Waco Biker Tragedy

1%'ers

The Confederation of Clubs of Washington State serves as the official voice of motorcycle club members present at the bill signing on April 13, 2011, and would like to address the controversy surrounding a picture taken with 1%'ers and Governor Gregoire.

This controversy makes it self evident that motorcycle profiling and discrimination is a widespread problem that demanded legislative relief. It has been asserted by various media sources that motorcycle club members that wear 1%'er patches are advertising their criminal activity and affiliations by displaying their patches. This is a patently false assertion created by law enforcement and sensationalized media reports which ultimately motivated the bill addressing motorcycle profiling that the Governor signed into law.

Individuals displaying 1%'er patches are NOT advertising criminal activity or association. The term 1%'er was coined decades ago by the American Motorcycle Association when they released a press statement saying that 99% of motorcyclists were law abiding citizens in an attempt to deflect media sensationalism. Motorcycle clubs created their own communities because they felt disenfranchised from mainstream society after returning from war. Some clubs embraced the 1%'er patch as a symbol of a way of life and individualism. In essence, the 1%'er patch represents freedom of expression in a free society. Unfortunately, the practice of stereotyping is still alive and well. Some have said that 1%'ers are openly advertising criminality. This is simply not true, but the truth is certainly not as entertaining as the stereotype so it is not the story that is told. 1%'ers are freely expressing their dedication to motorcycling that very few who ride could relate to or endure. 1%ers do not ride as a hobby or weekend activity. 1%'ers are totally dedicated to a lifestyle and a brotherhood revolving around motorcycles. Wearing patches symbolizing this dedication to motorcycling is an expression of the First Amendment of the US Constitution and not criminal activity. This is an obvious truth because membership in these organizations is not illegal and most club members are perfectly functional members of society.

Are their 1%'ers that have been indicted or investigated? Certainly there have been. Importantly however, any criminal activity conducted by a motorcycle club member is individual behavior and has nothing to do with the purpose for a club╩╝s organization or existence. It is certainly unfair to say that every member of the Seattle Police Department is a criminal or member of a criminal organization because they are being investigated by the Federal government. There are bad seeds in every organization and class but that is no justification to make a blanket assertion about thousands of people based on the actions of individuals. Remember, there are many validated examples of police corruption related to motorcycle clubs and most sensationalized sweeps and indictments result in very few meaningful convictions.

The Sons of Absurdity stereotype has outlived its usefulness. The outrage expressed by law enforcement over the presence of 1%'ers at a bill signing addressing motorcycle profiling speaks for itself. The unanimous decree of the legislature and Governor agrees that law enforcement in Washington State is in dire need of retraining and education condemning motorcycle profiling. Confederation of Clubs, Washington State





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