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Regarding My “Walk-On Part in the War”

“Did you exchange
A walk-on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?”

I’ve been in a couple of bad riots. Riots so bad that yesterday’s tear gas shells are replaced by today’s shotguns where the first round is birdshot, the next two are double-ought buck, and the last round is a slug.

Then the shotguns are not pacifying enough so the next day it’s the National Guard.

You don’t want that. You do not want to be rioting in a city where the army is in the streets with fixed bayonets and full clips.

I remember those moments from my student days in Berkeley. Days that culminated in a little action called People’s Park. It was in my neighborhood just off Telegraph Avenue and it was a fine place to freak out in until it wasn’t. People’s Park was one of those things that “seemed like a good idea at the time”.

You had your standard cookie-cutter initial protests.

Then you had your standard cookie-cutter initial riots

…which were sort of fun since only the local cops were involved.

Then that changed. Quickly.

First, you had the Highway Patrol showing up who were not as gentle as the Berkeley Police. Then you had the Oakland Cops showing up. “Gentle” was not in their instruction manual. Instead, their first move was to open their trunks and take out their street-sweeping shotguns. Then they racked them and opened fire.

This resulted in a lot of loose buckshot wounds with one person blinded for life, and one person killed outright. (James Rector. I remember his name today after fifty years because he was shot on the roof right above me as I was running away from the shotguns at speed. )

James Rector, dying

After that, I went home for the night…

The next day — as I strolled up towards Telegraph Avenue from the Green House with thousands of other fools — I saw the trucks full of soldiers moving on streets that ran parallel to Telegraph. Being, at the time, a Hippie Poet I had no idea about “tactics.” On that day I would learn some stinging facts about “tactics.”

Once the Guard has all of “The Protestors”  gathered in a clot on Telegraph for the Rantfest the rest is simplicity itself. The Guard slowly closes on both flanks and then encircles the riot zone.

Then they tighten up the noose and just herd the rioters into an enclosure. In this case, the enclosure was the central plaza and student union area of the UC Berkeley Campus.



Cue the tear gas helicopters…

Then they open up one exit and line it with cops and soldiers with truncheons pour encourge les autres as you exit.





All that was 51 years ago.

This was the dream of “Peoples Park:”

This is the reality of People’s Park today:

James Rector (1944-1969): Died for what?

That’s yours truly at 0:13 early in my own Zelig/Footnote movie. (And much slimmer too. 31/30. Sigh.)

Notes on that era from Ceremonies of the Horsemen

That lyre is an old lie. And there was no truth. And without truth, there was no foundation, and, hence, no enduring reality. There was only America, only one dream of America. No better or worse, no more or less real, than a thousand other dreams of America. It was a dream woven on the loom of the stars and the ocean that enmeshed that western city on seven hills which we watched at night from the green house on the flatlands across the bay. A thousand and one nights watching and telling tales which were, in the final analysis, only variations on a single theme of light reclaimed and held against the flooding dark for but a moment.

And then the distant guns coming closer, the clang of the brazen bells, the rising sirens, the chopping whir of helicopters, the boots falling in lockstep, the thud of nightsticks, the crackling orders on two-way radios, metallic clicks from the blue steel chambers, shotgun fire, the blood and the bodies and the screaming…

We awoke in a metal dawn. The air tasted of rust. The smell of burning automobiles and tear gas was woven in the morning breeze and we slowly came to understand that the dreams were gone and only the nightmare was left. It was a slow nightmare which if not exactly true  was at its bottom as real as the black neoprene bags waiting in rows on the tarmac in Saigon.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • nunnya bidnez, jr September 4, 2020, 6:38 PM

    You lived in The Greene House??

  • Retail Lawyer September 4, 2020, 6:44 PM

    I was there, too. I was just 18, and the whole thing very much frightened me. I was afternoon napping in my 8th floor dorm room and woken up by tear gas, my first experience with it! I went out into the hallway and some resident was running down the hall, yelling “off the pigs” and I followed him out to the fire escape, to see what was going on and see if there was less tear gas. He threw a frozen orange and hit a police car in the roof, caving it in. Luckily, he did not kill anybody. The police definitely were made of sterner stuff back then.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • Terry September 4, 2020, 7:50 PM

    I remember that crap fest very well. I was across the Bay at SF State. Another institution run by fools.

