, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 231-249
Date: 04 Jun 2011

The Enemy Within: The Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Moral Panic

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When there is a period devoid of sensationalistic biker news, the public’s concern about outlaw bikers can be quite low. All it takes is one overt act of violence to heighten the public’s fear of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are the most current “dangerous class” which have been the subject of a moral panic in Canada. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs as organized crime bodies are deemed to be the single most serious threat to the country—the enemy within. The gang war in British Columbia is fuelled by drugs supplied by the Hells Angels and there is a wide spread fear that these evildoers are trying to harm and tear apart the fabric of our society. This article provides a critical in-depth analysis of the construction of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang moral panic with the focus on Canada. The roles played by the media, politicians, and the public in using isolated, violent incidents to support their interests will be examined along with the interactions between these groups and the resultant punitive actions directed toward members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.