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“My Head Is Bloody, But Unbowed”
Published:
7/17/2013 1:58:13 PM


By Beverly Gadson-Birch 
 



As I was preparing to do this article, the words to Invictus kept racing around in my head. Some of the old schoolers had to learn or recite this poem as part of a class assignment. According to Wikipedia, Invictus may be translated in Latin as “undefeated” or “unconquered”. That pretty much sums up my life. I am a fighter. Trouble has found its way to my door. I will not let trouble defeat me. “My head maybe bloodied but unbowed.” 

Who was it that said when life throws you lemons, make lemonade? What if you don’t like lemonade? What if life comes at you in the fast lane, do you pull over to get out of the way or speed up to keep from being run over? My whole world was turned upside down last week at the news that my brother was arrested for having taken part in the motorcycle fiasco that led to the death of three motorcyclists and the shooting of another. I don’t intend to make this case in the paper but felt I had to say something that might save others from a similar fate. So often we have heard mothers and fathers say, “I know my child; I know he did not do this.” I found myself saying the same thing.

I know my brother and I know he did not do what he is charged with. I went even further to say, “I would put my head on a chopping block.” That is just how sure I was of my brother’s innocence. He had never been in any trouble. He is the other half of identical twins and the last born in a family of ten children. This is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

So, let’s talk about that. How often have we heard our parents say, “When you see trouble, run the other way?” As old or as cliché as the saying may be, it still rings true. Trouble can find you no matter who or where you are. When you see something about to happen, my best advice to you is leave. It is just cheaper and safer to distant yourself from trouble. Nosey can be expensive. Nosey can cost you your life, your reputation. If there is a lesson to be learned in this case is don’t hang around when you see trouble. 

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the survivors of this senseless violence. Here you have a group of men who for the most part are working husbands and fathers who just love riding. They love their bikes and spend thousands of dollars on chrome and wheels. They are no different than old car enthusiasts who do pretty much the same thing. They like showing off their bikes. It’s a hobby; it’s a form of release after working all week.

The difference between bikers and car enthusiasts is many of the motorcycle clubs are referred to as motorcycle “gangs” stemming back to riders such as “Hells Angels” and “Outcast”. However, in most clubs or groups, there will always be a few bad apples. 

After talking with some of the bikers that were at the scene, they are still trying to make sense of what happened. What happened rose out of a group of men who did not think about the repercussion of their actions. They got caught up in the moment. What started off as a peaceful day turned into one of the deadliest in the history of local bikers. 

Many of the men are husbands and fathers. Their action has resulted in families torn apart. Children are left without fathers and wives are left without their husbands.

Mothers are left without sons. Why? We are talking about grown men who did not think about the consequences of their actions. 

Derryl belongs to the Band of Bruthuz motorcycle club contrary to news report linking him to another club. Band of Bruthuz has a history of community service. They are a small club with no history of violence. I know many of the guys. They do an annual ride each year to benefit scholarships for needy children. They work on Habitat for Humanity Projects and many other noteworthy projects. 

To the bikers who act irresponsibly, slow down and smell the roses. Life is not about bragging rights. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who has the biggest or better bikes or even the biggest or most noted clubs, it’s about your first responsibility as fathers and husbands. 

You have a responsibility as head of your home to make wise and responsible decisions. Your children are looking up to you to provide direction for them. You can’t do that if you have lost your direction. 

Bikers, there is a lesson to be learned here. Act like responsibly! When you see trouble brewing, run in the opposite direction. A smart run is always better than a stupid stand.

I will not be able to thank all of the callers and supporters who said “I know those boys (twins); I know your brother did not do what he is being accused of.” That’s what a good family name will do for you. In times of trouble, your reputation defines who you are. “My head is bloodied, but unbowed” sums it all up.
 


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