Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You Do Not Want To Be The Guy Responsible For This

Nobody throws a funeral like the Hells Angels. Except maybe the Norse Vikings with the ritual drinking, sex and human sacrifice. By those standards, Monday’s affair marking the untimely passing of Mark “Papa” Guardado, the 46-year-old president of the San Francisco chapter of Hells Angels killed in bar fight, was subdued.

Yesterday, two thousand Hells Angels roared into the parking lot of Duggan Sera Mortuary in Daly City in a seemingly never-ending river of Harley heat and thunder. They came to pay their respects to a man who “was a friend to many people from all walks of life, and had a kind and generous heart.” Nevermind the fact that the kind and generous “Papa” Guardado was facing felony assault charges. Don't speak ill of the dead, especially the dead who have a couple thousand living friends whose favorite pastime is playing catch with a loaded .38.

The overflow crowd swarmed the parking lot with Harleys, leather and tattoos. Next door at Starbucks, you had to push your way through a crowd of ham-fisted bikers taking a latte break to get your drink.

Hells Angels seem to me a conflicted group. On the surface they are thugs, gansters, drug dealers, enforcers, yet they worry about setting an example for the kids, they feed the homeless, entertain children in the hospital. While they tout the outlaw lifestyle, they call themselves gentlemen. Their logo is a registered trademark and they have a navigable and informative website. The MC in their name stands for Motorcycle Club, but the fine print says Motorcycle Corporation. They sued Disney over trademark infringement in the movie “Wild Hogs.” For a bunch of outlaw, roguish, wayward teddy bears, they are a serious, organized, sometimes altruistic and often litigious bunch.

They can continue to insist they are a social club and not a gang, but I don’t care how many Toys For Tots drives they organize, I am not going to any Hells Angels potluck.

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