GEORGE CHRISTIE HELLS ANGELES

Exclusive Interview With Ex-Hells Angels George Christie: The Man Beyond The Myth PART 2

George christie hells angels interview alice carbone

Ex-Hells Angels George Christie: An exclusive interview, Part 2

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George christie hells angels interview alice carboneBefore we depart on this second and closing ride, I advise you to read Part 1 of George Christie, The Man Beyond The Myth if you have missed it .  It is essential, for we are about to hammer down, both in history and in George’s life.  Go back to Saturday, August 31 on this blog, or click HERE to read it, then come back.

George Christie is running the one-kilometer-long Olympic Torch leg through Ventura – which in effect isn’t really Ventura but some bean field near Oxnard – as I get to understand from an interview on Easy Rider, the October issue of year 1985.  
In the latter, he explains how the money allocated and intended for the kids affected by mental retardation disorder in Pottstown, Pennsylvania has not been received in order for them to buy those uniforms they need to compete in the Special Olympics; neat jackets, lined, buttoned, with collars – as he describes them (a legal hassle that Olympics Board Chairman and John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Shriver would personally have to deal with.)  Wait, I am getting off track myself here, too much history, I don’t have room for this.  
A man in white interrupted our conversation recognizing George Christie; the ATF walked into the town of Ventura in 1984 and a hand grenade was thrown into the Hells Angels’ Clubhouse shortly after the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. That’s where I left you last week.
I tried to follow a chronological order, yet letting George follow his, for I had been advised not to read the many questions on my notebook if not strictly necessary to make sure I had everything I needed.  
I am here with the open mind of a writer who knows nothing and Joan Didion makes me feel safe by always rejecting the canon of objectivity in her journalism; in her writings she wants the reader to “remember what it is to be her.”  I do too.  As long as by the end of the day my riddles are being given an answer to, I say to myself that I am here to listen and to learn something new, whatever the nature of the novelty is.

 

Eight days go by between the first and the second encounter with George Christie.  Eight days that I spend in the dry and rising heat of my home in Los Angeles.  

An important information is being added to my humble dictionary on the outlaw motorcycle culture and to my historical background, from Hollister (1947) to Altamont (1969) and River Run (2002) , just to name what’s easy for you to retrieve without too much effort.  Aging Rebel - who has been a precious and very reliable source for my study and research during the intense preparation of this project – has published the postscripts from George Christie’s trial on his website (www.agingrebel.com).
 
GEORGE CHRISTIE, PART 2
 
A.C. I have read the postscripts from your trial.  You are aware that this idea of writing your story came prior I knew every detail of your indictment.  I must be honest with you, I was quite anxious and intimidated by the idea of you at first, because I didn’t know who was the man behind myth.  But let’s start from what you said to Judge Wu on August 15; you wanted to teach your men to fish for themselves instead of keep doing it for them…I liked it.
 
G.C. Yes, but it didn’t work.
 
He laughs, with what I perceive being a drizzle of disappointment through the cracks of his smile.
 
A.C. You also admitted that at times it is hard for you to separate the past from the present and yourself from the myth; you added, among many other things: “I have tried to become wiser, smarter, more tempered.  I’ve not always taken the correct turns in life, but I have always tried to find the true north.” 

G.C. I wrote those words myself; I meant it from the heart.

A.C. You said that you haven’t directed anyone to firebomb the tattoo shops in 2007, and that what you were pleading guilty for was a lack of leadership.  Let’s go back to talk about leadership.  You have asked me a question, George; you have asked me if I knew who your archenemy was and I told you I did, without mentioning his name.

G.C. Okay, listen, I was being somewhat facetious.  It’s hard to explain when you look up to somebody for years…it becomes very disappointing when they no longer meet the standards that you thought they created.  I advise people now, if you want to have a mentor make sure he is not a living mentor, so you are never disappointed.  You want to believe in Jesus?  Believe in Jesus.  You want to believe in Malcolm X?  Believe in Malcolm X.  Meher Baba?  Go for it.  Look at Malcolm X, he is a perfect example; he dedicated his life to something and then ultimately he felt like he had been deceived. 
George christie hells angels interview alice carbone

A.C. What happened during those many years of leadership until the day you decided to leave the Hells Angels?  Why did you leave the Club and how do you leave the Hells Angels?