  • PA Cat September 4, 2020, 9:54 PM

    It may be that the People’s Park riots of 1969 led to a less violent outcome during the Black Panther trials in New Haven the following year. I had finished college a semester early and had moved to New Haven in the spring of 1970 to get ready for graduate work. New Haven is a small city in terms of its land use; you can walk downtown from most neighborhoods in less than an hour. Which means that even though I wasn’t living all that close to the courthouse, I could see National Guard troops in full riot gear lined up around all four sides of the town green and extending to the undergraduate campus. There were also busloads of agitators from NYC and Boston arriving with threats to “burn down Yale.” Although the undergrads went on strike until the end of the semester and were treated to speeches by the likes of Abbie Hoffman and Benjamin Spock, there were no major incidents of violence; the only student who needed medical attention was an undergrad who collided with a tree trunk while playing Frisbee.

    Compromises worked out between the Yale administration, the governor, and the New Haven PD have been credited with preventing a major bloodbath that spring, but I’m inclined to think that what happened in Berkeley the year before was a factor in cooling down the hotheads– as well as the presence of several hundred NGs.

  • ghostsniper September 5, 2020, 4:11 AM

    Nothing changes hearts and minds faster than a cracked skall or a 3/4″ slug hole in the chest.
    For some, nothing else will work.

    • Johny Spot October 19, 2021, 12:36 PM


  • BillH September 5, 2020, 6:59 AM

    so bald alt so spät klug

    • SemperFi, 0321 October 19, 2021, 1:00 PM

      und so geht es.

  • I Am Who I Am September 5, 2020, 7:11 AM

    Though about 10 years your junior, I remember watching all that unfold on TV.

    From your picture of ‘People’s Park‘ today, it is clear the City of Berkeley won. But instead of parking cars there, they now park the unrooted and the lazy. It is a shrine to what we have become

  • Jack September 5, 2020, 7:31 AM

    I watched all of those student riots and most of the rest that have occurred in the country since then, including most that are going on now and I still hold the same belief when the protests becomes violent and/or destructive to public and personal property: These people are generally young socialists or marxists who desire the destruction of this Republic and ultimately by violent means. Sweep the streets and run them out of the country.

  • Casey Klahn September 5, 2020, 10:23 AM

    I think we’re essentially there. Black armed militias. Anarcho-Communist rioters. We’re most of the way back to the 60s, now. Protests may be a civil right, but at some point in time they become just a front for rioters. It’s called insurrection, then. Protests don’t enter into it.

    Gerard’s poignant memory reminds me of how violence has its own mind about things. Once that genie’s out of the bottle, it does not go back. Ever heard of bloodlust? It happens to normal men, pushed to madness temporarily by adrenaline and circumstances.

    You want to protest? OK, but don’t bitch about what happens later. You fukn brought it on yourself.

  • Joe Krill September 5, 2020, 10:53 AM

    May 14, 1969. I remember it well. I was living in the Central Highlands trying to help a country we had a Treaty with defend herself from communists and here we have a bunch of amoral spoiled wanna-be thumb suckers trying to destroy our home. Uncle Sam should have sent a company of grunts back for a little R&R in the park. To this day I still cannot stomach anything that reminds me of those spoiled “educated” parasites who took full advantage of the protections of the Constitution to try and destroy America. Now these pieces of well worn shit paper are running the show.

    • SemperFi, 0321 October 19, 2021, 1:09 PM

      We’ve been under communist control since WW1, you just wouldn’t see it on account of all the brainwashing. Joe McCarthy tried to wake folks up, and was shouted down by the Zio Bolsheviks in charge of this nation, and so we went back to living in denial of reality.
      Here it is out in the open and folks are still in denial of who controls them.

      • DWEEZIL THE WEASEL October 20, 2021, 7:21 AM

        Word, mein freund. But, I still remember walking through the LAX Terminal in July, 1970 in my class-A’s coming home on leave. I was cursed and spat at by these long-haired maggots and their butt-ugly tie-dyed women. They later cleaned themselves up, went to law school and joined the FEDGOV bureaucracy when the Clintons took power. Their children and grandchildren(zum beispiel: Duane Hagadone) are in charge now. However, their dance cards are all filled up. Bleib ubrig.

  • James ONeil September 5, 2020, 12:32 PM

    Ah, war stories. I guess I won’t talk about in the fifties, when I was at U of Florida and a 4 or 5 man panty raid was met by the campus police with tear gas who did not give consideration to which way the wind was blowing, hence emptying two dorms full out in to the street to join the few raiders and a good time was had by all.

  • pbird September 5, 2020, 1:22 PM

    Yeah, we did a little of that in Seattle too. lol

  • Phil Ossiferz Stone September 5, 2020, 1:56 PM

    Thank you all for raping and murdering your country so you could have fun in the Sixties. Sincerely, everybody younger than you that thought it looked like a nice country, and we would have liked to have lived there. But now we’ll never get the chance.


