Bloody Justice

June 4, 2012

All Posts, Features, Reviews

Bloody Justice, by Anita Arvast is the third published book about the so called “Bandidos Massacre,” also known as “The Shedden Massacre,” in Ontario in April 2006. It was the largest mass murder in Canada since the 18th Century. Six men who yearned to be Bandidos murdered eight men who also yearned to be Bandidos in hopes of someday becoming real members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club – and also because there was a bad moon that night. You can read The Aging Rebel’s coverage of the verdict here.

The architect of this crime was an edgy eccentric named Wayne Kellestine. Either Will Ferrell or Nick Nolte can play Kellestine in the inevitable movie. Kellestine seems to have thought the murders would help him become Presidente of all Canadian Bandidos. This was after the real Bandidos mother chapter in Texas had already told the club’s Canadian admirers to stop calling themselves Bandidos. A truthful movie would probably have both Ferrell and Nolte play the fool who would be king and feature at least a couple of scenes of Kellestine arguing with himself.

Arvast’s book was preceded by two instant books published days after the verdict. The Fat Mexican: The Bloody Rise of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, was written by the reptilian, professional informant Alex Caine. (Read a review of Caine’s book here.) The Bandidos Massacre: A True Story of Bikers, Brotherhood and Betrayal by Toronto Star reporter Peter Edwards appeared the same day. (Read a review of Edward’s book here.) Of these three books, Arvast’s is by far the best. It was published last month by Wiley.


Arvast is a Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at Georgian College in Ontario. She got sick of writing for an academic audience in 2008. Her previous published work includes titles like “A Post-Modern Exploration of Community College Formal Curriculum Reviews.” At the same time she, like most of Canada, was fascinated by the massacre. So Arvast began to examine that criminal case the same way a good scholar might examine anything – with skepticism and curiosity. She attended the trial, read the public documents and began visiting with the youngest of the accused, a man named Brett Gardiner, for whom she developed a genuine affection and sympathy. The result of all that, four years later, is this interesting book. The wonder is that her book was published at all. Now that it is in print her publisher seems to have written it off. You should not.

Ernest Hemingway remarked that the one thing any writer needs is the ability to smell bullshit. Arvast, who obviously has great gaps in her knowledge of the outlaw world, at least knows what police bullshit smells like.

I picked up the book skeptically. Arvast won me over in an early passage that reads:

“Nazi paraphernalia does not connote Nazi sympathies; the flags, symbols and songs serve to express a rejection of society and particularly its policing. Legal officials are systematically seen (by bikers) as soldiers of anti-civilian regimes, whereas bikers are freedom fighters. In fact, it (the motorcycle outlaw frontier) is in some ways a highly complex culture of civil libertarians that is ironically paramilitary, though it is rarely depicted as such by the media or understood as such by the general public.”

Granted, lightening bolts on cuts disappeared forever sometime in the mid-90s, but Arvast’s interpretation of those post World War II symbols seemed to me to be particularly astute for a woman who has probably never heard the phrase “the sheeple.” So I read on.

Some Quotes

Arvast’s observations are so much more true than those of the usual, federally approved biker authorities – like Edwards, Caine, Kerrie Droban, Julien Sher, William Marsden, Billy Slow Brain Queen or Jay Bird Dobyns – that you should read a few of them now.

On press coverage of bikers Arvast writes “…beneath the headlines, beyond the sound bites, and between the reports, there are always stories that don’t get told.”

About the key snitch in the case she writes: “The jury members would not know about the many incongruities in (confidential informant) MH’s statements from his first accounts through preliminary trial to the final trial. Instead the jury members were overwhelmed with information throughout the trial. They would miss the nuances. They would not be given the opportunity to think through MH’s participation…. MH should have been with his brothers in that courtroom instead of facing them from the stand. He should have been facing eight counts of first degree murder instead of spinning tales. He should have been going to jail instead of getting a new identity and a paycheque every month. Love ya, bro. Get under the bus.”

She raises a question about Kellestine that nobody else has thought to ask. “Why hadn’t Kellestine taken the stand? As a biker in his mid-60s and with the certainty of death in the penitentiary either by the hands of time or other inmates, he could have admitted his culpability and saved a few brothers.”