 
G.C. You resign from the club very carefully.  The rumors abound on why I did it.  They go all the way from me being a confidential informant to being a punk.  Those particular individuals can’t re-write history.  History speaks for itself.  They can try to spin it however they want but you can’t take away the fact that I was their leader for thirty-five years and no one has ever done that.  
Ultimately the club was headed in a direction that I didn’t want to follow and it became very cumbersome for me.  To be quite honest with you I felt we were becoming the people we rebelled against.  My heart is still in the same place it was in the late 1960s, early 1970s when I came around to this lifestyle.  Maybe I got off track a little while myself, but I once again decided I evaluated myself.  This is not just about individuals, it’s not about one club, it’s about the whole lifestyle and I don’t know where this culture is heading.  I think all the major clubs need to re-evaluate where they are leading this youth because there’s a big contingency of people behind that are following, and there are some things that need to be adjusted.
 
Our conversation is about to flow in a direction I am not planning thus I let him speak; I want all the unexpected I can get.  The trial isn’t on my notebook, but I think it can be a different route to his soul moving forward, healing, in a sense.  I want to adventure into where he is taking me, although I am ready to lead him back on my track.  I am the one taken away by another motorcycle roaring loud on E Thompson St. this time, because we will talk about it shortly, the rubber against the concrete, cross wind.
 
G.C. One of the big issues in my trial was that the jurors kept claiming they knew Mr. Christie was in all likelihood guilty from the very beginning.  When Judge Wu asked them how they could determine that without hearing any evidence, their answer was that they watched Sons of Anarchy.  In their mind ‘the boss’ was the one who knew everything, consequently Mr. Christie had to have some complicity.
I believe that Kurt Sutter has a responsibility to the outlaw motorcycle culture.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know the guy and I am not saying anything bad about him, but maybe he hasn’t thought about it.
 
A.C. Listen, we are talking about bosses and Sons of Anarchy so I’m going to use his name now.  Do you think Sonny Barger’s presence in the show might have influenced the public opinion?  From what I know Sutter spent some time with Barger for the creation of the show.
 
G.C. I can’t comment; it would be inappropriate to speculate because I really don’t know as I have never watched Sons of Anarchy and neither had the judge, who stopped the jurors and had to clarify to them that Sons of Anarchy was a dramatic television show.  We were running out of jurors and that’s probably one of the reasons why he was so persuasive to the government and to me to make a deal.  Judge Wu is a really smart guy and what he did was rare, as federal judges don’t usually address the defendant like he did with me; he gave me forty minutes at the end of my trial, that’s when I gave him the speech that you read on Aging Rebel’s website, the postscripts.
 
A.C. In the trailer of The Last American Outlaw, your forthcoming documentary by Nick Mead, you talk about freedom.  You say: “Freedom isn’t free; freedom comes with a cost.” In an old video for your prison consultant business you also acknowledge how powerful human beings can be in finding freedom in every situation.  How did the concept of freedom evolve for you over the years, and have you become cynical about freedom?  You have some rights for having become a little cynical..
 
George christie hells angels interview alice carboneG.C. Freedom is and can be an allusive word, so you have to make what you can out of it.   You can be a captive and be walking the streets free; you can be captive of your own soul, of society, or whatever you let yourself be subjected to.
This country was established for the right reasons; the pendulum of justice swings both ways, we go through periods of time when the government along with the people think a certain way leaning to the right and then something happens, they get too far to the right so they lean back to the left and it becomes balanced.  I’m not bitter about anything or cynical…what did Peter Fonda say?  “We just want to ride our choppers, man, and get high!
 
He laughs, paraphrasing Heavenly Blues’ speech in The Wild Angels, but we have just started talking freedom and this is not the 1970s when George had joined the Hells Angels to ride his 1957 Panhead and be a rebel.  We grow up and as he had shared in part one, a Z gets thrown on our path, that vision to where we are heading, and no matter which culture we are part of we roll up our sleeves and we find a new direction in order to get there anyway, through a different itinerary.
 
A.C. So it’s true, when you started you did have a naïve vision, let’s ride and get loaded.  What were you rebelling against?  I know that it sounds like a question to Marlon Brando, but I am serious.
 
G.C. Yes, absolutely, I did have a naïve vision.  I was very angry about a lot of things; the war in Vietnam, the hypocrisy society engaged in every day.  I felt that this alternative lifestyle was about truth, honesty… and I just gravitated towards it.
 
