MONGOLS VS. EME: DAVID MAY GET HIS ASS KICKED BY GOLIATH
A large number of LA readers have emailed asking if I saw CHRIS BLATCHFORD'S two-part story on the battle between the Mongols and the Eme on FOX 11 NEWS. Yes I did. A number of these emailers asked me what I thought about the story. I'm pleased that the inthehat audience is as interested in the subject and as eager to learn as I am. While I consider myself more of an ardent student than an expert, I'm rather humbled to be asked my opinion on this situation.
First off, Blatchford did a very good job. I'm also amazed that FOX 11 gave him him enough air time to tell the story as thoroughly as he did. While I don't know Blatchford, from his past coverage of criminal organizations and crime issues, I get the sense he's extremely dialed in and has terrific sources. He seems to have more than an academic interest in the subject.
For out of town readers, here's the outline. The Mongols is a motorcycle gang based in SOCAL with chapters all over the country. They're the Un-Cola, a slightly different flavor for people who don't like the taste of the original -- Hell's Angels. As the world witnessed in LAUGHLIN, NEVADA two years ago, the Angels and Mongols get along about as well as the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Laughlin battle put three soldiers in the cemetery and a bunch more in the hospital.
While the Angels have predominantly been a white group, the Mongols have an open enrollment policy that offers membership to Hispanics. According to the FOX 11 piece, (and it seems to line up pretty well with what I found out) the Mongols have been heavily recruiting among SOCAL neighborhoods. Essentially, a lot of the new members are SURENOS with their cultural roots deep in the neighborhoods. Rather than seeing themselves as traditional outlaw bikers and iron horse iconoclasts, these new members could be better described as Leather Homies. In fact, as the FOX 11 story reported, some of these new members don't own bikes and don't even know how to ride.
When they put on the leathers, they didn't necessarily divest themselves of certain "allegiances" and cultural modalities. They took the Sureno culture with them. So they basically fly both flags -- the screaming skull and the black hand. There's a saying about a house divided against itself.
What probably happened, and this is speculation, is that once there was a critical mass of Sureno membership within the Mongol organization, the brothers perceived the entire organization as merely another set in the larger Sureno universe. And as Surenos, the natural order of things is that they should get in line with the rest and begin to pay tribute.
Apparently, it hasn't worked out that way. The Mongols have officially refused to pay taxes. In response, the Eme issued one of its famous greenlights on the Mongols.
Bodies have fallen on both sides and it looks like a low intensity shooting war has broken out.
The truth is, the Mongols didn't pick this fight. It looks like the fight came to them. Just as it came to MS, Maravilla and other tax-resister gangs.
If this was a horse race, the smart money would be on the Brothers. In terms of sheer numbers, organization, intelligence gathering and horsepower in prison, the Brothers are in complete control. Any Sureno with a strap and some heart is now free to pop a Mongol anywhere, anytime and be assured of earning a stripe. SOCAL Mongol membership right now is reported to be around 200. When you consider that a single Sureno neighborhood like Avenues can muster 800 men at arms, 600 for El Sereno, and equally large numbers in neighborhoods like Florencia, CVTF, VNE, RSP, San Fer, Pacas -- well, you get the idea. Think of a sledgehammer hitting a flea.
This is not to imply that Mongols don't have heart and aren't willing to get grimy. But the numbers facing the Mongols are just staggering.
Will discretion be the better part of valor? We'll see.