Review: Under and Alone–The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America’s Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (Hardcover)

4 Star, Crime (Organized, Transnational), Intelligence (Government/Secret)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Over-Sold, Interesting but on the Margins,

January 5, 2006
William Queen
In a global economy of perhaps $5 trillion a year, fully another $2 trillion a year is illicit (see the book by Moises Naim of that title). This means not only that there is $2 trillion a year in illegal activities that include murder, rape, trade in women and children, and so on, but also that this $2 trillion is not taxed and therefore does not contribute to the social programs that are essential to keep a nation strong. Since motorcycle gangs are now global, vicious, and largely “out of control,” the book struck me as helpful and worth reading.

It is worth reading, and there is no question but that the author risked his life, perhaps even ruined his life, by spending a long time penetrating the Mongols, arguably the most vicious (and unwashed) of the motorcycle gangs.

I put the book down with three thoughts:

1) There has got to be a better way to put gangs like this out of business. Cities have sanitation codes, there ought to be a way to keep people like this in remediation without having to risk officer’s lives penetrating their gangs.

2) An awful lot of taxpayer dollars and a lot of very high-quality officer time went into this, at great personal risk, with relatively marginal results.

3) Gangs share a couple of similarities with terrorists: they have access to very high-powered lawyers and a great deal of money when they need it; and law enforcement is ham-strung by out of date laws and conventions that insist on treating out and out ruthless “Mongols” with the same rules used for more civilized members of society. I cannot but help conclude that we ought to have a “no holds barred” option on gangs in the same way that we now have a no holds barred option on terrorists.

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