A.C.  Do you really think we are free today?  
 
G.C. No, we are not free at all.  But we probably have more freedom than most countries do.  
But it comes with a cost.  I have mixed emotions about it.  Look at Snowden, for example; he opened a big can of worms with the United States.  Some people say that he could have followed the proper route because there is apparently a protocol for whistleblowers.  But could he have achieved the same results had he followed the ‘proper procedures’?  Sometimes you just gotta go a little bit further, you gotta take that step, in order to ring that bell, symbolically speaking, the bell of freedom.
A.C. You mentioned truth and honesty as the values of the lifestyle you chose, in your own way, with the Hells Angels.  Is that what you tried to teach your guys?
 
G.C. Well, I was trying to teach them a lot of things, like integrity, honesty and also responsibility.  And this is really connected to my statement to the judge, the issue of taking responsibility. 
A.C. Let’s talk about responsibility.  What happened?  
 
G.C. See, I was a leader and as I was 
letting go of my power everyone saw a possibility in becoming the guy who could take over the club from George Christie, their big shot.  
Everyone was doing these cavalier and ridiculous acts and they were probably getting influenced by people who didn’t even live here, who didn’t even know the dynamics of this town, how to survive in it.
George christie hells angels interview alice carboneWhen you talk about integrity and responsibility nowadays it gets very delicate because people get in trouble and then they want to bargain their way out of it.  How do they bargain their way out of it?  The government made it very convenient; not only do they remove themselves from the crime they participated in, they now become paid participants in the American dream, if you will.
In my case, one of the informants was paid 62.000 dollars for the first three months of ‘work’.  In just three months.  So, you’ve got an individual who is a professional criminal, and not even a good one because he keeps getting caught and they label him a ‘career criminal’ who would end up doing from thirty to fifty years in prison.  What alternatives does he have?  
The government gives him a very attractive one: ‘Tell on the bigger fish than you!‘  
You know what’s interesting about this ordeal of mine?  We live in this society with all the surveillance like cameras, phone conversations intercepted etc., and they didn’t have a recorded proof for me.  
The one day that I went into the one tattoo shop to talk to the owners about something unrelated, the tape machines installed by the FBI broke.  It was my word against theirs, and I couldn’t prove my innocence.  
 
A.C. What happened then?
G.C.   It’s all in the FBI reports.  One of the guys who was responsible for the firebomb and who got caught, first confirmed that I had asked to stay away from those shops; he got indicted and was going to to prison for it, so he changed his statement, adding that he knew what I was truly thinking.  It almost sounds unbelievable, but that’s what happened and I’ve got nothing to hide…
 
A.C. You told me that anger goes away.  Doesn’t this get you even angrier?
 
G.C. No, because I still have my integrity.  I still know what I am really all about.  I say this at the end of the documentary as well.  My wife is angry, my boy is angry, my oldest daughter is angry; my middle age son is too, as well as my twenty-year old daughter.  I am not even mad at Judge Wu.  
When we made the plea bargain I was prepared for the worst as I knew those were very serious charges, but I approached the court taking responsibilities for poor leadership, not for crimes that I had not committed.  
 
I never wanted to talk to his attorney, but George offered in that moment.  I wanted to go back to freedom or the lack of it.  
In Mead’s trailer George says: “I wanted to travel around the world and see what other people were thinking.  Have we learned anything since we put our name on the Declaration of Independence?  Do other people see what I see?”  I show him the oblique tattoo on my left shoulder in encoded English, a sentence that opens my (hopefully) forthcoming novel.

Beyond the river I’ve seen things you will never see.”  There is a common ground I want to explore. 

 
A.C. What do you see today?  The documentary was conceived as a tribute to Easy Rider, Nick Mead wanted to follow you on the road while you were witnessing America today, society with your own eyes.  After your indictment and arrest in 2011 it had to take an utterly different direction.  How did you evolve in it?
 
George christie hells angels interview alice carbone

G.C. I didn’t really have the opportunity to evolve in the direction I wanted to go because I became the focus of the documentary.  They are complaining about it, but they were the ones to set the pace for this project.  
I wanted to find out if people were concerned that this country is heading in the wrong direction. 
I wanted to talk to Pete Seeger and ask him what it felt like to have the government think that he was an enemy; Pete was blacklisted for his political beliefs and accused of being a communist.  I admired him; he wanted to clean up a river when everybody kept telling him that he couldn’t and he fought until he got the river cleaned.
 