It has become a convention for hacks who write about bikers to present themselves as heroes who faced great danger to tell their tales. Arvast is more honest than that. She writes, “Many friends have asked if I fear for my life at the hands of bikers. I do not. I have instead feared a system wherein those who come before it are assumed guilty and need to be proven innocent.”

Caine And Edwards

The Bandidos Massacre, which in fact involved not a single Bandido in good standing, fascinated the Canadian public because of its luridness. Citizens were particularly dumb founded by the lack of a plausible motive other than madness. So the other authors who have written about the case found a motive. In their books about this massacre, both Edwards and Caine, have stated that one of the would-be Bandidos had stumbled onto a cache of cocaine belonging to “the Hells Angels.” So, the killings either resulted from an attempt to make peace with the great, generalized “Hells Angels” or were actually committed by unnamed Angels.

Arvast reveals that this cocaine theft is an invention of Alex Caine. Caine was, among other things, an associate of Jay Dobyns in Bullhead City during Operation Black Biscuit. At the time Caine was calling himself “Q-Bob.” Caine was hired as an investigator by one of the defense lawyers in the Shedden case. Caine took his pay and made up another of his fantastic tales. And so in his 474 page book Edwards just assumes Caine must have been telling the truth. Arvast is the only chronicler of this case to question this drug theft motive.

She is sometimes wrong, particularly in her characterizations of the Hells Angels, but Arvast is right most of the time. Her book is an example of what happens when somebody bright takes a fresh look at outlaw bikers and what the criminal justice system does to them. You should oppose police propaganda and support the telling of truth by buying Arvast’s book. You can get a copy here.


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30 Responses to “Bloody Justice”

  1. Red&Gold Says:

    Well….I’ve never read anything printed about us that was true, so I am a bit skeptical to say the least…I’ll read it on your recommendation Rebel…and hold, in reserve, my judgment until I have…

  2. Rebel Says:

    Dear Red&Gold,

    I hope it meets with your approval. Her heart is in the right place, I think.


  3. Red&Gold Says:

    I did go and read the excerpts from the book…and I noticed on one of the pictures shown that the caption said the fake patches they had were not “Bandido Property” because they were made locally…that is 1 point for the truth! I have high hopes!

  4. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Good on the author for explaining the fuck-off meaning of fascist symbols in this context. Punk and New Wave musicians wore them for the same reason in the 70s and 80s.

    YYZ Skinhead

  5. swampy Says:

    I’ve yet to read any book, on clubs, by these so called “experts.” I refuse to waste any of my time, money and thoughts on books written by federal agents and snitches. I’ve never read Queen, Doybyns, etc. etc. etc. Now, with that said, where in the hell does a jounalist get their “first hand” primary sources? If they’re getting their primary source through a snitch, fed or court records; then we all know it’s a bunch of BS. Rebel, I know you have your sources through trust and respect for the great work that you do – or at least I assume that you do. Heck, I’ve never even read Hunter Thompson.

    With the highest regards and respect,

  6. Lawyer'd Up Says:

    On your advice I will purchase the book. I did not care for prodigal Father Pagan Son though I read it to the end. I wouldn’t pay a penny for Terry Theft Tramp’s book.

    I like the excerpts you posted here so I look forward to reading this one.


  7. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    I found that whole case fascinating, so I will buy the book based on the recommendation. Unlike Swampy, I did read Queen’s and Dobyn’s books (borrowed, not bought), but I wasn’t impressed. Even though I wasn’t impressed by it, Queen’s was tolerable for what it was, but Dobyn’s book was just plain bad.

  8. Glenn S. Says:

    I’ll read it. I did read Queen’s and Dobbyns’s books (bought in a used book store) and was amazed that anybody would possibly admire someone who could accept the love of his fellow man and then have them locked up. At any point in time, either Queen or Dobbyns could have said: “this ain’t right”, quit their job, and moved on. I’m a little more disappointed in Queen than in Dobbyns. Dobbyns seems like a garden variety asshole by nature, but Queen actually felt something. The fact that he didn’t act on it and just walk away makes him the worse specimin of humanity, IMHO.

