There are some people that we expect to go out of their way to help others: nuns, firemen, anyone being played by Morgan Freeman. Other groups, though, are viewed by society as a whole as shady and possibly even dangerous. So it's refreshing to know that even groups of people with bad reputations are capable of doing awesome things. For example ...
When most people hear "biker gang," they don't think, "Hey, that is something I want my kids around." At best, bikers are associated with revving their annoyingly loud motorcycles with the mistaken assumption that everyone within a 2-mile radius enjoys the sound of Thor's farts. At worst, they're drunkenly trashing bars and stabbing people. No one watches Sons of Anarchy with happy tears in their eyes, hoping that this will be their son someday. In fact, the closest connection bikers will have with most of our children is when we pull young Billy aside, point discreetly, and say: "See, son? That's why daddy has to shave every morning."
"I need those blades for shankin'."
How They're Being Awesome
After decades of being shunned by polite society, bikers have hit back ... by protecting the hell out of some abused children.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, a volunteer group with chapters in 36 states, has been using its epic beard power for good since 1995. When the family of an abused kid requests BACA's help via a therapist or government agency, a group of bikers head over to the child's house and present themselves at his or her service. From that point on, if the kid's abuser bothers him or her in any way, a group of goddamn bikers will show up outside the house and stand guard. They'll come over even if the kid had a nightmare and is feeling scared.
Bikers can kick the crap out of the closet monster.
The idea behind child-abuse-fighting biker gangs is that children are usually incredibly intimidated by their abusers, who are of course bigger and stronger than them. But fuck that, bikers are more intimidating, and it turns out the tough guys who abuse children aren't quite so tough when their alleged victims are surrounded by huge wooly mammoths in human form.
This intimidation-for-good can also help children during the legal process. Testifying against an abuser is bad enough for adults, let alone for a frightened kid. So BACA bikers often accompany children to court or parole hearings and then sit down where they're clearly visible to the abuser. If you haven't had your daily dose of schadenfreude yet, imagine the look on some asshole's face when he's expecting a kid to show up with nothing but a scrawny lawyer, and instead sees a fucking biker gang file in.
Based on the research I did over the last couple of hours, I have determined that today's teenagers apparently spend all their time "sexting" (a form of drug use in which a teenager samples six different types of drugs at once) and "vaping" (a form of drug use in which a teenager deliberately contracts ventilator-associated pneumonia in order to trick doctors into giving them a morphine "high"). Obviously, unlike the proud youth of yesteryear, who were directly responsible for killing Hitler, today's selfie-obsessed millennials aren't much into helping people.
How They're Being Awesome
Turns out that North American teenagers regularly toss aside their drugs, pornography, and drug pornography long enough to rescue some goddamned kidnapped kids.
In 2013, a man in Pennsylvania decided to be a real winner and abducted a 5-year-old girl as she played in her front yard. Two local teenage boys heard about the disappearance and set off on a rescue mission ... on their bikes. They soon spotted the kidnapper's car and started a wacky car/bike chase that probably would have been hilarious if there wasn't a crazy pervert involved. Eventually, said kidnapper realized that he'd somehow stepped into the middle of a PG-rated '80s movie, stopped the car, and released the girl.
Later, the kidnapper's further evil plots were foiled when he drove into a giant pile of manure.
Lest you think that that was an exception, and that the rest of North America's teenagers are too busy drinking hand sanitizer and inserting vodka-soaked tampons into their orifices to do anything like it, the same thing happened again. In May 2014, a young woman dressed as a nurse abducted an hours-old baby from a hospital in Quebec. What a kidnapper would want with something that sprays liquid filth from both ends and looks like bubblegum crudely shaped into the form of a potato is anyone's guess, but mine is that it was nothing good. A group of four local teenagers must have agreed, because they, too, decided to track down the abductor's car, presumably after getting in a circle, piling their hands together, and throwing them up in the air, screaming "Oh YEAH!"
As they searched, they sang a swear-free song about how it's OK to express your feelings.
And today's teenagers must come equipped with car homing rays or something, because it took the Canadian team less than three hours to find the woman and report her to the police. The rescued potato-bubblegum lump was returned to her happy parents, the kidnapper was sent for psychiatric evaluation, and the team of teenagers went off to solve the case of the missing necklace at the school gym.
Since they first popped up in 2010, bronies (male fans of the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) have been the target of both media attention and ridicule. It's not easy out there for men who like cartoons and pony toys traditionally associated with young girls, and bronies have faced attacks from both genders: A lot of men think their obsession with ponies is weird, while some women have criticized bronies for "invading" a formerly female-only space and getting dick everywhere. Bronies have even become associated with the men's rights movement, even though Friendship Is Magic is about a matriarchal pony society ruled by magical princesses, which you'd think would make the average MRA's head explode right through his fedora.
How They're Being Awesome
In 2012, a group of bronies decided to raise money for a TV spot that thanked the Friendship Is Magic writers for making such an awesome show. That's a nice gesture, I guess, but isn't really helping anyone. But then things took a different turn: The bronies accidentally raised too much money, so they did what anyone would do and bought a giant pile of fedoras that they could use to fill up an entire Olympic-size swimming pool and then bathe in forever.
Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
"Man, I'm not even in the pool yet, and look at my boner."
No, wait, they decided to donate the excess money to military charity Toys for Tots, and even decided to plug the charity during the ad. Then, realizing that they all seemed to have too much money on their hands, they organized and registered an official charity, the Brony Thank You Fund, which they used to set up a permanent scholarship at CalArts for aspiring animators. The Thank You Fund is now funneling its brony-money into a cancer charity, while another brony group, Bronies for Good, runs blood drives and donates to international aid programs.
It also turns out that the brony/MRA connection is way overblown, and there's a good feminist argument for the existence of bronies. So I'd like to personally apologize for making brony MRA jokes back in this article, and also for all the fedora jokes in this entry.
"This hat only gives me like half a boner. At most."