  • Ed September 5, 2020, 3:24 PM

    Berkeley gets all the press but just up the road from me at Cornell is where this whole shitstorm really started, with the blacks occupying Willard Straight Hall and Cornell capitulating.

  • RileyD, nwJ September 5, 2020, 5:53 PM

    While all this was going on in 1969, I was stationed at Barksdale AFB, LA working on AGM 28A Hound Dog missiles carried by B52s. Traveled to most CONUS B52 bases to work on them. 18 months later I would be out for almost 2 years before re-enlisting. None of this made sense to me then, nor does it now.

  • Mitchell Strand September 5, 2020, 8:18 PM

    Excellent mic drop by Ronaldus Magnus at the end…

  • Dirk September 6, 2020, 8:28 AM

    History shall repeat itself. Once again our side will ” maybe” ravaged the useful idiots, while their shot callers above, and insulated behind the curtain go free, to continue to plot, to destroy.

    You want meaningful change, take their leadership out. Curb stomp em, string up up as examples to the world.

    Not going to happen, we’re all to busy being ” left alone”.


  • One-Yard Sprinter September 6, 2020, 9:19 AM

    I was living on Dwight Way, first apartment building off of Telly. Went looking for action and it found me. Birdshot. Two collapsed lungs. Surgery at hospital in Oakland. Long recovery.

    Am I still angry at the cops, guardsmen, and Alameda County sheriff’s men who violently suppressed the demonstrators / rioters? Yes, they shouldn’t have been authorized to use live ammunition. For all I know maybe they weren’t and just lost control when in danger. And, to be fair, they were in danger. There were people throwing more than frozen oranges at the lawmen — things like concrete blocks.

    The experience left me cynical about both sides in the conflict. The establishment powers had gone on a riot of their own when more restraint might have reduced the casualty list. Or maybe not; we’ll never know now. Or they could have just let the demo go on and on till the students and street people got tired of it and went home to smoke a joint.

    But I have no time for the demo organizers either. They were commies and soi-disant revolutionaries who wanted the carnage to happen, to recruit for their cause. Can’t make an omelet etc. What’s the life of a James Rector compared with the overthrow of capitalism?

    Today’s BLM / Antifa riots are different but similar.

  • Gordon Scott September 6, 2020, 10:08 AM

    Riley, there were a lot more B-52 bases then. You must have seen a lot.

  • Vanderleun September 6, 2020, 10:08 AM

    Wonder who you are or were.

  • RileyD, nwJ September 6, 2020, 9:07 PM

    Gordon Scott – So many, but the most memorable were K.I. Sawyer AFB and Minot AFB in the middle of the winter. Flight line work in winter weather there at both was brutal. Then there was Griffiss AFB where the flight line guard did not get the word about our visit. Nothing like watching a 2 striper holding a shaking gun on you and the rest of the team while your security clearances were checked. Thankfully we went to Loring AFB in late May early June when they still had snow in the shadows off the road piled 8 feet high or more. Memories.

    • Sam L. October 19, 2021, 8:28 AM

      Ah, Minot! My last two years in the AF were up there. For those of you who may not understand Minot, the word is “Why not Minot? Freezin’s the reason!” But I have to say, one day I was in town on the south ledge, and I had to unzip my parka…it was 20 degrees…and I realized I had acclimated!

  • TwoDogs September 7, 2020, 5:20 PM

    “What’s the life of a James Rector compared to the overthrow of capitalism ?”

    I’m not sure I took your meaning right, but I’ll offer this : I’ll take the life of Rector and millions, tens of millions like him if that’s what it takes to preserve capitalism. The effing commies have shown time and again that they are willing to spend lives on that scale to destroy it. We should meet their bloodlust head on.

    • Jack October 19, 2021, 8:48 AM

      Amen and Amen. And do it every day until there is no reason to do it.

  • One-Yard Sprinter September 9, 2020, 10:56 AM


    I’m not sure I took your meaning right, but I’ll offer this: the hospital I was taken to (not sue of the name after all these years; Herrick?) had so many maimed demonstrators that the victims overflowed into the corridors. They possibly included a few innocent bystanders, but only a few. A lot of them were naive, foolish, many larping as revolutionary soldiers. They didn’t deserve to be shot, though.

    Gerard, if “wonder who you are or were” is directed at me, drop me a note at the email address provided should you want to exchange war stories or reminisce about Berkeley in the late ’60s (and there was a lot that was good aside from the pervasive craziness). It was a unique time and place, never to be repeated, like Paris in the 1890s.

  • LargeMarge September 14, 2020, 12:17 PM

    And now, many of those rioters drive yuge RecreationVehicles with the bumper-sticker:
    “We’re spending our children’s inheritance!”

