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The Hell's Angels issue


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OK, if you can see this forum on your computer, it's because you're one of the people involved with Gunnison planning. Everyone else can't see it and doesn't even know this forum exists, so it's up to you to respond and get involved, otherwise no one else will.


I've got the point on Gunnison, now, and without looking like I'm overreacting, this is an important and possibly critical issue.


The Hell's Angels having their National Meeting in Gunnison the weekend after our Monday/Tuesday rally. Yes, there's been a lot of hype. Yes, law enforcement is probably well prepared and "expecting" trouble. Yes, our event will probably overlap with some early HA arrivals. Here's where I stand on this and I'd like everyone's concise input as I really don't want to argue social or behavioral theory.


Our dates are set. Too many people have requested vacation time to do anything about the dates at this time.


Location: We can look into moving it. It means a scramble for the participants to re-book rooms and/or camping and I don't want to argue location with everyone unless you have a darn good reason. I say Durango (I've got a call in to Durango CoC, but I'm not going to wait for their callback to bring this whole issue to light). It's about the same distance for everyone as Gunnison (plus or minus 2 hours). The riding is outstanding. It keeps us two hours away from whatever the HA are doing (I doubt they would venture that far away on those peanut tanks, but even if they do, it would be chance, small-group encounters). Also, law enforcement would probably be a bit lighter down south what with their focus and preparation on Gunnison.


OR: We could stay put.


Issues: I don't think we're going to have a problem with the HA. My concerns are with law enforcement. From what I've read, everything short of the National Guard is being mobilized, and the NG is probably on alert status. LEO's come from the general population. Thus, some are informed and some are ignorant. Are we BMW riders whose event happens to brush up against the HA event? Or are we just more two-wheeled hellians they need to make an example of? Remember, they're going to be "looking" for troublemakers and we tend to ride well past most posted speed limits. I just don't want one of our rides stopped while some mountie calls for air and ground backup for the group of "lawbreakers" he just stopped. The alternative is to ride the Rockies at the posted limits. Good citizenship, no doubt, but not realistic.


If we stay put, I propose a strong, proactive presentation to the media and to Law Enforcement about who we are and why we're there (this will require work on everyone's part as I'm going to delegate like hell). And I want to make sure that LE understands that the media knows and will be watching their actions (as well as ours, I'm sure). I want to get fax #'s and e-mail addresses and have us all do a unified mailing/faxing by all members attending Gunnison (including our names and occupations) to these people so that they understand more about us and the differences between us and any other motorcycling group. It must be a pre-written statement, with no mention of the HA by name (no point in pissing them off). I also want to delete the posts about the HA on our BBS, and invite the members of the media and law enforcement to come take a look at our website. Additionally, I would like to ask our Colorado members to see if they can arrange a moment of face-to-face with the Gunnison CoC, the PD, the State Police, Highway Patrol, etc. etc. Just a simple handshake and a thank you for your vision and understanding about our group of peaceful motorcyclists.


OK, opinions please. Stay and do all the right things and hope we have no problems? Or move it to Durango, create a re-booking hassle for our members (but not one that would preclude anyone from attending, although hotel rates might be about $20/night higher and yes, there's fly fishing on the Animas River).


Thank you all for your input.


P.S. David, I don't recall if Mike Boomgarden or David EB Smith is on the list of those who were involved with Gunnison Planning (I don't have it in front of me), but if they aren't, would you please make sure they can see this forum. As gov't attorneys, I would welcome their opinions as well as their contacts. --FB

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My thoughts are this. Durango is a beautiful place. I've spent a little time there, though I wasn't on a bike at the time. It'll be quite a bit more expensive (rooms, food, etc.). It's Yuppieville now. Camping might be tougher. But I agree...that would be the place to do it. Or, we could think about Montrose, where the Concours rally is being held right before us. Doesn't matter to me.