George is referring to Seeger’s efforts to clean the Hudson River with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the environmental organization which he co-founded in 1966.  In 2002 Seeger was named a ‘Clean Water Hero’ for his many efforts in the passage of the Clean Water Act.
 
A.C. Do you feel like you have been considered an enemy all your life? 
 
G.C. Yes, I do.  What started it was my being a Greek immigrant; I could always feel the prejudice.  This country has a history of being hard on cultures although the forefathers were about embracing everybody.  Look at the Muslims and some of the things they have gone through in the past ten years since the Twin Towersfell; you can’t hold every Muslim responsible for what those individuals did, it’s ludicrous, ridiculous.  I was in solitary confinement when it happened; I spent one year there, from 2001 to 2002.
 
A.C. I know, I actually wanted to discuss this with you.  I have recently watched a documentary on the quite often ineffective results and damaging impact of solitary confinement on mental health; it’s an issue that touches me deep.  Would you share something about your story with me, please?  
 
G.C.  It’s terrible.  In confinement they have speakers in every cell and not only they dictate orders through the speakers, but they also monitor you, they listen and see everything you do.  It’s very intrusive and very invasive. 
 
A.C. On what charges were you there for? 
 
G.C. Racketeering.  I had 59 counts on my indictment and it was so heavy that it collapsed under its own weight.  It was ludicrous the things they said that I was doing, no evidence, cavalier allegations…but anyway…
A.C. Why did you end up in solitary?
G.C. That’s where they put me as soon as I got there, they said it was for my own safety.  I asked to be put in general population but they don’t want ‘leader types‘ in there, because they influence other inmates or convicts, however you want to call them.  After eight months in solitary confinement I was called out to the nurse room although I had never put out a request for it.  I get this message through the speaker to dress out, because in solitary you only wear your underwear and a T-shirt; then the process starts, you know…you squat down, stick your hands through the bars, they handcuff you…
The nurse wanted to do an evaluation; I asked what kind of evaluation and the answer was that after so many months in confinement I was eligible for psych medications.  They knew that solitary must have been affecting me, so after the evaluation I was entitled to get the meds if I wanted to.  
The idea that one human being would put another human being in a situation where they think that psych meds would benefit them is insidious, inhumane, it’s just a terrible act.  
Solitary confinement is one of the oldest forms of torture, it’s sensory deprivation.  We are not built to be isolated, we are geared to be around other people, to touch other human beings.  To take somebody and to put him into a steel bathroom – something slightly bigger than a closet - is dehumanizing.  
I think that if they could get away with it, as the penal institutions become more and more crowded and the people become less manageable, I anticipate they are going to start using the tactics that are being used on the so-called enemy combatants.  I fear they are going to start using stress positions, music, or sleep deprivation.  I am scared of what is going to happen twenty or thirty years from now to a person who thinks like me and who is not afraid to speak out like me.  Will that person be considered an enemy of the state?  
I have recently read an interview in which former Vice President Cheney said: “What’s wrong with open-hand slapping a prisoner?”  Well, if the comparison is taking someone hunting and shooting him in the face, I guess there’s nothing wrong with open-hand slapping.  Wait, I’m just being kind of a smart ass now, sorry.
A.C. George has thoroughly read my blog before agreeing on doing this interview; he is acquainted with my social awareness, hence with my research beyond the mainstream media, something I don’t particularly rely on.  We talk about my concern on a possible hidden agenda behind the new Amber Alert texts to the nation, the concept of Power Elite, and the controversy of the penal system today, for example in relation to the issue of medical marijuana in California – it’s a contrast between the State and the Federal Law  - George says – you get caught between political ideologies.
 
George christie hells angels interview alice carbone

G.C. I am an Obama guy, I like him, but I’m a little disappointed, although I can see that he is having a hell of a time.  George W. Bush did too, I know he made some very bad decisions, I think he felt like he was a man of God, called by God to be President, but I think he got manipulated by a lot of people.  Yet, it was still his responsibility, what he did, because he was the leader.  It’s interesting how these powerful men all seem to be carrying a burden that we – as citizens – don’t know the nature of, Obama as well; so I don’t like to fly out condemns. Unfortunately when you become a leader, you don’t have the luxury of being the individual that you once were.  A good leader has a vision, you get on the road and you see your vision in front of you and in the process you start having these realities and conflicts of conscience, of decisions.  I am not comparing myself to the President of the United States, but I have been in a leadership position for a long time and many decisions I have made affected people all around the world.
When you get that responsibility, if you are a good leader you don’t do what people want, you do what people need.  I know that it sounds dictatorial, but I had to make those decisions.