  • Tennessee Budd September 14, 2020, 3:31 PM

    These days, the protesters would be hard put to find someone who could create so literate a flyer.

    • Skorpion October 19, 2021, 10:11 AM

      True enough. Internet shorthand, and the mainstreaming of ghetto/cellblock argot, have destroyed a generation’s ability to communicate in standard English.

  • Jim October 18, 2021, 6:33 PM

    I was there in 71. back again in 73 to graduate, after a year off to gather funds for school.
    Lived on Dwight Way, just below Shattuck ave. Remember to this day watching, on my way to my first class, a demonstration heading up Shattuck. Found it interesting until I realized the flags they were flying were N.Vietnam-the flags they were burning were American flags.
    That few moments told me everything I needed to know about Marxists, Trotsky,Lenin et al.
    My last year, I used to go to fruity Rudys stand, at Sather Gate. turned out he was involved with the SLA and that whole nonsense. Even got an early morning visit from the FBI regarding who I knew, and what I was doing.
    What I was doing was trying to graduate, while working after school or on days I didn’t have class. Always thought it was interesting the so called revolutionaries were on welfare or sold drugs to live their Marxist dream.
    Had been in the draft lottery, and in 71 I think it was, got a notice to get my physical at the Oakland Induction center, the day after the Weatherman(?) blew out the windows on the front of the building.
    The NCO were in fine form, as they ran us around, thinking we were responsible because some of us had long hair.
    Classified 1A, but the draft ended shortly after.
    Hated the way those so called revolutionaries disrupted class, and normal life.
    Started graduate school in Monterey Calif, and found all the ‘teachers’, professors, were hard left.
    Stuck it out for a year, then gave up. Too much BS from very intelligent assholes.
    went into the building trades, where men and women had to actually produce something, or they got canned.
    After seeing what my alma mater has become, I don’t regret leaving it all behind. The absolute insanity of the left is something for which I have no patience or understanding.
    and I never once felt bad that people who wanted to destroy my country, who were avowed communists, were injured or killed.
    Life is tough. Its harder if you buy into the dream of a perfect society, aka communism, that tries to create it by killing or imprisoning millions of people who ‘don’t think right’.
    Those welfare bums are now heads of our universities, government, and agencies. Still trying for that perfect society. Fuck them all, then and now.

  • I Am What I Am October 18, 2021, 6:41 PM

    I made the exchange. And my life, except for a few wonderful aberrations, has been a lead role in a cage.

  • Gordon Scott October 18, 2021, 6:54 PM

    Not just you, Gerard. Every cop in those pictures is slim and trim. Of course, they’re not wearing body armor under the shirts.

    I was 8 when this happened, living in a university town in New Mexico. My family owned the daily newspaper, so I was as well informed as a citizen could be. then. I could read *all* the AP wire copy, not just those parts that were fitted into the paper. I have no memory of the Berkeley riot. There were so many in those days.

    Albuquerque had its riot two years later. I do have memories of that. No video ones; whatever film the Albuquerque stations shot did not make it to the Amarillo or Lubbock stations, which is where our TV news came from. I do remember the “eyewitness” report that the rioters broke into Galles Cadillac and rolled those Caddies down the hill on Route 66 into a big pile at the bottom. Route 66, or Central Ave., was five miles of broken glass shop windows.

    And I remember the rumors. They were coming to Portales next. the word was. Gas stations were told to not sell gas in containers to anyone they didn’t know. Or were they? I have no idea. The riot never showed up.

  • John A. Fleming October 18, 2021, 7:14 PM

    It wasn’t that long ago, but the pictures that survive are of of course black and white. I guess the world hadn’t yet turned colorful in 1971.

    Or maybe it’s an algorithm of the matrix, to convince you that there exists a linear past in the unending and eternal present it presents you with b&w images that get increasingly grainy and faded the farther back a person imagines they are looking. It’s pretty funny to think that some day soon the days of the ‘Ro and the 4th turning will be all in b&w.

  • Dirk October 18, 2021, 8:48 PM

    Winners?, nobody won.

    • John A. Fleming October 18, 2021, 9:29 PM

      Au contraire! The marxists lost the battle and won the war. Berzerkely has been reliably a safe base from which to export their ideas ever since. All those folks that got shot are/were the useful idiot/broken eggs of the marxists’ beautiful omelette.

      • Dirk October 19, 2021, 6:20 AM

        Morning John, if winning Berkeley was the objective, I’d agree. Just history repeating itself. Early on my only exposure was the big Three nets. Hardly objective coverage. My win was the incredible music of the era.

