Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Could you become a victim of bikie gang violence

Bikie gangs have been a part of Australia for a long time, but the public displays of violence that stem from these inter-club rivalries seems to be rising to bold new levels. And, as we saw on the Gold Coast recently, it's a war where none of the sides really care who witnesses it and who else might be injured. More than 25 years ago James Cook University journalism lecturer Dr Lindsay Simpson co-wrote a book about Sydney's Milperra Massacre, called Brothers in Arms. More recently, she's updated the work which has been made into a television mini series of the same name. She told Pat Hession on the Drive show that, in a way, little about the culture had changed since she wrote the book.  "They're outlaws, and that hasn't changed," she says.  "They're one per centers and they think they're outside the law. So when you do have things like shooting into tattoo parlours or shooting into houses, or what happened at Milperra - shooting seven people dead in a hotel carpark on a Sunday afternoon - that kind of thing is carried out outside the law. And if the police rock up and ask people what actually happened, nobody says anything." Back then, she says, police had very little intelligence on bikies and virtually nothing was done about the problem. While new gun laws have altered that situation, the mentality of the members themselves has remained exactly the same.  "What hasn't changed is that almost primeval chest beating, 'this is my territory, 'you've done this to me and I'm going to pay you back. And one thing can escalate to another and suddenly it's out of control and suddenly, as we saw in (Sydney) airport incident, people are standing around waiting for a plane and someone is bashed to death. We shouldn't be exposed to that."

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