 
A.C. Have you thought about trying the documentary again with its original intent once you get out of prison?  Do you want to hit the road again on your motorcycle?
 
G.C. Actually I do want to reinitiate this American ride and pick up from where I had left off, starting with Seeger.  His wife just died, they were together for years and years and he is in his nineties, maybe he won’t be around much longer.  One of the other individuals that I want to interview is Dick Cheney for two reasons.  The first one is that he got a little taste of his own medicine; he wanted Scooter Libby to be pardoned, but Bush wouldn’t do it.  That caused a split between them.  Libby’s sentence got commuted but there was no pardon.  I want to ask a man like him how it felt to be on the other hand of the government, because I’ve been there, several times, and I know what it feels like.  I am not saying that I agree with any of that, I just want to know how a leader felt in such a situation. 
 
A.C. The second one?
 
G.C. As a leader coming a macho culture, the outlaw motorcycle one, I would also like to talk to him about our two daughters; my twenty-year old daughter is gay and so is his.  I would like to know how it made him feel.  
 
A.C. How did it make you feel, especially given the fact that you were a prominent figure in the Hells Angels, a macho culture as you said?  Did they know?
 
G.C. It was never a problem for me; it’s funny because when my daughter ‘came out’ she told her mother first, my wife, Nikki.  Of course she told her that we loved her and that we accepted her no matter what.  The only favor my daughter asked was: ‘Please, mom, don’t tell dad.’  Nikki told her: “Oh, dad knows since that day you got your tuxedo fitted together!“ 
It became kind of a joke in our family for a while.  The truth is that your kids you know; you know what’s in their heart.  A lot of people have no clue, but if you are in tune with what’s going on around you, you see things.  Knowing that your kid is gay can hurt a parent because you know people are going to hurt him or her; I would hear remarks in the culture where I come from.  
Some people in the Hells Angeles did know about her, but certainly no one would say anything because as everyone knows I support my family till the end, as much as I have always backed my club till the end.  Sometimes I had to do it reluctantly in the past, not liking some of the things that I saw and some of the things that were going on.  But again, as a leader, on occasion you have to do things you don’t agree with.
 
A.C. Do you have any regret?
 
G.C. No, no regrets.
 
A.C. Are you serene today?  Have you lived your life as you had envisioned it when you started back in those days, when you built your first 1957 Panhead for 200 Dollars?
 
G.C. I am happy with what I did, with the road I went down and I am happy with the exit I took as well.
 
A.C. Do you still have all your inks?  
 
G.C. Yes, I do.
 
He rolls up the sleeves a little and shows me his many inks.  They are beautiful on his tanned and slightly aged skin.  These tattoos are not just proof of his past in the Hells Angels, the 1%, of being a Filthy Few for thirty-five years; they are history under the white hairs on his arms.  They are life lived as it had to be lived, with many choices to be made, good and bad, like us all.  I said slightly aged, because despite his year of birth George is in charming shape and when we meet the second time he is coming from a martial art class, which he still teaches.  
He is wearing slightly darkened vision glasses and through the dark brown of the shades I can see his eyes.  As we get closer to the end and to what the questions smell like, he doesn’t hide a drizzle of melancholy for the memories that can’t help but resurface.  That’s probably the most beautiful moment, when you can reach to the soul of a human being willing to show an inch of vulnerability and of well calculated truth.  I like when someone lets his eyes get moist, for it is right there that you can measure the weight of what’s just another legend or what’s worth writing down instead. 
G.C. I haven’t removed them and I am not planning on doing it.  I don’t mean it as any disrespect or as a challenge.  It’s evident that I am no longer a Hells Angel, I have made it no secret and I don’t see any reason to do it because I can’t masquerade as a Hells Angel.
 
A.C. Did you have to give everything back?  Your patches, your vest?
 
