Memo to Americans: All y’all have gotta quit lying to yourselves. Not the small shit. You can still pretend you’re gonna go to the gym tomorrow and clean the gutters next weekend. But you’ve gotta stop calling yourselves the ‘Land of the Free’. Just omit that shit from your Anthem and the rest of your rhetoric. That particular delusion isn’t doing anybody any good and frankly it just makes you look increasingly ridiculous. Actual ‘Lands of the Free’ don’t tolerate police states. Yeah, yeah, I know I wrote about this last week and you’re tired of hearing me blather on about it. Tough shit. Stifle your long suffering sigh and read about what’s happening in your supposedly ‘free’ country…
Last weekend was the Laughlin River Run, one of the larger gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts. Some motorcycle enthusiasts gather themselves into motorcycle clubs, or MCs. These clubs represent all kinds of people. Yes, some of them have bad reputations but lots of them are essentially civic groups in leathers. Many are ministries or work against child abuse or breast cancer. And all of them were banned from Laughlin. Not just the Run, but the CITY OF LAUGHLIN.
The state police from three states (CA, NV, & AZ) unilaterally decided to ban them from using state and federal highways for the week. Groups wearing a patch (colors) or even matching t-shirts (soft colors) were turned around and sent home at the point of a gun. They’d committed no crimes. Hell, they weren’t even accused of anything. No laws were passed by representatives. No judge found against them. Policemen just decided they were banned from American roadways and an American city. And it didn’t stop there.
Like most festivals there are lots of merchandise booths in Laughlin. They sell leathers, bike parts, and the usual stuff like jewelry, clothes and food. On the second day Las Vegas Metro police (Laughlin is in their jurisdiction) arrived with their SWAT team and assault rifles to evict two booths. One sold t-shirts and the other was a family owned motor-sports company. Why were they evicted? They were owned by men who were associated with an MC. That’s all.
I want to be perfectly fucking clear here. These booths were doing NOTHING wrong. They had all the relevant permits and licenses. They sold legal, and rather innocuous, products. The hotel who rented them the space came to their aid and explained that their rent was legally paid and their presence was approved. Hotel security was told that the head of Laughlin Station had ordered the eviction and that there’d “be trouble” for the hotel if they interfered. These legal businesses were literally forced to pack up under the watchful eyes of m-16s and escorted to the edge of town.
Look, I know most of you aren’t bikers. Some of you probably even double check your car door locks when we ride past (yeah, we notice that). But even if you’re scared of us you’d have to admit that the ‘Land of the Free’ shouldn’t have police officers who get to set the laws themselves if for no other reason than your dumb ass might be next. And trust me, having a gun aimed at you is no damn fun, especially when the man holding it has the legal right to shoot you.
So are we agreed? No more ‘Land of the Free’ bullshit? No more pretending. Let’s just change the words to ‘Land of the Heavily Policed’ until we decide to let freedom reign again. I know it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but maybe if we hear the truth we’ll decide to do something about it. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.