A small town bully named Dennis Presley called a press conference Wednesday in Marion, Illinois to give the people fair warning that only he is ready to confront the outlaw biker invasion that is about to overrun Williamson County.
Williamson is a rural county in Southern Illinois and like most counties near the Mason-Dixon line it has a violent past. It was “Bloody Williamson” for half a century. A local feud called the Bloody Vendetta, broke out in 1876. The Carterville Massacre was in 1899. There was a bad coal strike in 1906 followed by the Herrin Massacre in 1922, the Klan War from 1924 to 1926 and the Birger-Shelton Gang War about the same time. Mostly, it has been peaceful in Williamson County for the last 83 years.
But Presley, in the photo above, is the Republican candidate for County Sheriff so he is “committed to aggressively confronting the most dangerous criminal elements of the county.” The last time anybody looked only about 61,000 people lived in Williamson. But since that massacre in 1899 Carterville has managed to get its own television station. And the other day Presley was on it volunteering to be Bloody Williamson’s very own Billy Jack.
The Outlaws Are Coming
“It’s a fact,” Presley declared. “The Outlaws are here and established in Williamson County.”
Then for the benefit of people who are not yet terrified of the growing American biker menace, Presley handed out a Department of Justice press release that describes the Outlaws as “an international criminal organization whose members and associates engage in acts of violence including murder, attempted murder, assault, narcotics distribution, firearms and gambling offenses.”
“The Outlaws website displays Marion as a prospective chapter of their organization,” Presley, sort of, explained. “The gang to which I am referring is the Storm Riders,” he continued. “My concern was the official affiliation with the American Outlaws Association: AKA The Outlaws, by several of their members.” The AOA may be about to patch over the Storm Riders Motorcycle Club. Or maybe not. Presley was vague.
Presley comes across on television as a vague and fatuous man but he seems to expect prospective voters to be terrified of bikers. And, at the same time he wants everybody that he is doing his best to terrify to understand that he is brave and calm.
“We do not have to be fearful of the Outlaws or any such gang,” Presley explained. “You have to be vigilant and take enforcement activities against them. You have to let them know they are not welcomed. We need not be scared. We simply need to be aware, vigilant and united in our opposition.”
Presley, who was County Sheriff from 1994 to 1998, told the Marion Southern that “his suspicions about the Outlaws’ presence here grew this summer when he saw members of another motorcycle club wearing an Outlaws affiliate patch.”
Storm Riders Stay Out
Three members of the Storm Riders tried to attend Presley’s television news opportunity but they were locked out.
“Well, I was just afraid of a disruption during the news conference,” Presley told television station WSIL.
The station then asked Rande Sussenbach, one of the Storm Riders who was locked out in the cold, if he had a reply. “How can you have a campaign running for office if you ain’t going to allow the public to ask you questions,” Sussenbach wondered. “Seems kind of …chicken, if you ask me.”
WSIL gave Presley the last word. “If they don’t violate the law everything will be fine.” The television reporter didn’t bother to ask Presley if the candidate thinks it is a crime for people who might not agree with him to ask him questions or listen to him speak.