In the outside world the tattoos would have made Scott look like a circus freak, but in Leavenworth they were badges of honor, particularly one tattoo cut directly under his heart. It was a cloverleaf with the numbers 6-6-6 printed over it. Even fish knew what the tattoo represented. It was the insignia of the Aryan Brotherhood, the most savage white prison gang ever formed. The three sixes referred to a mark given by "the beast" - the Antichrist, or son of Satan.
The bureau's gang expert, Craig Trout, explained. "What we are dealing with is a professional lifelong criminal... An AB member like Dallas Scott is actually doing a life sentence - only he's doing it on the installment plan, serving a few years at a time.
Of the prison gangs, the Aryan Brotherhood is the most secretive, and with good reason. Any member who betrays its secrets is automatically sentenced to die.
As we talked that morning, I noticed that Scott marked events in his life by prison incidents. "I hit the federal system the same year they executed the red Light bandit" he said. Seconds later, he added that something had happened. "About the same time as the race wars at San Quentin." When this was called to his attention, Scott shrugged. "Ive never had much concept of life outside jail. I was twelve years old the first time I went in and haven't really been out long enough to know anything else but this life."
"As the years go by and you get older, you realize more and more that your life is considered a failure by society's standards," Scott continued. "You are a jailbird. You don't have any money, no house, no job, no status. In society's eyes you are a worthless piece of ****. Now, you can buy into what society says and decide you really are a piece of **** or you can say ,"**** society, Ill live by my own rules. They aren't society's but they are mine and that's what I've done. In your society, I may not be anybody, but in here I am."
In 1966 he robbed a bank in California, was caught and sentence to San Quentin. At the time, San Quentin was in the midst of what prison officials now acknowledge was an all-out race war. The racial turmoil in the world outside prison, where fires were burning in Watts, Detroit, and Chicago, was magnified in San Quentin. Blacks and whites were stabbing one another, not because of anything anyone had done, but simply because of their skin color. "Your hate was at peak" Scott recalled. "Your adrenaline was at a peak, everything was at a peak level all the time. It was like a jungle. You'd get yourself fired up, so by the time the cell doors opened, you'd be ready. You'd have a whole head of steam. You didn't have time to analyze or rationalize or philosophize, you just got strapped (got yourself a knife) and went out of your cell and did what you had to."
It was in this climate that the Aryan Brotherhood was born. Bureau officials claim that Dallas Scott was one of its founding members. I asked Scott if he recalled the birth of the AB, and without acknowledging that he was a member, he explained why the gang had formed at San Quentin. He didn't hide his racial attitude. "Whites are everyones natural enemies," he said. "Minorities stick together, but the white man by nature walks alone. I've seen whites sit by and watch a bunch of ******s attack a white kid in a cell. These yahoos were sitting there and thinking, "Goddamn, I'm sure glad its not me being ****ed" but if one white guy had the courage to say 'hey leave the kid alone' and he stepped forward, then there was a good chance that the pack will back off. See people who herd together deep down are afraid of someone who has the balls to stand up on his own. Now I ain't saying that the white man who stands up ain't going to get his ass kicked. But when he stands up, he's letting everyone know that he's willing to do what it takes, and get killed if necessary, because he don't like what's going down, and that is intimidating to someone who runs in a herd like blacks do.
"At San Quentin the herds were getting out of hand and a bunch of old white bulls simply said "**** this" and they decided to stand up, and you can be damn sure that when these old bulls formed the tip (Aryan Brotherhood), there were a bunch of white guys, who either weren't strong enough on their own or were afraid, who were damn glad."
Scott's explanation, it turned out was largely based on fact. The Aryan Brotherhood originally formed to protect white inmates from being victimized by black and Hispanic prison gangs. The Black Guerrilla Family, a militant, black revolutionary gang with ties to the Black Panther party, was the first known prison gang, and was strong at San Quentin at the time. Chicanos were divided into two gangs: The Mexican Mafia, composed of urban Hispanics from Maravilla section of East Los Angeles, and their hated rivals, the Nuestra Familia (Our family), made up of rural Chicanos. The Black and Hispanic gangs preyed on whites, as well as on members of their own race.
A study by the criminal Intelligence section of Arizona Department of public safety later suggested that several outlaw bikers who called themselves the Diamond Tooth Gang were the forerunners of the Aryan Brotherhood. The gang members, each of whom had diamond shaped pieces of glass embedded in his front teeth, tried to recruit other whites at San Quentin but failed to attract sufficient "soldiers". Next came the Blue Bird gang, so-called because its members had bluebirds tattooed on their necks, but it didn't last. The Aryan Brotherhood was born when remnants of the Blue Birds joined forces with several neo-Nazi groups. It is unlikely that it would have survived, either, except for an unusual tactic adopted by its original members. Blacks and Hispanics had always relied on numbers for strength, and routinely pressured new inmates to join. The Aryan Brotherhood took the opposite tack. It based its membership on each others physical strength and willingness to kill. Anyone who wished to join the AB had to meet a "blood in, blood out" rule.
As soon as it was organized, members of the AB put themselves under what they called "kill on sight" orders. When the cell doors at San Quentin opened each morning, AB members were required to hunt down and attack black inmates regardless of whether they belonged to a gang. The white gang was convinced that the best way to keep other gangs at bay was to prove that the Aryan Brotherhood was the most ruthless and savage gang in prison.
California prison officials do not know the precise time when this kill on sight order went into effect. But in 1970, the California system began seeing a dramatic increase in gang related violence. Seventy nine gang related assaults and eleven deaths were reported that year. In 1971, there were 123 assaults and nineteen deaths and in the following years 186 assaults and thirty four gang related deaths. The Aryan Brotherhood was not solely responsible for the increases, but among convicts in San Quentin it did earn a reputation for being bloodthirsty. Its founding members, estimated by prison officials to be one hundred men, tolerated "zero disrespect" from other inmates. Even a casual comment about the brotherhood could result in a stabbing if members felt "their" brothers had been insulted.
Legend has it that the best and most respected AB warriors at San Quentin had tattoos of fierce Norsemen drawn on their arms. I noticed that Scott had a Norseman tattoo, among many others on his forearm.
When black militancy began to wane in the mid seventies, the various gangs decided to sign a truce. This brought to a close what convicts called the California race wars, but none of the gangs dispersed. The politically motivated Black Guerrilla Family was eventually replaced by the drug dealing bloods and cripps. The AB developed into an organized predatorial gang whose main interest became protection, extortion, and narcotics in prison. The white gang also began to specialize in contract murders for other gangs and individuals, Caltabiano wrote, maintaining its savage reputation. - excerpts taken from "The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison," by Pete Earley. READ THE BOOK!
The book entitled The Hot House by Pete Earley, is based on interviews from AB’s in the federal prison system and is a very accurate portrayal of the gang’s sophistication and its violent potential.
See also: Aryan Brotherhood; AB members & associates; Aryan Brotherhood of Texas; AB Trial 2006; Thomas Silverstein