  9. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    Glenn S:

    It just means that Queen has a soul under there somewhere, and that his actions should haunt him. After reading about Dobyns and seeing him on TV, he strikes me as a narcissist without a conscience, who uses people to achieve his self-serving goals without thought or care for the harm he causes. I think psychologists have a name for those people…


  10. Chip Says:

    I purchased and read/studied the book. I hold all such books to the gold standard “Riding On TheEdge by Hall”. While this ain’t that, it was at least well written and it does at least appear as if a person not of the subculture made an attempt at a modicum of objectivity. As for Queen and Bobyns, as my Grand Father often advised “Never try to teach a pig to sing, you’re wasting your time and it annoys the pig”.

    Keep up the good work. This website is always a good read.

  11. Glenn S. Says:

    Here’s the thing though, Goldsboro. If Queen knew what he did was wrong and did it anyway, is he not worse than the stupid asshole cop that doesn’t know, doesn’t care, just as a rat is worse than a badge carrying po-lice?

    Ah, hell, I’m debating semantics. They’re all assholes. Its just that Queen’s book might have had a different ending.

  12. Goldsboro Williams Says:


    You’re probably right. The whole thought is a little over my head philosophically.

    I have known too many sociopaths (of the badge carrying and non-badge carrying varieties) and they scare the heck out of me simply because no one can truly trust them. They are only concerned with themselves.

    Then again, I have known the other variety, and they tend to either work overtime to justify their deeds, or they drink themselves to death.

    I lost all respect for Queen when he admitted that the people he was about to cause to be arrested were so concerned for him when his mother died. At that point he could have, and should have, walked away. That incident alone should have taught him the value of friendship. Instead he opted for the temporary accolades from people that wouldn’t piss on him if he were on fire once they had no more use for him.

    Maybe you are right with your summation – an Asshole is just an asshole, regardless of motivations.


  13. Snow Says:

    Rebel, I’ll check it out on your recommendation, thanks for the heads up. It’ll be good to read an unbiased version, those make me famous cause I think I should be authors get old quick. I agree the Hall book rocked and have it in my collection and with much shame I have to admit to buying the H.A. book by Yves Lavigne, head down with much embarrassment, the rest I try to read for free if possible. I have several friends who fly the Red and Gold, though with a Louisiana bottom rocker not Canada and want to wish them and all their brothers the best, Ride Free, Stay Free. LLR…SYLB

  14. Glenn S. Says:

    Goldsboro, I’ve met a few sociopaths myself, and the adrinaline junkie undercover law enforcement variety does tend to do more damage than most. But Dobbyns’s motivations at least make a warped kind of sense. He just wanted to play a game, feed his ego, feel powerful. Its the Queens of the world that I don’t get: Kinda sorta once good hearted people who subordonate their sense of right and wrong to “the law”. Maybe Queen doesn’t sleep well at night, maybe he has to drink himself through his days, or maybe he’s convinced himself that he did a just and noble thing. Or maybe he put the barrel of the shotgun in his mouth and used his toe to pull the trigger. I’m not curious enough to find out. I hope Red Dog is doing well, he had it figured out.

    I’ll read Rebel’s recommended book, because Rebel reccomended it and because I read a lot. Right now I’m reading “Out in Bad Standings”, and I don’t already know the ending and don’t know if I like Winterhalder or not yet. I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a rat in the end, but I have a sneaking feeling he just might, because that’s how those books generally end. If he starts laying the foundation to justify turning rat, I’ll go back to reading Game of Thrones. Recently finished a book written by a former 1%er who found Jesus in the end (unlike some books with a similar ending, he wasn’t preachy and didn’t try to work Jesus into the whole story, and didn’t turn rat). I don’t care for religion, wouldn’t have read it had I known the ending, but I liked that book.

  15. Austin Says:

    hey Rebel – your review was a good read – I thought this book would be good – thanks for the heads up. This sounds like a good one to buy, and perhaps read two times. On my project list, down about 5th place is – to build and open my own library. I was going to plant it firmly in suburbia, but now that I am living that fluid lifestyle, I think it will fit nicely right in front of the propane tanks. ;) Way back when, in the fat times, I bought all those other authors’ books, this will be a good way to downsize and meet new friends.

  16. TigGirl Says:

    Cool link. I will be looking into that.