I vote to leave it as is, though, and be proactive as you suggest, FB. I've already had an email conversation going with the reporter and she's very friendly to our cause. She wrote as follows this morning:


In reply to:

David, thanks for writing. I had heard from several people that a BMW rally

was planned for Gunnison at same time as Hells Angels gathering, but could

not confirm that with chamber or sheriff or any official there.

Will you be there during Cattlmen's Days? It would make a nice contrast

story. Let's communicate before the event, and I'll see if I can do



I would gladly work the media angle (I do management consulting for PR firms and ad agencies). I could also contact local elected officials, having been one myself in another life.


And we've got Mike, David EB, Pilgrim, and lots of others, who can work the legal and enforcement side. Actually, one of the profiles (Tom? John?) said LEO in Colorado? I was flying forward creating the group and it didn't register well.


So I vote stay.

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Fernando -


Another important, timely and topical post, but UGH!!!


Before considering a location change, or a BMWRT.com media campaign, we should answer the question of just how heightened the LEO presence is expected to be during the days that we will be there. Perhaps Agent86 and Mike stand a pretty decent chance at getting an answer to that question, though LEO contingency plans should and likely will be closely guarded state secrets.


Things that I know, or think I know:

  • With the recent fracas in NV, you can reasonably expect the heat to be turned up quite a bit in Gunnison. We may be just a bunch of harmless BMW riders sporting helmets and reflective tape, but all motorcycles look the same at the limits of radar ranges.
    The news of the HA rally has been known to us for a while, and everyone I spoke to about Gunnison has not changed their plans to attend in spite of it.
    If we stay, a media campaign as you described will require a lot of work, and I question how effective it would be in addressing your concerns with local LEO's.
    If we move, the onus of the work will fall on everyone who planned to attend by rebookings. I can hear the collective sigh right now.


My own perspective is that many are interested in going to Gunnison because it was to be an un-rally. The allure is to meet fellow riders, to relax with no agenda, and to enjoy coming, staying, and going with no one to bother you. If the presence of an LEO force on DEFCON 5 is expected to substantially change that, then I'd certainly believe some may reconsider going. Changing the location at this stage of the game will also cause some to reconsider.


Let's do what we can to get a read on the security plans. With that knowledge the members will see that we are acting responsibly and not reactionary no matter what the decision is.


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Yeah, I know Im young and stupid sometimes, but here is my take....


1) Gunnison. Thats what we planned for. Thats where we all have been excited to go. And thats where Patti and I are gonna be. When 9/11 happened the whole motto was that we dont bow to terrorism, etc. Well, in the same vein im not gonna bow to hooligans and trouble makers on two wheels. Maybe I sound punkish and stupid for it, but I think that alot of people on the board would agree with me. Especially since we are a week early.


2) I also dont think that we should get too caught up in the worrying about this. Im not saying that we shouldnt have it on the radar but I dont think we should let it consume us to the point where we talk about moving the get together.


3) I think were right on though about being proactive to protect us from LEO's that will be keyed up by the HA gathering. I would think that the easiest and best way would be for someone whos saavy and local to visit the Chief of Gunnison PD and tell him who we are, when we are gonna be there, and then ask him what we can do to help them (what we should or should not do to keep them from feeling that we need to be policed.) It might even be a good idea to give them a picture or two of the RT an the RS. It seems best to explain who we are before we get there instead of who we arent when on the side of the road.


Flame away if you choose ..


-- Spike


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In reply to:

Yeah, I know Im young and stupid sometimes, but here is my take....


Spike, why so defensive. Your opinion is as valid as anyone's and your suggestion in comment #3 that we ask the Gunnison PD what WE can do to help THEM is absolutely brilliant.


OK, so far I'm hearing that we want to stay. However, I want to hear from more people (David, did you e-mail to all who have access that this forum exists and needs their participation? --- probably so, given your typical thoroughness, but I just had to ask).


The PR effort will take some work, but I've already got Agent 86 and a couple of other LEO's willing to call the Gunnison chief and let him know who and what we are, so that's already covered from a cop-to-cop perspective. David, your expertise in PR and media management will certainly come in handy. But let's wait just a bit and get more input. (BTW, Montrose is a great idea. I'm also a Concours Onwer's Group member --- because of MotoEquip --- and they're a bit concerned about the proximity of their event to the HA event, even though it's a week before ours. Their concerns are likewise with Law Enforcement and not with the HA).