G.C. Yes, everything.  It was very, very difficult; thirty-five years worth of memories.  Everything that was club indicia I had to give back to the club, that’s the protocol and I knew that I had to do it when I made my decision.  I did it with a heavy heart but it was in April of 2011 and I’m moving on; I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.  You know, I thought a lot about it, it’s not something that I decided overnight; it took me a couple of years.  I never thought that the day of leaving would come, but it did.  It turns out that old dogs can learn new tricks.  
 
A.C. I heard you describing a motorcycle ride as a Zen practice.  It was absolutely beautiful, the non-separation between you and the earth.  Besides loving motorcycles myself, I do practice Zen.  Share with me a motorcycle memory, please…
 
G.C. Yes, it is like Zen, but it’s also something you can’t think about too much, the ride; you just have to experience it, or it becomes dangerous.  As far as a motorcycle memory, Big Horn Mountains is a special place in my heart; you are going to see it in the documentary.  It’s between Wyoming and Montana and that’s where Custer chased all the Indians.  You leave the Custer battlefield heading West and going up the mountains is a religious experience.  If you don’t believe in a Higher Power by the time you get to the other side you weren’t paying attention; it’s an unbelievable journey.
Another beautiful ride is Black Hills, in South Dakota, a spiritual place for the Indians.  When you go out there, you can’t deny it, you feel it, and if you don’t, there’s something wrong, you are missing something.  The Indians became exasperated with that sacred place because it was a church for them.  It’s evident when you discover it, it’s spiritual and people just weren’t getting it.  It had nothing to do with gold to the Indians, but unfortunately our God at times is money and the Westerners wanted to get out there to get the Do Re Mi. 
 
I can see the mountains and the sacred hills through his tales.  I have no doubts he saw a Higher Power there; he did pay attention.  I don’t know if it’s because in Ventura the temperature has some pity on us compared to the Hollywood heat haze I had escaped in the morning, if it’s because we are sitting in the shade or because I need the ride and I am envisioning the road through his memories, but I feel good.  There’s a long silence.  He pauses and looks across the street.  He doesn’t move; his left arm on the wooden table, while the right one points at a white building across the street, which he explains to me being the Court of Appeal.  

It’s another George Christie moment and I let him speak.  I want to talk about fear and pain before closing our long encounter and he is taking me there. 
 
G.C. Let me tell you something; when you get indicted by the Federal Government you go stand in a court, you’ve got your jumpsuit on, they put the shackles on you…I’m a pretty stand up guy, I don’t get scared very often, but I’ll tell you, when they say: “The United States of America vs. George Gus Christie Jr.” it gets your attention.  The most powerful country in the world has a problem with you.  I realized I was just one individual, it woke me up, it really did.  It sends a dual message; it tells you how insignificant you are, but then on the other hand you’ve done something to catch these guys’ attention, especially if you know you haven’t done anything.  You’ve got the attention, somebody wants to punish you and they have unlimited resources, witnesses, manpower, but more importantly, money. 
A.C.  How has your life been in these two years?
G.C.  Well, they financially and emotionally destroyed me, it was a war of attrition.  I was ready to retire with all my finances in order and I have to start from scratch.  But hey, this is the American dream.  I’ll hopefully achieve my goals and my family and I will all be comfortable and secure one day.  I am ready to turn myself into prison now, and then I’ll start over again.  

A.C. Are you scared?

 
G.C. No, I’m sincerely not.
 
A.C. Have you ever been scared?  Where did you learn not have fear?  Was it in the Hells Angels?  Is there where they teach you not to have fear, in prison and in life?  Because although having experienced a lot of pain in my life I still fear the suffering.
 
George christie hells angels interview alice carbone

G.C. Ok, listen, it’s like the tightrope walker; he doesn’t focus down, he focuses across, have you ever noticed?  Because if you look down you realize you can fall.  I guess what I’m suggesting is: if you don’t want to be scared, don’t look down just look forward.  I know I’m speaking symbolically, but I truly believe in these words.  You told me you are scared of pain.  What scares you about the pain?

 

 
A.C. The physical suffering terrifies me; the emotional I am used to, but I always fear the next hurt.
 

