If we started a new career, and within the first week that job choice had led to being shot point-blank in the back, with blood “squirting out of my chest like you had your thumb on a garden hose,” we would probably take that as a very obvious sign from God that we should stay the hell away from that profession forever. Also, if our job required that we infiltrate and take down the f*cking Hell’s Angels, we would once again stay away forever. Call us old-fashioned.
In fact, call us anything except Jay Dobyns, above, who survived that gunshot to the back and that trip inside the unusually deadly biker gang during his career with the ATF. Dobyns’ “adventures,” which also include a fair college career as a receiver at Arizona, are detailed in his book NO ANGEL, which probably doesn’t have many jokes. As the TUCSON OBSERVER (via THE WIZ) reports, Dobyns was an undercover agent with the ATF, a decision he made with the consultation of only the most trustworthy of friends: Hollywood.
The television show “Miami Vice” was entertainment for some, inspiring to Dobyns. Actor Don Johnson made life as an undercover agent look appealing.
“I thought I could be the next Sonny Crockett,” Dobyns said. “The world that Hollywood and television creates for us is very different from the reality of it. It’s not a glamorous business.
[…] “I was driving an ‘82 Malibu where the windows didn’t work. I had a floor-mounted radio that I had to throw a towel over to go meet with people in the undercover world. Instead of pulling into mansions, you’re pulling into a trailer park. Instead of super models handing you martinis, it’s a women - if she has a full head of teeth, you’re lucky - with a stale Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.”
We’re sure PBR is just delighted to get an endorsement like that.
The book details Dobyns’ entire career with the ATF, including an acrimonious end in 2006 when most of the highest charges that he had helped bring against the Angels were dropped. Dobyns quit the force and became an outspoken critic, which was probably a bad, bad idea; old grudges die hard in both the lawless and law enforcement, so much so that when his house burned down (with his family barely escaping the blaze in time), the ATF was less than sympathetic:
Dobyns, an outcast by the ATF for being outspoken about the case and the prosecutions of it, said his former department even tried to link him to the fire.
“When our house burned down, my family is looking at me like, ‘This is never going to leave us. This is going to continue to haunt us forever,’ ” Dobyns said.
We’re not sure why, in the face of such acrimony, Dobyns would publicize a book about that career; we can think of all sorts of better ways to “put the past behind him,” as the OBSERVER put it. Our first suggestion? “Do anything but write a book about it.” But once again it’s made abundantly clear: we’re not Jay Dobyns.