In judgment of Angels


A motorcycle club arrives at the 2015 Southern Maryland Music and Bike Fest in Leonardtown. File photo

Prince Frederick, MD - Recently, ran a press release about a check presentation. If you are still reading—this type of item (check presentation) doesn’t receive a lot of reader attention, which is sad because organizations that do good things deserve recognition and we should all take note. What made this one earn the notice of readers—over 2,500 views to date—is no doubt because the check donor is a local chapter of Hells Angels. Yes, the world’s most notorious motorcycle gang is giving cash to charity, in this particular case, Calvert Hospice.

In a recent article on the web site, it is noted Hells Angels considers itself a motorcycle “club” and its local chapters have resolved to perform good works within their communities. “The Hells Angels have developed a modern mythology around themselves that presents as many questions about the group as answers. Are the Hells Angels organized criminals or compassionate givers to charity and the community?”

Some of the comments readers have submitted referenced the shady exploits and criminal records of some of its members, past and present. One commenter declared that Hospice “shouldn’t have accepted money from the criminal group. They should give it back.” Let’s deal with that suggestion first. No, they shouldn’t give it back. Why? Hospice is an organization that aids people of all races, creeds etc. and is not judgmental in rendering that aid. We are all going to die and the circumstances are going to be awkward, inconvenient and undignified. It doesn’t matter whether we are a model citizen, a model prisoner, a swimsuit model or someone whose life has been a series of missteps. Anyone who has watched someone die knows the departure is not some pleasant elevator ride to the sky. Giving that inevitable occurrence a large touch of professional compassion and helping the loved ones left behind through the grieving process is huge. You only have to be a human being—not some law-abiding perfectionist with a clean slate—to understand why it’s important.

Anyone who has lived in Southern Maryland for a lengthy amount of time knows all about Hells Angels’ members’ skirmishes with law enforcement. This club, which started in California during the late 1940s, has its origins in the U.S. Armed Forces. However, you cannot join if you have ever submitted an application to become a police or correctional officer. It should be noted that while police agencies are vigilant when it comes to gangs, it is still not against the law to belong to a gang.

One thing that might surprise you about Hells Angels is that while a group of them on motorcycles might strike fear in the hearts of the innocent, of late, it seems, they have become more litigious than dangerous. A 2013 story in the New York Times reported the club’s attorney brought several cases to federal court, alleging infringement on apparel, jewelry, posters and yo-yos. The Angels challenged Internet domains and a Hollywood movie— “all for borrowing the motorcycle club’s name and insignias,” the story stated. Among the companies they have sued are Walt Disney, Toys R Us and Marvel Comics. A lot of the members are quite affable and generous. It’s their lawyers who might give you a hard time.

One of the realities Hells Angels accepts is “when we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets.” We should never forget the bad things people do to harm society. But the local Hells Angels chapter did a good thing this past July when they held a family friendly car and bike show and then donated $1,000 to Calvert Hospice. We should never forget that either.

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of management.

Contact Marty Madden at

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