G.C. But you can take that pain; you can take anything. You can feed off it and turn it into energy.  You can transform misfortune and miscalculations into energy and not only you can move forward, but you can move even further than you ever imagined you could.  Growing up I used to have a vision, a giant walking in my room; it was a recurrent nightmare that would scare me to death.  He looked like a lumberjack all dressed in black and I was terrified.  One morning I realized that it was my dad kissing me goodbye very early before going to work; he was truck driver.  I wasn’t scared anymore.  Everybody has fear; you have to take it, analyze what you are scared of and why, and move beyond it.  It’s not a quantum leap, it takes small steps to learn and ultimately grow up and accept things.  Fear is like a fast growing weed, once you succumb to it, it entangles every fiber of your being and then it dominates you to the point where it affects your decisions and how you react to life.  

When you think that you can’t get beyond your fear you end up going back to what you used to be;  so instead of evolving you go back to the past, because that’s where you had found comfort, but quite often it was a mistake.
 
A.C. Yeah, that’s not comfort, it’s a false perception, I know what you’re talking about…
 
G.C. Exactly!  It’s a false comfort and when you come to terms with it you realize that what going back to old patterns truly does is numbing you; moving forward after you have been numbing yourself up is even harder than it was before.  That’s because you have been blocking life out, whether it was mentally with anger, with fear, with narcotics, or with alcohol.  But we are geared for it, to overcome fear.  The human mind and body are more amazing and powerful than we think.
 
George has read about me, he knows I can endure this conversation with an honest heart. 
 
On August 15th, 2013 in his speech to Judge Wu, George Christie says that he has always tried his best to find his true north and that his life is now in the judge’s hands.  Judge Wu looks at him and says: “You’ve done a lot of amazing things, you have travelled in a world most of us have no clue what it’s all about, and you did it freely.  You did it within your own ranks and with your enemies.”  Judge Wu knows everything about George Christie.  Many are the letters from the leaders of opposing motorcycle clubs who testimony on his behalf, for he had truly tried to make a difference throughout his service, known among the outlaws as ‘the reasonable person’.  “But I suspect you did this for selfish reasons” Judge Wu adds – “I don’t mean this in a bad way, you did it for the benefit of the Hells Angels and of the culture you belonged to.” George agrees, he would be lying otherwise.  He has always considered the collateral damages, but he has always put the club first.  “You are not a bad man” – Judge Wu concludes before pronouncing the 10 month sentence upon him – “But you are not Madre Teresa.”
 

G.C. I remember something that my martial art teacher told me when I was studying and I had just become a Black Belt.  I thought I was really cool for that, an accomplished fighter.  He probably saw this almighty silly magnificence in me, so we started talking about the human body and how frail it was.  He made me understand that beating up someone and destroying the human body wasn’t so much of an accomplishment; Black Belt?  Big deal!  But if we could become healers, that would be a real accomplishment!  Today I much rather heal something than break it.  I have these principles instilled in me and I keep all this stuff organized inside of me.  I revisit it, I think about what he taught me, urging me that I would probably make something out of his teachings in ten years from then.  
He was right; I am, today.  I am making a lot out of it, as I get older. 

At the very beginning of this story I urged you: this is not a quest about whom the Hells Angels are or about what they do.  If you were hopelessly expecting a secret revelation I am sure you are left with a bitter aftertaste of disappointment.  Nevertheless, if you have followed the melting of questions into answers, as I had described the pattern of this interview, I am confident you may have enjoyed the ride. 
 
We all make choices we must live with – I had quoted in my introduction – I need the constant reminder to the clues I witness down the road.  Responsibilities for our actions – I had also mentioned, driven by past connections and literary references that keep coming back, urging me to ask myself if we are bound to tell the same story all over again, just changing the name of our characters over the centuries, for Norman Mailer had analyzed a history which is still current, static at times.
 
Then we make new ones, choices, in order to deal with those we have made in the past, and to keep looking across. – I had concluded. 

Looking across, as it turns out talking with George, is the highway to overcome fear.  
I looked across while driving to Ventura and while being open to anything that would come out of this adventure.  We all make the best choices we can; sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.  But as long as we hold ourselves responsible for those choices, we are also willing to remember what we were told ten years ago.  
That’s how the story is always worth being passed on, especially when by sharing it and writing it down we find some kind of encouragement, that I like to call healing. 

NEW trailer for The Last American Outlaw by Nick Mead!
Thank you everyone for the great response to this story and for sharing it on the web.  It was an amazing experience.  Thank you James for more beautiful photos and for your patience.  But most of all, thank you, George Christie. 

COMING NEXT DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF with PRESENT SHOCK DON’T MISS IT!