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Fernando, I did not send an email to anyone except EB and Mike. I think you might get to it before me, so go ahead.

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In reply to:

Spike, why so defensive.


Well, the idea of us law abiding citizens (for the most part anyway) having to relocate or adjust because of other's criminal and or otherwise irresponsible behaviour makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and gets me hot. Especially lately with the post 9/11 legislature and those who feel the need to be coddled trying to give away our civil liberties. Having learned from my past in that many times when my neck hair is at attention with my mouth engaged, usually I either say something stupid or tick someone off. Hence the defensive posturing ... Sorry smile.gif


-- Spike

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I believe that we should stay. The only downside may be the extra LEO's. I think our group can handle that. Any of us are likely to get a ticket anytime we ride. Watch your V1, use common sense and move on. Heck, most of our day rides take us hundreds of miles away from our base camp. Also we will be there before hand and I think with all of the bad PR the HA's will keep a low profile. The NV thing was a confrontation between two rival groups. The HA's won't care about us and I seriously doubt they will bother us at all. Most of the Bikers that I have met are pretty nice people when it comes down to it. Maybe a little rough around the edges, but OK. You can have A-holes anywhere (just look at me wink.gif ).


I also believe the PR with the local LEO's and Media would be a good idea. People will be freaked out by the HA's, but if we can get a little article in the local rag about our gathering, maybe even a picture from the pied piper run (bikes in front of Krispy Kreme or bikes in front of the Golden Gate bridge), it will help educate people and let them know we are different. The fact that we all wear good riding gear and helmets will also make us more obvious to the public. Let them know we are motorcycle enthusiasts NOT "Bikers". Doesn't look so bad as long as we keep Wurty and Gleno in the back... laugh.gif


It may also mean that we have longer lines of slow bikes to pass...



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I vote stay put. I don't have the words to explain, but I feel that we should demonstrate the "better" side of M/C folks to the good people of Gunnison. I agree that our biggest risk is probably going to be the saturation of the area by LEOs. I suspect that LEOs will be an issue in ALL of Southwestern CO during that time period. Some prior planning with locals sure can't hurt, and it sounds like we may have a couple of plugs into the LEO old boy network? Media may be willing to help out so that they have an offset to the HA story? I plan to make a "scouting trip" on the weekend of June 22. I want to look over the KOA facilities and meet with the bakery folks at City Market. Not definite that we are going yet, but the date is on our calendar.


Tom Morgan:

Should I call the KOA to set up an appointment, do you need to call first, or will it be ok to just show up to look around?


If there is anything else I can take care of that weekend, let me know.



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My thoughts:


I think we need to make both formal contact and informal contact.


First, I would get a letter (perhaps via fax) as soon as possible from Fernando and David as representatives of the BBS community to the city manager and police chief of Gunnison, the state's attorney for the county Gunnison is in, the governor of Colorado, attorney general and the head of whatever the state police of CO is called, the US attorney for CO and the special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office. The letter would read along these lines (this is a quick first draft):


We represent a community of BMW motorcycle enthusiasts. Our membership contains a broad cross section of the motorcycling public, including doctors, attorneys, business owners, and law enforcement officers. (List a bunch of occupations that sound like respectable & influential citizens.) For aproximately a year, we have been planning a gathering of our members in Gunnison for the dates of .... We expect approximately X of our members to visit Gunnison during these days to enjoy the fine local restaurants, patronize local shops, and stay in local motels etc. etc.


