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("Come and Get It")
- It was just like the motorcycle.
Anybody who has any kind of sensuality in them at all
would get a tremendous boot out of just
what the Angels call "screwing it on",
just getting a big bike and just running it flat out
as fast as it will go.
I used to take it out at night on the Coast Highway,
just drunk out of my mind,
ride it for 20 and 30 miles
in just short pants and a t-shirt.
It's a beautiful feeling.
("Come and Get It")
I recognize it as an illusion and a fantasy.
But for somebody who has nothing else to go back to,
this is maybe one of the happiest minutes of his life.
And you can imagine if that's true,
just how powerful he'd feel if he could
give you one of these, you know,
kind of, yeah, in the head with a karate,
it's not a chop.
It's a head snap.
The Angels, a lot of the Angels are big on karate.
("Come and Get It")
- Hunter Thompson, our guest,
is a new kind of journalist.
The journalist who is not detached,
who becomes involved,
and in fact, he was almost an honorary member,
or a dishonored member,
of the Oakland Hells Angels.
You were with them for about a year or so?
- [Hunter] About a year, yeah.
They claim, the Angels anyway,
claim that they don't look for trouble.
You know, they just try to live peaceful lives
and be left alone.
But on the other hand, they go out
and put themselves into situations
deliberately and constantly,
that are either gonna humiliate somebody else,
or cause them to avoid humiliation by fighting.
- [Studs] You speak of foul fighting.
They stomp someone,
you were stomped,
in which there's no question of rules involved here,
just beating, violence for the sake of violence.
- [Hunter] Well they have a rule,
it's bylaw either number 10 or 11,
that says, "When an Angel punches a non-Angel
"all other Angels will participate."
So I was a victim of bylaw number 10 or 11.
I should have known that though.
It's a lapse of caution.
("Four by Nine (Bed Version)")
All during this stomping
I could see the guy who'd originally
teed off on me just out of, you know, nowhere
with no warning, circling around with a rock about,
must have weighed about 20 pounds.
I tried to keep my eyes on him
because I didn't wanna get my skull fractured.
("Four by Nine (Bed Version)")
- [Studs] Your observations are more than about the Angels,
they're about our society.
And it's since World War Two pretty much, isn't it,
this phenomenon has come to be?
- [Hunter] I think the Angels came out of World War Two,
and this whole kind of alienated, violent subculture
of people wandering around looking for, you know,
either an opportunity, or if not an opportunity,
then vengeance for not getting an opportunity.
Then they get to be 30, and suddenly they wake up
one morning and they realize, you know,
there are no more chances.
It's all gone.
It makes them meaner, you know,
and maybe they want to get back at the people
who put them in this terrible,
this dead end tunnel.
- [Studs] Now who are these people
they want to get back at?
- [Hunter] Oh, they don't know.
It's kind of "they", paranoid.
You know, it's you, it's me,
it's whoever might come too close to them on the highway
in a car.
It's somebody that makes a remark in a bar to them.
They call them the citizens,
anybody who looks respectable
and looks like he isn't doomed, you know,
like he has some kind of option, or money,
or a home, or all the things they don't have.
("Another Man's Treasure")
- [Studs] What do you see for us, for everything?
- Christ, it's bad.
I mean, I'm not very optimistic.
I think one of the most important things is to recognize
that we do have this mounting violence in us,
and then to find the reasons.
And once you find that, it's like curing a boil.
And if people insist on saying,
"I am a very gentle person
"and only these little bad gang of hoodlums
"over there is ugly and mean,"
then it's just putting off the recognition
that the same venom that the Angels are spewing
around in public,
a lot of people are just keeping bottled up in private.
I think this technological,
the science of obsolescence,
or the fact that people are becoming obsolete.
The people who are most affected by this
are the ones least capable of understanding
the reasons for it,
so the venom builds up much quicker.
It feeds on their ignorance.
Until you recognize what's happening,
you know, what makes you do these wild things.
Christ, I used to throw beer bottles into bar mirrors
and stuff like that, and get stomped, always.
I can't remember ever winning a fight.
I don't do it anymore because I finally caught onto
what was happening.
Until you recognize it,
it's like an albatross around your neck.
("Another Man's Treasure")
Yeah, I learned a lot about myself
just writing about the Angels.
I was seeing a very ugly side of myself a lot of times.
I'm much more conscious of the kind of anger
that lurks everywhere.
I don't do any, you know,
I keep my mouth shut now.
I've turned into a professional coward.
("Unfiltered")
I wouldn't just call the Hells Angels in Oakland
the only violent part of our society.
I think Lyndon Johnson is, you know,
would be a good Hells Angel.
The Angels reflect not only the lower segments
of the society, but the higher and, you know,
where violence takes a much more sophisticated
and respectable form.
("Unfiltered")
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Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

85 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on September 20, 2016
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