Media Hype or a Growing Concern?

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Sunday's edition of the New York Post published a story, now being reported by Yahoo's new service, about the growing concern over "motorcycle gangs" running about the country.

Take a look at the following story and let us know what you think. Is this a real problem, or just media hype playing off some big screen stereotype?

From the New York Post:
The deadly brawl between members of the Hells Angels and Pagan biker gangs during a motorcycle expo on Long Island last weekend was the first salvo in the new war between the bitter rivals, but future violence will be calculated and waged amid the general public, experts said yesterday.

"You may hear about assassinations on expressways, vans pulling alongside guys on bikes and opening fire this summer," said Yves Lavigne, author of several books about biker gangs.

"You won't have big rumbles - this is something that will be done professionally."

The latest violence broke out when 100 Pagans crashed the Hells Angels' annual Hellraiser's Ball at the Vanderbilt catering hall in Plainview on Feb. 23. A wild melee ensued in which Raymond Dwyer, 38, a tattoo artist from Oceanside, opened fire at a crowd of arch-rival Pagan bikers, fatally striking Robert Rutherford, 50, of Lancaster, Pa., cops said.

Seventy-three people, all Pagans, were arrested in connection with the bloody brawl - and hundreds of weapons, including shotguns, an Uzi, knives, bats and switchblades, were seized by authorities.

Many of those Pagans had written out wills, and at least three of them were wearing bulletproof vests, prosecutors said.

George Knox, director of the Illinois-based National Gang Crime Research Center, said the deadly attack at a public gala, where women and kids were present, indicates the "rules may have changed" for the new battle between the rival bikers.

"When you have this type of invasion, there's going to be obvious consequences," said Knox.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Conway said a spate of incidents in recent weeks had escalated tensions between the two groups.With Post Wire Services

Get in your Inbox
Brent Avis
Brent Avis

More by Brent Avis

Join the conversation