We were recently disturbed to learn that the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club is planning a national convention in Gunnison for the weekend after our gathering. In light of recent nationally publicized events, we appreciate that the Hell's Angels convention is undoubtedly of great concern to local, state and federal law enforcement. Many of our members have also expressed concerns about the proximity of these events, even suggesting that we consider moving our gathering to another city in Colorado or elsewhere, or to another date. Many of our members have unforunate memories of a rally several years ago in North Carolina at which local law enforcement authorities were mistakenly informed that BMW motorcycle riders were a contingent of outlaw bikers, leading to unpleasant interactions between the rallyists and local officials. We are confident that you will have enough to do in preparation for the Hell's Angels that you will not want to waste time in unnecessary encounters with our law-abiding members. We are also confident that you share our belief that law-abiding citizens, such as our members, should not be required to change their plans for a long-anticipated visit to Gunnison because of the arrival of a criminal fringe element. To that extent, we hope to open a dialogue with you regarding our upcoming visit to Gunnison so that we can ensure that your security concerns, as well as the concerns of our members, are properly addressed.


We appreciate that our small gathering is a minor concern in comparison to the preparations that you will be required to make for the convention to follow our visit. We look forward to providing any assistance possible to guarantee that your enforcement efforts can remain focused, without distraction, toward the true dangers facing the citizens of Colorado.



The themes we want to hit on here, without being explicit, are: We're the good guys. We are law-abiding influental citizens that spend a lot of money, and we could go somewhere else, and we know how to squawk if you hassle us. We don't like the HAs either. We know you're to have a gazillion cops around and you can fsck us if you want and we're reaching out to you to keep them off our back. We're asking you to talk back to us, so if you don't and there's a problem, we can point the finger at you.


After the letter goes out and has had a few days to be digested and get to the right people, but while it's still fresh in their minds, we need to make informal contact with everybody on the list that we can. If we have anybody in Colorado LE, that would be a good person to reach out to the Gunnison PD. Anybody in Colorado gov't would be good to reach out to the Gunnison city manager and the state officials. Mike Boomgarten, can you reach out to the USA and the FBI SAIC? I will talk to my Chicago PD friends & contacts and see if I can drum up any names. If we don't have anybody in CO, I would be happy to put in a call to the Gunnison officals, the state's attorney, or the AG.


Depending on who we can reach, the calls would have this theme: I'm XXX in YYY (so we know we're on the same side) I'm one of many BMW MC riders that are planning a get-together in Gunnison. Now we find out the HAs will be there the next weekend. Yeah man, that's a pain in the ass, I feel bad for what you're gonna be going through. But listen, I'm concerned that we're gonna get caught up in preparation for the HAs. We're the good guys, and the most we ever do is ride a little fast. We both know what a pain in the ass it would be for you and a waste of your time to be stopping our riders thinking they're HAs and find out it's one of our guys who's a doctor or lawyer or something. We want to help you get the bad guys. What can we do?




Our goal is to raise awareness of our presence. Ideally every LEOs briefing on the HA operation would include the note: There will also be a contingent of motorcyclists on BMWs in Gunnison the weekend before the HAs, they are law-abiding citizens and not part of the HA convention.


I think it's a given that there will be more LEO-us encounters because of this. What we need to do is get in the back of each LEO's mind the idea that there are some non-bad guys out there, so that when we get stopped, we can make them quickly realize who we are. We do this by contacting the top people, making our existence known, and getting our existence to be part of the training and intelligence that will be disseminated to all the LEOs in the area.


If we can actually establish a dialog with somebody, and get an assurance that they're aware of us and will look out for us, we may be able to pass that along to the participants. An inside name can be a magic talisman. "There was a memo from Chief XXXX about our presence" can work wonders.


I don't know that moving to Durango would make a big difference. With the problems in NY and Laughlin, this really will be an all-out mobilization. I know how we (Chicago) have dealt with events of this ilk, and if you've not been involved in law enforcement, you have no idea. Nobody wants to get caught with their pants down, so overreaction is the SOP. I would not be surprised if every motorcycle entering the state of Colorado gets stopped for something starting on Monday or Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. It won't be much better in any adjoining states.


Whatever we accomplish through our contacts, we should do a post the week before Gunnison teaching our people how to manage LEO encounters. Tell them to expect to be stopped, to be polite and helpful about it, to not be carrying anything they shouldn't, and it'll make life better for all of us.


