He served in the United States Air Force, provided personal security to President Jimmy Carter’s family, is an avid biker, expert mechanic, an accomplished writer and photojournalist, a freedom fighter, a motorcycle rights advocate, and a 2005 Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee. That’s right, I am talking about Rev. John Herlihy or “Rogue”, as he’s known in the biker world.
With a list of accomplishments like Rogue’s, it is easy to see why people call him an American legend. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Rogue and learn more about the interesting life this man has lived. Please join me as I uncover more about the many hats worn by the one and only John “Rogue” Herlihy.
DL: Considering your victories against government discrimination of biker’s rights, how would you advise other rights groups to confront the government on a local, state, or federal level?
JH: When the motorcyclists were having issues with the government and law enforcement I looked at what Martin Luther King was doing. I think he was a great man and what he was teaching was what I tried to follow.
You are not going to please all the people all the time. Some issues are debatable but some are just wrong. If you look at our government and all the corruption involved, I often refer to it as the largest gang in the country. The way to fight the government is to continue to expose them. When there is legislation, look at who is going to profit from it and then ask where is the money going.
Any person or group that wants a new law or to change an existing law should try and find a friendly legislator to introduce a bill to do so. This is not always as easy as it may sound but it can be done.
In Bridgeport, Connecticut, bikers protested peacefully to repeal the helmet law. No violence was needed. Sheer numbers and organization. The biggest issues were some minor traffic violations. All in all, it was well organized and orderly. This worked in the past and I believe it would and will today.
There has been an element that seems to want to add violence to protests now and I feel that is defeating the purpose. The Biggest Gang in the country will win by number and power.
DL: Aside from having the helmet law repealed in Connecticut, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment(s)?
JH: I think that I continue to fight for motorcycle rights and that I teach others how to do it as well.
I was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame – Freedom Fighter section in 2005.
I am also very proud to be one of the people who provided personal security to Gloria Carter Spann, the sister of President Jimmy Carter. I also did the eulogy at her funeral in Plains, Georgia after she died from Cancer. You can see my article on that here.
DL: Who or what inspired to become a freedom fighter?
JH: Martin Luther King, Jr. is my biggest inspiration. His teachings are part of the model I used for my decades long career as a freedom fighter and rights activist.
DL: Along with being a Freedom Fighter, you have served in the U.S. Air Force, you are an expert mechanic, former presidential security agent, and an accomplished writer and photojournalist; is there anything you've wanted to do that you have not yet accomplished?
JH: Yes, and that is to expose the corruption in government and law enforcement to the American people. I, along with others like the American Motorcycle Association, continue to track what the Motorcycle Task Force is doing - which include profiling motorcyclists with Motorcycle Only roadside stops.
I have also been working with other motorcycle advocacy groups to try to fight some of the current EPA regulations pertaining to motorcycles which is a lot more than what comes out of the exhaust pipe. With the new administration investigating the EPA we are hopeful that will include motorcycles.
DL: Do you have any words of wisdom you'd like impart on the next generation of bikers?
JH: I hope that by my actions, you realize that you can change things in the world.
There are certain rights that are granted to everyone in this country and if you feel that any of your rights are being violated there are steps you can take to correct the situation.
There is an old saying: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
By making noise the wheel is saying I need grease.
You can and should be involved in everything that affects you and those you care for - make some noise and let the world know.