38 years ago..

Fran has a post up about an anti-war speaker she went to see yesterday..It reminded me of an important part of American history that doesn’t get much notice now..

On Feb 26th 1970, although some say it was the 25th..(it was after midnight I do believe) the Bank of America was burned to the ground in Isla Vista, CA. Why would this be important to me? Well, lemme tell ya..

I was a 16 year old high school student living ‘down the road’ in Lompoc, from the mostly college-student community of Isla Vista. I was in my senior year. I was fast becoming an anti-war activist..traveling to Santa Barbara via my ‘thumb’ to attend various rallies and protests against the Vietnam War every week.

Santa Barbara was home to UCSB and SBCC, both were homebase to anti-war activists. There were weekly protests, vigils, and everything else associated with the Anti-War Movement. We had speakers which enthralled us, motivated us and urged us to do whatever it took to end the war. There were wonderful speakers who were well-known Anti-War Activists..it was a time in America that people could still gather and speak their mind. But it all changed that night in Isla Vista.

In the late afternoon of that day, of the burning of the Bank of America, William Kunstler spoke at the stadium nearby, and talked about the Chicago-8, yes..I know it’s mostly known as the Chicago-7..but it was orginally eight ok? But I am getting off track here..

It was a day of speeches and singing and the usual fare that accompanies an anti-war rally. But something was different that day..I still get goose bumps when I think about it..but something was different. It was the second straight day of protests and they were getting progressively angrier and violent. No one was killed in Isla Vista..very few were even arrested.

They didn’t rebuild in the same spot. But there is a plaque that marks the spot were the bank was.

If your interested in this important day in American Anti-war history..check out the Nexus writeup’s here and here. Nexus is the UCSB newspaper. Wikipedia has one as well.

But the main reason I bring this up is that there is a line to be drawn..a direct correlation I believe…because.. three months later, four students were murdered at Kent State by law enforcement officers…and they weren’t’ burning down shit my dear reader.Did they want to put the fear of God into us? Did they want to send ‘us’ a message? I think they did when they killed those four kids at Kent State..it was payback for Isla Vista in my humble opinion.

Edit: I do recall that a student was killed by police a few months later during another attempt to burn down the temporary BofA..Kevin Moran. He was attempting to put out a fire started by students when the cops shot him. The police however tried to say he was shot by a ‘radical’.

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About Dusty, hells most vocal bitch

I am a..brown Cali bitch that is quite the opinionated,political, pain-in-the-ass, in your face kinda girl that also loves baseball and music to a fault. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.--Albert Einstein-*

Posted on March 2, 2008, in BofA, Isla Vista, Kent State. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thank you. I remember the poster and the event vividly. I was 19. That poster was with me on the walls of every place I lived for many years. I also well remember the Kent State shootings 3 mos. later. I remember that I did not look on it with what I could say was “shock” or “horror” so much as ambivalence (I have always hoped it was just unrecognized shock, numbed – we were all pretty numb at that time.) I remember my reply when my dad told me about it in horror. I said, “Hmmm… I was wondering how long it would take.” The really sad thing about it is we did not realize at the time that the shooters were just kids our age without the proper weapons training given live bullets to shoot. I suspect that their fear and adrineline level was just as hig as anyone else on the scene; the only difference was they had the guns and the LIVE ammo. too work with. I believe just little or no training as to how to react in the situation.

    Thanks for the posting
    Byron

  2. It was an important part of America's history Byron. Thank you for reading my thoughts on the era.

  3. Something I have been thinking about since I made that last write. Is it possible that those untrained 19 year old National Guardsmen with live ammo were sent into that volitile situation by those with knowledge of what they were doing and did so knowing they were doing so as an act of provocation?

    “Lest” anyone get excited, it's just a question. The answer could be “No.” (But, what if deep down inside it is “Yes?”)

    Byron

  4. I tried to post this a moment ago but somehow it got deleated at send- I'll try aain.

    Something I have been thinking about  since making that last post. Is it possible that those untrained 19 year old National Guardsmen with live ammo were placed in that voitile situation by those with an understanding of what they were doing and were doing so as an act of provocation?

    “Lest” anyone get excited, it's just a question. The answer could be “No.” (But what if it is “Yes?”)

  5. Dusty
    Where are yoy? Are you not writing and posting any more? God knows we are needed more now than ever!!

    Byron

  6. Dusty I'm sorry I was expecting something new at the home page and missed everything else. Sorry my mistake. It's early and I was up late last night.

    Byron

  7. Dustry

    In ref. to the audasity of a black man. Is it possible that he was put up as a straw man to hillery because the thought was “The county is not ready for a black man, so maybe we can fource the election of a woman even if it is Hillery (who by the way will play ball with us) because the public is so unhappy with Bush?” What they failed to take into consideration was the 18 – 30 year old unemployed voters who were scared and were listening to his promise of jobs, and it backfired. (Or perhaps that was the plan all along.) You see I don't believe that anyone just gets to the Primaries.I believe that they are put there, and not with out reason and calculation.

    Byron

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