Media coverage is also a good thing. But media is hard to control. If we have a contact with a reporter, that's good. Any contacts that anybody might have with Colorado media would be helpful. Maybe a cryptic note on the BBS "Anybody with press contacts in CO, please contact me offline". Find somebody who does those "somebody you should know" stories at a Denver or local TV station, sell them this story: Everybody knows the HA are coming to Colorado. Here's some riders who are uneasy about the event. Joe's a doctor, Bill's a fireman, Bob's a cop. They don't fit the sterotype of outlaw bikers. Visual: guys in bright colored Aerostiches. They're concerned about what the presence of HAs in Colorado will mean for them this summer. Bob: We're just average citizens who happen to like motorcycles. We don't make noise and we don't cause trouble. There's XXX of us who are law-abiding taxpayers in Colorado, and we're afraid the HAs will give us a bad name. etc. etc. Anything that gets in the press, we follow up with the gov't contacts. "I'm sure you've seen this article and we just want to reiterate ..."


Anybody have any contacts at the AMA? They should at least be made aware of our concerns.


One thing I would not worry about is antagonizing the HAs. To them we are just another part of the straight 99%. The more we differentiate ourselves from them, the more it plays into their 1% persona. Any posts that say "the HAs are scum" would be good to leave on the BBS for our LE friends to see. But any posts that say "I got a Glock for the HAs" need to be removed.


I'll look in on this forum during the day. If anybody wants to reach me during working hours, e-mail me at davidsmith@ci.chi.il.us or call at 312-744-8712.


And if I make it to Gunnison, you can be sure that I'll be wearing on my Stich my Chicago PD - US Secret Service minibadge pin that I got working the 1996 Democratic Convention. smile.gif

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Good Morning Kids


My opinions are:


We ARE the good guys.


Stay, don't even consider moving.


I suppoort EB's approach 100%. He's on the right track.


The only thing that should be discussed online should be a courtesy awairness campain, Smile alot, spend alot (tip well)

Say hello and waive to every Leo you see and thank them for helping us, Ride politly in the local vicinity.


The right media attention would be great.


Have a very loose contingency plan amoungst the planners, so in the event something does go wrong we are somewhat prepared. Maybe just a voice mail number that everyone has with a recorded message as to what to do or where to go. Just that simple.



I firmly believe being proactive with the LEO's is a good thing. I remember from 1st grade that they are our friends.


Remember we will be representing all the good things about motorcycling in this country to all these fine folks. No pressure there, ehh!


Those are just the opinions of an ordinary average guy, I could be wrong.

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I can certainly deal with the feds on this issue. I actually just got back from Denver where I spent the better part of the day with an FBI agent--I've been working on cases out there for the past couple of years, so I know the USA and a number of people in the FBI's Denver office.


From the accounts I've read, it appears that the Gunnison County Sheriff is coordinating the efforts to deal with the Hell's Angels and is the one who has made most of the statements quoted in the press. We should definitely focus on him, hopefully making contact through folks who have had some past dealings with him or his office.


Just as a matter of perspective, I can tell you that the FBI in Denver (and everywhere, for that matter) is totally focused on the terrorism threat--you probably already know that. I doubt it the Hell's Angels thing looms very large on their radar. Nonetheless, I think it would be fruitful to cover all possible bases.


I think your approach, combined with Fernando's, is the way to approach it. I don't think that there's a huge chance of negative interractions with the Hell's Angels--we'll just have to leave it to the common sense of those associated with the UnRally to hopefully handle themselves appropriately. The bigger issue--and one that we can attempt to manage--is how we're received by local law enforcement agencies and the community.


Regarding the location, I don't think my vote should count--I've done none of the preparation work and, while I plan to attend, my job commitments are such right now that I'd say there's only about a 50/50 chance that I'll be there. However, to express an editorial opinion, it annoys me to think that a group of good people could be forced to change their plans because a bunch of jerks of a much different orientation plan to roll into town a couple days later.


