10 Do: No Dealing
One of the most surprising aspects of the Sons organization is their strict no dealing policy. For all the times they were hard up, they never resorted to dealing in Charming. In season 4, they did reluctantly enter the trade but they never resorted to dealing in the charter city.
In a world where almost every crime show is about dealing, it’s refreshing to see one try to stay out of that life at all costs. The show was much better for it, as it gave the Sons some kind of morality to work within the crimes they chose to involve themselves in.
9 Don’t: Excluding Certain People
The First 9 instituted a strict rule against the inclusion of African Americans. This rule was the breaking point for Juice, who learned that he was half black on his father’s side. This information was used to blackmail him into betraying the club.
Luckily, Jax saw how ridiculously outdated this concept was. In the last season, the club made history by patching over members of the African American bike gang. T.O. Cross became the first openly black member of the club, issuing a new state of biker gang law throughout all of the charters. It’s sad that this happened so late in the series and that we never got to see where it led.
8 Do: No Women Allowed
As much as women like Tara and Gemma sacrificed for the club, it’s a shame that no woman was ever considered to wear the patch. Gemma herself went through more and gave more for the club than most of the members. She was as close to an honorary member as the club ever came. At no point did Gemma even so much as own a Harley, SAMCRO’s trademark. This rule arguably caused the most damage.
If Tara felt closer to the club, maybe she wouldn’t have turned on them. She was a vital member of the organization even without a patch. It’s doubtful the Sons would ever have a strong female presence, but keeping the old ladies so much at bay ended up having catastrophic results for the club. It’s unfortunate that none of them ever saw that.
7 Don’t: Act Against Your President
An organization with a strong leader is obviously a much stronger one. Unfortunately, the club fell victim of lots of infighting over who would get to wield the gavel. This trend went back all the way to the days of the First 9. Jax spent most of the first half of the series trying to slowly take power away from Clay’s presidency. Much of the second half is about Clay trying and failing to get it back.
Throughout the series, many different characters warned Jax about the dangers of messing with the club president. Many wanted him to just get in line and there were times where he did. Then, unfortunately, Clay would continue to push his stepson further and further away. Jax could’ve easily inherited and changed the club once Clay’s term was over and Clay could’ve compromised more with Jax’s point of view. Unfortunately, these two were always destined to be at each other’s throats.
6 Do: No Selling To Kids
There was never a point in the series where children were involved in their criminal activities. They could have easily had more business selling weapons to minors and high school gang members. Instead, part of their commitment to trying to keep Charming away from their circle of violence was keeping that violence away from the kids.
Unfortunately, the violence came to the children anyway. Abel spent most of his childhood rocked by the horrors he witnessed due to his father’s lifestyle. He was taken across the ocean by extremists. He saw much more which left him with deep scars as the show ends with heavy hints that Abel will follow in his father’s footsteps.
5 Don’t: Club Before Family
Members were expected to be loyal to the club above all else, even family. Obviously, this proved impossible several times in the series. Most notably, Jax and Tara’s relationship frequently put the club in danger. Tara was constantly being pressured by the law and even turned on her husband for the sake of her family. Instead of taking care of Tara, Jax decided to go along with it to save his family.
Club and family lines were also hard for Opie. In the opening season, Opie was pressured from his wife to get away from the club. He tried to pull away, but Jax continued to pull him back in with the promise of money and change. This eventually led to Opie and his wife paid the ultimate price. Jax put club before family at last, but he ended up sharing Opie’s fate. In one of the last shots of the series, Abel is shown holding Jax’s ring. Clearly, the tug between the Sons and the Teller family is going to continue to a whole new generation.
4 Do: Enforce Street Justice
One part of their self assigned job that the Sons always took to was the enforcement of their own brand of street justice. When anyone in town thought that the law couldn’t handle their problem, they went to the sons for help. The most famous example of this was when Elliot Oswald’s daughter was attacked at a city function. The Sons took it upon themselves to find the culprit.
They also frequently acted as mediators for rival gang negotiations. Many of their shaky alliances were made stronger by them doing small jobs to increase trust between SAMCRO and another club. This was primarily how they rebuilt their trust with the Mayans after so many years of fighting.
3 Don’t: Protect Your Charter Town
One of the main things SAMCRO was expected to be was protectors of Charming. While they did occasionally solve problems that the people could not, more often they brought destruction to Charming’s door.
No consequence hit the Sons harder than when a child got a hold of one of their weapons and took it to school. Understandably, the city quickly turned on the Sons, thinking they sold him the gun. They figured out what really happened and worked harder to get out of the gun running business, but to an extent, the damage was done. There were no more scenes where townsfolk were proud to have the Sons as members of their community.
2 Do: Say This Is On Me (At Least Once)
There is an unwritten rule that all members of SAMCRO are expected to follow. It doesn’t seem to be a literal rule but it happens so often that one could almost assume it’s written into the bylaws. As a member of the Sons of Anarchy, one is expected to make a massive mistake or two. However, there is a way to own up to it.
Say, “this is on me.” That one phrase is probably the most repeated one in the entire series. Almost every cast member says it when they admit to some screw-up or another. The phrase is such a strong part of the Sons terminology that it’s still used almost as much by the characters on the spinoff, Mayans MC.
1 Don’t: Never Lie To The Club
This rule was the simplest and should’ve been the easiest to uphold, but somehow, none of the Sons truly understood this. Almost every character told a lie to the club to protect themselves or someone else. The biggest, and most damaging, lie was by far the one from Clay Morrow. Clay and Gemma conspired to sabotage JT’s bike and lied about it. The revelation of this lie to Jax was ultimately the thing that led to Clay’s downfall.
The thing that undoubtedly destroyed the Sons was the huge web lies and betrayals that ate away at the trust that made the Sons strong in the first place. When the gang was united, they were unbeatable. The lies led to betrayal, murder, and countless ruined lives. Ultimately, the biggest takeaway from the show is that lies and distrust destroy families, both the ones you choose and the ones that choose you.