Outlaw motorcycle club walks back “nomad” charter policy, leading to intense standoff, fire fight

OAKLAND, CA—Amid a remote work fiasco seen erupting among tech companies (namely, Apple) that has even made second-rate hardware developers suddenly look attractive to young engineers, the infamous Heavens Devils motorcycle club has themselves sparked controversy as their president announced Tuesday afternoon that the outlaw motorcycle club would no longer be so “liberal” regarding its nomad membership policy.

A nomad is a motorcycle club member who does not formally belong to a specific charter or group; they may live in a geographic area with fewer than required members to form a charter, or they may voluntarily choose the “nomad” designation as it reinforces their personal life choice to pursue a more solitary existence.

An outlaw motorcycle club finds itself having to reckon with a global pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak, which has changed the way Americans work, has turned those operations on their head, reshaping how outlaw motorcycle clubs like the Heavens Devils assemble. Established charters by and large have needed to respond to the public health crises affecting its members by adopting a charter-agnostic “nomad” policy. The revered table meetings (often viewed sacred and referred to as “church,” or “chapel,” by members) have long been conducted around an ornate table within a motorcycle club’s central nucleus. Responding to the advice of public health officials, however, these meetings have more recently been held via video conferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Club members have held competing beliefs about these nomadic video conferenced table meetings.

Some have embraced the underlying principles that necessitated them. “I think, regardless of how we got here, nomad has staying power,” Manny Ortiz, an Anaheim club charter member reflected.

“Fundamentally, as bikers, we lead a life that is outside of the norm. So why are we forcing norms on our members? If I ride out to Joshua Tree, find peace there, and I want to stay, what’s stopping me? I can find an internet café to connect to the club meeting. Do I really need to ride back to attend in person?”  

Manny Ortiz, an Anaheim club charter member

Others have found themselves opposed to the nomad policy. “I feel like a jackass leading club meetings here at the head of the table in an empty room, you know what I’m sayin’?” Anaheim club president Matías Alvarez framed rhetorically. “I crave the spirit of family and the chance encounters with my brothers you couldn’t get on a computer screen, where we come together and solve a real tough problem, like how those chumps in Mongrels M.C. are encroaching on our territory, and how we gotta bust some caps in their asses!”  

When asked his opinion of his charter president’s concerns, Ortiz rebutted: “Alvarez can blow it out his ass! I bet his argument is rooted in his opinionated bullshit, completely disregarding studies that show we work better at home.”  

A “tone deaf” memo finds nomadic bikers angry with their governing body

In a memo sent to charters nationwide via fax machine, Laxon “Lax” Yeller, the president of the Heavens Devils Original Charter addressed the nomad policy to club members:

The early ride-in phase of our hybrid nomad club pilot has served as a righteous opportunity to come together, recharge with fellow brothers, and meet new prospects in person. This has been a transition for many of us as we’ve navigated changing cases rates in many parts of our country, so thank you for your continued commitment to brotherhood as we continue to shift forward.

I’m writing to you today with two updates, one about changes we’re making to our hybrid pilot, the other about its timing.

When we announced the pilot a year ago, we said it would be a learning experience for all of us. And we’re committed ourselves to adapting along the way to create a flexible environment that enables this club, regardless of charter, to thrive. Based on the feedback and insights we’ve received from you and your charter presidents, we’re making the following adjustment:

Club members participating in the pilot will ride to their respective charter club house 3 days a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a day set across the charter, to take part in important club meetings and voting, as well as to engage in important in-person club activity, including but not limited to:

-Beer drinking

-Chicken wing eating

-Spontaneous arm wrestling

-Billiards playing

-Darts throwing

-Heavy metal headbanging

-Existential conversations

-General shenanigans

Each charter will work through the decision about which day is right for them, and you’ll hear from your charter president, vice president, or other club leader in their absence (e.g., Sergeant of Arms, Road Captain, Treasurer, Enforcer, etc.), soon. As before, many club members will continue to have the option of existing as outlaw bikers in a nomadic capacity two days a week. Depending on your rank, you will also have the option to exist in a nomadic capacity for up to 2-4 weeks a year.

We are excited to move forward with the pilot and believe this revised framework will enhance our ability to operate as an outlaw motorcycle club flexibly, while preserving in-person club membership that is so essential to our culture. We also know that we still have a lot to learn. And we are committed to listening, adapting, and growing together in the weeks and months ahead.

In the near term, we continue to navigate the pandemic together as the situation evolves. We are monitoring the data closely and you will continue to receive updates on health and safety protocols for your location as necessary from our COVID-19 Response Team. In the meantime, it’s encouraging that encouraging that children under 5 years old are now eligible for vaccination in many countries, and I urge anyone who is able to get a vaccine or a booster to do so if you haven’t already.

As we continue on this journey, I want to say how grateful I am for everything you do. I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, the impact we can have on the lives we touch (as well as the ones take away), and the outstanding club that makes it all possible. I look forward to working with you to create a flexible environment at Heavens Devils motorcycle club  where, together, we can make an even greater difference in the lives of our enemies (by kicking their asses) around the world.


Intense standoff leads to firefight

Despite having the semblance of a “commitment to brotherhood,” many Heavens Devils club members found their president’s memo to be “woefully uninspired, tone deaf, and obsolete.”

In quick succession to the club letting individual charters have their own discretion as to how stingiest these policies are, many nomadic bikers have found their values displaced.

“You can expect that you will be required to be at the club house at 9AM, Monday through Sunday, especially for Church,” a Texas-based charter president wrote to his charter members in a memo of his own. “It’s time to get back to work and normalcy.”

Needless to say, charter members were not happy, with as many as 5 refusing to abandon the flexibility of their nomadic posts.

“Drop your pieces and fall in line, you drama queens,” shouted Chaz Digger, Sargant in Arms of the Austin, Texas charter of the Heavens Devils outlaw motorcycle club. “This is not a matter up for a vote.”

Wielding semi-automatic handguns pointed at each other in Tarantino-style dramatics, club members stood their ground in an intense stalemate, each with piercing eyes fixed on the brother next to him as fingers hovered over firearm triggers.

“Nomad or nothing,” said Louis Gutiérrez, a newly elected club member who had been promoted from prospect over Zoom.

“Drop it, chump, or go back to cleaning up toilets. The next one won’t be yours!” Digger retorted, fuming with rage.

“Ha! You call demanding me to clean my apartment over Zoom a prospecting punishment?” Gutiérrez quipped. “You’re like my mother telling me to clean my room. And I just showed you a screenshot of a clean apartment I found in Google image search. My apartment is filthy!”

“That does it!” Digger bellowed, thunder in his voice as he pointed his weapon directly at Gutiérrez and opened fire.

“Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!” could be audibly heard. Shots rang out for several minutes as club members with stark differences of option regarding the future of work charged at each other, violently firing their weapons at once-beloved “brothers.”

As the gunfire ceased and bullet casings hit the pavement below, empty silence filled the air around the violent scene as pools of blood surrounded lifeless bodies.

The future of “nomad” bikers in question (or is it)?

The senseless violence that shook the Heavens Devils outlaw motorcycle club, if nothing else, may serve as a cautionary tale.

Workers have started the “great resignation.”

As a wise 80s principal once said, “Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns.”

When you tell a nomadic biker he mustn’t be nomadic anymore, you just may find yourself on the wrong side of a Glock.

Furthermore, when Orwellian employers overplay their hand thinking they may force “chance encounters” in the spirit of “productivity,” they typically find that half of US workers are willing to quit.