Incidentally, I think Spike's idea of sending them some photos of us and our machines--a sort of briefing book--is an excellent idea. The law enforcement agencies involved have undoubtedly already had planning meetings and will continue to have them. If we play our cards right, there's a good chance that some of the critical players in the law enforcement community will bring this information to the attention of those involved in the HA response and that it will get disseminated to the officers on the street.

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In the spirit of getting things going, here are a few contacts:


Sheriff Richard L. Murdie

Gunnison County Sheriff

200 N. Iowa Ave.

Gunnison CO 81230

Tel. 970/641-1113


Hon. John W. Suthers

United States Attorney, District of Colorado

1225 17th St., Ste. 700

Denver CO 80202


Special Agent in Charge Mark J. Mershon

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Denver Division

1961 Stout St., Ste. 1823

Denver CO 80294


I know Suthers, though I've only met with him a couple of times. I've never met Mershon, but I have dealt extensively with the White Collar Squad and that unit's chief. I don't know Murdie, but if the group wants me to, I'll contact him. However, it might be better to use someone who's a Colorado LEO (or an LEO elsewhere). In the alternative, we could have a handful of our group contact him. My experience, though, tells me that it's best to limit the points of contact to a small number of people who are carrying a consistent message.


Expanding on Spike's earlier idea, I think a couple of page briefing paper might be a good idea. It's obvious this could be overdone, but I'd suggest it include a couple of things:


-A brief description of the UnRally and our group (i.e., demographics).

-A description of the approximate number of people we believe will attend and where we're staying.

-A point of contact or two--some way for the LEO's to get info to us if necessary.

-A couple photos of RTs, possibly with riders, just to help differentiate us.




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The county sheriff sounds like the main LE contact. I agree that a Colorado LEO would be the best person to make that contact.


The names and addresses of various Gunnison town officials are on the town website at http://www.ci.gunnison.co.us/


We may also want to consider cc'ing the Gunnison town council and/or chamber of commerce on our letter and briefing book. If they think they're going to lose some business or that their town will get some sort of bad name, they might put in a call to the sheriff or PD. Even just a call like "did you see this?" helps raise awareness of our existence, plus the knowledge that the politicos might be interested often makes LEOs tread a bit more carefully.


The idea of the briefing paper or book is a good one. In addition to communicating the information about us, it presents the image of an organized, intelligent, professional group with resources behind it. It's also convenient for the sheriff or whomever to copy & disseminate it along with all their other materials on the HAs. We might even mention in our cover letter that we would be happy to make sufficient copies available for the LEOs, if they'd like.


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I found out the name of the FBI's Supervisory Resident Agent for the area that includes Durango. He's John F. Lipka, Tel. 303/628-3100. He's most likely the person who will be working closely with state and local authorities. Again, if you want, I can make this contact. The agent who gave me this information is a good friend of mine and urged me to drop her name if I needed to contact him.

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I'm in Gunnison right now, so here's some current info -- and John Bellantonio is checking into the County's current plans and will report on it.


My survey shows:

The PEOPLE of Gunnison either don't know, or are not concerned that the HE are coming.


The merchants are aware of, and are looking forward to their appearance.


The LEO's I've spoken to point out:

The HE stay in one, or large groups for their own protection.

They did NOT come here to make trouble, but rather to have a business meeting to induct an new club from Denver.


Consequently, the law enforcement effort is to leave them alone, but be present and watchful from the perimeter. The adjacent local agencies have been placed on a readiness alert to assist should problems arise -- not up their patrols nor presense. The state agencies will double or triple patrols >> of the LOCAL area<<. This consists of US-50. Slightly higher patrol rates will be implemented on the "feeder routes" to that such as CO-24, and US-550. There are no plans to redeploy the 10th Mountain Division and stakeout The High Country. Get a grip, guys!!!


In summary, LOCALLY, this is NOT considered an Intense Issue.


Let's look at WHY we are Gathering in Gunnison.


We've come to socialize, to be together in one place. We will do that alone, in a private area, and there will be no greater police presence.