  17. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    That was the absolute worst part of Queen’s story for me as well–I had seen the NatGeo show before reading Under and Alone–he ratted out these men who loved him and cared about the loss of a family member. He wiped his ethics on to the floor with the meth he did not snort.

    YYZ Skinhead

  18. Grumbler Says:

    Austin – We also have the AMERICAN BUDDHA ONLINE LIBRARY SITE at … includes a surprise title in the NonFiction category.

  19. austin Says:

    Grumbler – this library website is to library as acid trip is to tea party. I couldn’t get enough of it on my phone so I had to come to the REAL library. Yeah – I’ll be here for a while getting mind expansion.
    The best part so far – was – at the new job I had just had this little religious themed discussion with a peer. I wasn’t nearly as cogent or articulate as the “Primo Anno Femini” on the home page – but most all the major points were included. Nice to know that I have a tribe somewhere among the other crust dwellers! Thanks so much for this link!

  20. Pig Says:

    Don’t mean to piss on your campfire here (I know how popular I am on this site) butI just picked up a book in the “Sports” section of all places called “The Original Wild Ones, Tales of The Boozefighters Motorcycle Club”. It didn’t mention crime or investigations so I thought it might be a good read about the Club without LE putting their two cents in. I haven’t had the chance to start it yet because I’m finishing another book but was wondering if anyone had read this or knew anything about it.

  21. Rebel Says:

    Dear Pig,

    I think it is a fine recollection and I would recommend it to anybody. It is not a new book.

    If you are off duty and you ain’t snitching or instigating I have no problem with you. If you are an asshole it will show eventually.

    Welcome to the Allthing,

  22. Glenn S. Says:

    The Allthing, Rebel? Did you read Hyperion by Dan Simmons? Best writer of brain candy around, these days, IMHO.

  23. Shyster Says:


    I read it twice! Lots of good stories in that one. I got me a signed copy.


  24. IrishDragon Says:


    Based on your recomendation i’ll give this book a try.


  25. Rashomon Says:

    I just finished reading the book and it seems like a fairly unbiased telling of a regrettable story.

    Nobody really knows what happened other than those who were there and I’m sure they all have different versions of the truth but as far as things go, the author seems well-intentioned if nothing else. That’s probably as good as it gets these days.

  26. RK Says:

    I’ve read the Wild Ones… more than once. It’s a good book filled full of good times and crazy stories centered around stories told by original members of the Boozefighters and written history of the club kept since 1946.. Bill has a unique writing style, hopefully you enjoy it.

  27. Pig Says:

    Thanks for the recommendations gents! I just finished “The Fat Mexican” and want to read “Bloody Justice” next then on to “The Original Wild Ones”. Looking forward to it.

    I’m jealous as hell about you signed copy Shyster! I’ve never really given two shits about having another man write his name on a piece of paper for me but it would be damned cool to actually stand in the presence of one of the Founding Fathers so to speak.

    Thanks for the fair shake Rebel. I know it’s not a popular stand and it says a great deal about a man who is willing to take it anyway.

  28. crazyjake Says:

    , Rusty approached the Angels to do a show and they told him no so he found a bunch of lames to make his money and promote the 81′s businesses. As for an independent club (what a joke)they are trying to take the money and run. Most if not all their members are business owners making good money yet when an opportunity presents itself to make more they jump on it. While Rusty and Fuzzy from the 81 get their payday. All of the so called things they do are staged. I don’t know about you but when I crack a dude in public I go to jail. Just another farce, It saddens me to see ” A well respected member of the mc world” support or contribute to something that dilutes the very fiber they claim to be about. And the repo of a bike from vegas, sure didn’t look legal so I guess that was staged too. The only way to combat these situations is not to support it in any way, shape or form. But hey there is no such thing as bad press, which sparks interest, get viewers and put money in their bank accounts.

    a post i read

  29. myaikenbak Says:

    Anita Arvast states in “Bloody Justice “….”many friends have asked if I fear for my life at the hands of bikers. I do not. I have instead feared a system wherein those who come before it are assumed guilty and need to be proven innocent.”

  30. PJL Says:

    I find it amazing that arvast paints everyone in the book as evil, but seems to believe every word brett gardiner says. A midle aged crush on this guy?

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