Editorial: By Scott Cochran
It was supposed to be just another indoor winter motorcycle expo until a verbal dispute between a pair of Three Piece Patch clubs turned violent resulting in gunfire. When it was over, one man was dead and seven others were injured.
When the smoke cleared at the National Western Complex in Denver Colorado , lawyers for both groups released contradictory statements accusing the other side of starting the melee.
I'm not concerned with the "he said, they said" coming from both the Iron Order MC, (a club consisting of primarily Law Enforcement members) and the Mongols MC, (a club consisting of 1% patch holders.)
I blame the event organizers. While this show has been going on for 30 years without a major incident between clubs, it was obvious, or should have been obvious that there is, and has been bad blood between 1% Clubs and Law Enforcement Clubs.
You only have to dig around a little in the internet chat rooms and forums to see overwhelming evidence that the Iron Order is despised by every 1% club in the USA.
A member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, is shown holding what appears to be a handgun in this photo from inside the bike show moments before members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club say the shooting began Saturday. (Photo provided by Stephen Stubbs, attorney for the Mongols)
Part of the obvious "dislike" that 1% clubs feel towards the Iron Order is their stated purpose to "provoke confrontations with other clubs as a 'free ticket' to 'destroy' their rivals." Source Bikernet
Bikernet quotes Mike "Cgar" Crouse Iron Order International Sergeant at Arms as saying: “I know our club has the advantage. One percenters won’t call the cops. So what the fuck, destroy any fucker that confronts you. It’s a free ticket….”
A few years ago, the Iron Order was banned from an Easyrider Bike show for reportedly starting a confrontation with a local 1% club that could have just as easily turned violent. That ban was later lifted after negotiations and discussions between the promoter and Iron Order MC leadership resulted in an agreement that the club would not wear its colors or come to the event carrying firearms.
There have been other incidents as well.
In 2014, an IOMC prospect shot and killed a member of the Black Pistons MC in Jacksonville Florida.
In 2015, the IOMC was linked to a shooting in Mississippi of members with ties to the Bandidos MC.
Now, I'm not siding with the Mongols or the Iron Order, but the plain truth is this. As an event promoter, it's your job to take reasonable and prudent measures to ensure the safety of everyone who attends your event.
In this case the promoters failed to do so. They failed to anticipate what would occur when you have two clubs, who are sworn enemies of the other, in attendance and throw in a little alcohol for good measure.
But, there's no hard evidence to suggest that alcohol played a part, but some eyewitnesses have claimed the Iron Order members who were deliberately provoking the Mongols were intoxicated, something the lawyer for the Iron Order denies.
Even the head of a motorcycle Federal Task Force says violence follows the Iron Order where ever they are. "Probably the best way to put it in a nutshell is to say the Iron Order has been having problems with everybody," said Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association. (source Denver Post)
Let this be a warning to other event promoters in the future. If you have a 1% club that attends your event on a regular basis, and you have members of the Iron Order or any other Three Piece Patch club show up, your best best is to take immediate action to protect everyone else at the event. Whatever it takes.
That might mean closing the event to all colors, or no showing colors at the event. The Iron Horse Saloon in Daytona has been a "no colors" venue for as long as I can remember and it doesn't hurt their business.
What it does is make for an environment where the only fight that you see break out is usually over something trivial and usually only between a couple drunken bikers or their girlfriends. Certainly not dozens of heavily armed Patch Holders.