We WILL be out on the streets of Gunnsion, getting gas, buying food, shopping for what people shop for. In the days PRIOR to the HE meeting, there wil be only a few more policemen around, watching us be the model citizens we are. We NEVER should be speeding around in the confines of ANY town.


These two things will take up perhaps a third of our time in the area. Police presence is a non-issue here.


We came to RIDE. Almost two thirds of our time will be spend riding -- nowhere NEAR Gunnsion, and the areas of greater patrol. Police presence is a non-issue here.


Getting to and from our Gathering will be through areas of greater patrol. But if you didn't already know it was a greater presence, WOULD YOU CARE??? I don't think so; I think you'd watch your speed, or mind your V-1 just like it "turned-out" to be the normal thing around here.



And, concerning "that 2/3 of our time thing", Riding. Durango is NOT anywhere near as good a place for RIDES, not YOUR Ride, but rather the Rides being put together to please the broad range of tastes and styles of our attenting Riders. This factor was a HUGE one in proving Gunnison was our best choice for this un-rally. If you have any doubts about that statement, go ahead and layout six rides half of those consume a half day and the others all day riding across a variety of roads, and with varying scenerey. And also ponder why you'd put what are renowned as "Colorado's Best Roads", out of reach from down there in Durango.


All the steps being suggested and taken here in this thread are good ones to take regardless of whether it is Hell's Angels, or the Canadian Boater's Association that is meeting in the same town after we leave. But, doing this to "stave off a disaster" is a severe over-reaction to what will actually be present.


Hell's Angels doesn't know us and could care less about us. Most of their riders will never even see us.


Law Enforcement is always present, and larger numbers should not affect those without a guilty heart. Behave like you ALWAYS should when you're in the most public areas like towns and main roads.


Law Enforcement, just like HE, could care less about us when we're doing what we came to do: Have fun in a campground; Ride The Rockies.


Let's just get on with our Un-Rally with Faith, Hope, Cheer, and Good Will. Let's put our eye on how GOOD this thing is going to turn out... because of our good preparation for meeting place, events, lodging, riding, and yes, good PR. But please, put all this Black Sabbath stuff back in the bag, or that's what you're likely to get. Instead, put attention on making it go right, and then enjoying the heck out of it.


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That's a good report from Yoda on the Street! I don't think anyone expected Armageddon, but it is important to take the pulse of the place before we act or react. Ok, no Black Sabbath, but I'll be packing some Ozzy!


I think it would be prudent to low-key our approach as much as possible. Both our "media campaign" and the info disseminated to the board should be commensurate with the trouble we expect to encounter, which is to say nil to none.


A few dozen Krispy Kremes sent to the GPD, along with a nice "hello we're coming" letter should just about do it.

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Apparently the LEOs in Colorado are much more blase than the ones I'm used to dealing with in Chicago. I find it hard to believe that a town and county that are looking forward to the visit of (1) the leadership of a criminal organization that (2) is currently involved in a power struggle with rival gangs that has so far this year produced (3) two gun battles in crowded public places that have resulted in multiple deaths are just going to sit back and see what happens.


The major threat is not from the HAs. The threat is from the Mongols or the Outlaws or whoever it is that has been picking fights with the HAs. The HA gathering is a prime target for a group that wants to establish themselves as major players in the criminal underworld. The HAs know that they're targets, and will be more ready for trouble than usual. The concern of law enforcement is to prevent incidents like in Laughlin and New York.


Dick, I don't know who you talked to in Gunnison, but it sounds like you got the statement for public consumption - we don't expect trouble, we're not doing anything extraordinary, nothing to see here, move along. Unless the Colorado LEOs are extraordinarily stupid, or you're extraordinarily charming, I would not expect that you, Joe Citizen, are going to be told the full plan for dealing with the HA situation.


