tell you what I saw and heard. And, that is what I did. I told you what I saw and heard.” And I think you did an especially good job of it. The words you chose are exceptionally powerful. And the story is solid. I say this seriously and again appreciate both the coverage and the format of your site.

  11. Damon Says:

    I found this page googling for some honest update on the Sydney ‘Bikie War’. I’m glad I stuck around, it’s been a pleasure meeting all of you.

    Cheers for having the balls to bring us the stories behind the news, Rebel.

  12. Not Surprised Says:

    You are right Rebel. The majority of what you “cover” would be long forgotten after the mainstream media had bilked whichever story, for all its economical feasability.


  13. sled tramp Says:

    That was very well said.Anyone who has ever watched someone they cared about die,either in the street or in a bed,doesn’t want to go there again if at all possible.And you’re right, it’s probably a lot harder than I understand-being a somewhat prone to anger/low tolerance for bullshit type-to maintain the balance here that Rebel does.We,readers and commenters-have periodically been accused of being everything from awe inspired groupies to flat out suck ups regarding our responses to his words.Frankly,in a world of filtered news from major networks to what we’re taught in school, it’s refreshing to be able to visit here and exchange.And also as you mention, I’m sure Rebel gets some real fun mail.
    Today marks a loss almost 25 years ago of a brother of mine.Somebody ran him off the road in the sierras and after being found, he lingered for almost five days before he went on ahead.I was affected by the story of the ARM/Sober Riders shooting and thinking of my brother who was only riding his sled enjoying his day,so,I went for a long ride through the mountains for him.(Naturally, I arrived home to find two of my sons setting up to watch “Sighs of Anarchy” thinking I would be gone a tad longer,so that nice feeling pretty much went went out the window but still..).Anyways, it’s difficult to read that story and while I can often if not usually find something worthless to say, it just made me pissed and sad.Rebel deserves respect for speaking the truth in a day when that’s a rare thing.

  14. Bear Says:

    ditto what Troyez said. I’ve been quietly hoping you wouldn’t post the video or any of the stills. I’ve seen men die; it’s never pretty and it’s never something you want stuck in your head. If the direct relatives feel a need to know how thier men died that should be something quietly handled between them and you with respect for the significance of those last moments. As far as how you come down on things; I wouldn’t come back here day after day if you were any other way. I think you voice opinions a lot of us hold toward law enforcement, but this isn’t a cop bashing site. Without much effort you could post a story a day about LEOs who’ve put themselves above the laws they’re supposed to uphold and have found themselves in front of a judge, but you don’t do that. If you think individuals or groups in the law enforcement arena are stepping on the rights of citizens you say so; you give details and you provide a setting for open discussion. If Jimlas or others like (him?) would take the time to read through your posts and comments they’d see that you not a singing minstral for the 1% crowd either. Personally I think you’re a brave man. You’ve called people on both sides of the law by their “true names” and not held back. In this age I’m sure that if someone from either of those camps wanted to know your identity it wouldn’t prove to be a difficult task. None of us knows what kinds of emails you get outside of the ones we may send. I wouldn’t be suprised if some of them weren’t very friendly. Keep sayin’ it the way you see it and I’ll keep respecting you and your writting.

  15. troyez Says:

    Kudos for not posting the video. I had hoped you wouldn’t. I don’t want to see a man die, albeit a brave man, I think it takes away a part of our humanity seeing such things. Thanks for sticking to your guns, brother man.

  16. sled tramp Says:

    “Oh fucking well. If you don’t want to hear me say it don’t listen. Okay?”

    Hell, Rebel…ya coulda just said THAT.You are WAY more polite than I am capable of.

    Out of curiousity, does Jimlas stand for Jim L.A. Sheriff’s?

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