Here's a story that explains why I have a different perspective on it. A few years ago the KKK was coming to Chicago for a march to the courthouse square downtown. Many anti-KKK groups publicly said they were going to counter-march and kick KKK ass. The official word from the City was that we didn't expect trouble, the police would just be there to keep the two sides apart, we were taking no extraordinary precautions, etc. On the day of the march about 6 KKK members and about 6 counter-demonstrators showed up. We had a line of steel barricades around the plaza and about 20 officers in normal duty uniforms widely spaced around the perimeter. It turned out to be little more than a great photo op for the City.


However, in an enclosed vacant lot across the street from the plaza, hidden from public view, were somewhere between 100 and 150 officers with vests, batons, riot gear, gas, and shotguns. They had all arrived at the vacant lot about 3 hours before the KKK was scheduled to show up, when the news crews hadn't set up yet. They waited until the demonstration was over and the cameras were put away, and then they all drove off in a line of police cars that looked like something out of the Blues Brothers.


That was for a potential fight between a few redneck nitwits and a few college dropouts. What do you think they would plan for the HAs v. the Pagans?


If I were in charge of planning for the HA visit, my strategy would be to put special attention on all the motorcycles entering the state to look for drug & weapons violations. This is done by ensuring that all traffic laws are strictly enforced - traffic stops for anything over the limit, changing lanes without signalling, checking handlebar height, DUI checks, the works. It doesn't require mobilizing the National Guard, it's just a matter of passing the word among the LEOs on patrol. (Even if the word isn't passed, many LEOs will probably decide to do this for themselves). Any non-HA patchholder would get extra-special attention and be encouraged to vacation elsewhere that week.


I'm too much of a realist to think that law enforcement "should not affect those with a guilty heart." I've heard the stories from the RA rally in North Carolina, where BMW riders encountered law enforcement that was looking for outlaw bikers. A clean heart doesn't protect you from getting stopped for riding near the speed limit and from phantom violations, from roadblocks, and dog sniffs, and extensive vehicle searches. What will protect us is planting the idea that not all the bikers in Colorado that week are outlaws.


I'd be very happy to be proven wrong. But I'd rather some of us worry and prepare and have nothing happen other than that our people have, than the alternative.

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OK, thanks everyone for their input.


It's clear that we're going to continue with the planning for Gunnison, that there seems to be no overt attempt at making a big deal out of this, but that there could likely be covert preparation going on. I think this is something we all figured would be likely. An open show of force only antagonizes. Besides, I believe the HA knows EXACTLY who and what is being prepared for their arrival and that those in charge very likely WANT them to know without actually having to physically show that card. OK. We could theorize all day about what's likely and what's not. The old Boy Scout in me says to simply do the right things, but be prepared.


Therefore, our path needs to be one of early, positive engagement with law enforcement, showing an understanding of their position and offering our help and support in any way we can.


Working off the good parts of the letters that both David Smith and Jake have offered, and replacing some of the rhetoric with invitations to join us for Pizza or for breakfast coffee and danish, I'll be preparing letters to go out to the various law enforcement agencies that might be involved. David Baker will be sending the letters out and following up with phone calls, using that smooth southern charm of his.


The rest of us need to be aware and keep our eyes and ears open when we're in town. I don't want the entire group worrying about anything other than meeting, riding and leaving with great memories. We'll do the worrying and the prep to make things happen smoothly.


Señor Frantz. As an accomplished leader and an excellent situational assessor, I leave it in your capable hands to lead your rides with as much brio as the prevailing authority and coverage will yield. Better to come home with memories of beautiful roads and no scraped pegs, than of a few thrilling corners and a pocket full of citations. Your call, General. You da man.


As for the rest, I'm trying to clear my calendar so that I can revisit with each of you your duties and responsibilities and get an overall picture of the event, sub-events and processes.


Finally, I'm working on the T-shirt. I've got an excellent oval design with a "motoman"-type rider and some mountains in the background that Luky came up with. It will work very well on the sleeve of the T-shirts. As for the main part of the shirt, I'll have something to show everyone in a week or two (I hope). I also know that Luky is working on a main design as well and then we can just choose the best one. Makes no difference to me as long as it's good.

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