        I enjoy reading the first hand accounts here, and how fifty years late, many admit the errors of their youth. Life Is The Real Lesson. The wisdom gain by ones presence in such powerful, emotional events, “ Were incredible learning tools.

        That most are conservatives now, is fate.

        GV, read this a few times now, once to my grandchildren over the telephone, powerful stuff thank-you.


        • DMV GRINGO October 19, 2021, 12:47 PM

          Just dIRK it! And always proofread all typed queefs.

  • Jack Lawson October 18, 2021, 9:47 PM

    Gosh !!
    I can’t help but noticing how fit, slim and robust the police, national guard and protesters look…
    We’re all such politically correct fat asses now.
    Just saying.

    • Mike Austin October 19, 2021, 7:45 AM

      Look at Generals Mark Milley and Lloyd Austin: fat, flabby and torpid. Any nation who places her security into the soft hands of these well-fed and medal festooned traitors deserves whatever fate awaits her.

      • Johnny Spot October 19, 2021, 12:39 PM

        So says the Murikan’ cITIzEn equivalent…Cluck-A-Cuck-A-Doodle-Do!

  • gwbnyc October 19, 2021, 1:00 AM


    • Stan October 19, 2021, 7:22 AM

      Yeah, gwbnyc, that’s always bothered me too. “Magazines,” not “clips.”

      • Johnny Spot October 19, 2021, 12:44 PM

        The Garrand uses ‘enbloc’ clips.
        And that’s what the Guardsmen are wielding (with bayonets fixed) in the first b&w photo.

        • gwbnyc October 19, 2021, 4:48 PM


          it’s spelled “Garand”.

  • Stan October 19, 2021, 7:20 AM

    I had transferred from UC Santa Barbara to UCLA over the summer of 69. I remember watching the “demonstrations” on TV and seeing the same faces, first at Berkeley one Friday, at UCSB the next, and then at UCLA the following week. Same faces, same stories, same results. My girlfriend at the time was still at UCSB, and I was watching TV one afternoon, and there on the screen was her apartment, tear gas and cops on one side, “demonstrators” on the other. I called to ask if she was okay, and she replied, coughing, “Yes, but scared.” The Black Students Union occupied the computer center at UCSB and shut it down. One week later, they discovered that they had all been reclassified 1-A because the notices required by their student deferments hadn’t been sent out—the computers that would have sent them out were shut down, after all.

    While I was at UCSB, I belonged to a student drama group that toured various California military bases and put on USO-style shows. The guys were very grateful and wonderful audiences. I was always glad that we could do something to cheer them up. My hometown draft board drew to number 101; I was #104. I had been investigating which branch of the service I’d join if the numbers went any higher; the Navy would have won out.

    Crazy times. Looks like they may repeat.

  • tim October 19, 2021, 7:22 AM

    Running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears.

  • Mike Austin October 19, 2021, 7:48 AM

    To quote the late great Ol’ Remus at the “Woodpile Report”: “Stay away from crowds.”

    • Russell G. October 19, 2021, 11:19 AM

      Make holes appear where you want them to appear at relatively long distances.
      That is all.

  • ghostsniper October 19, 2021, 8:30 AM

    From the James Rector link:

    Berkeley “Bloody Thursday” Shooting Victim. James Rector was an onlooker from a rooftop, watching the rioting concerning People’s Park in Berkeley, California, on “Bloody Thursday” which was May 15, 1969. After protesters on the roof of a nearby building threw bricks or sharpened pieces of metal at police, deputies of the Alameda County Sheriff fired buckshot at the people on the roof of the Telegraph Repertory Cinema.

    The buckshot fatally wounded Rector and blinded Alan Blanchard. Although Rector was shot on May 15, he held on for four days, before dying the following Monday, May 19, 1969.

    The People’s Park protest which led up to James Rector’s death began as a dispute over land which the University of California at Berkeley had designated for future campus development. By 1967, the university had started to demolish existing homes on the site to build a parking lot and recreational field there. However, the university ran out of development funds, and by 1969 the site was a muddy lot with abandoned cars, debris, and rubble. Students, local merchants, and residents met to develop a plan to build a public park on the university-owned land. However, that plan was not approved by the university.

    Volunteers, including James Rector, built the park, and it was essentially completed by mid-May of 1969. Meanwhile, on April 28, 1969, the university’s Vice Chancellor announced plans to build a sports field on the site. However, he agreed two days later to reserve one-fourth of the lot for the People’s Park, and he agreed that the university would not start building without notifying the People’s Park builders.

    Ronald Reagan, who was California’s Governor at the time and who later became President of the United States, did not agree with the Vice Chancellor’s promises. Calling the campus “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants,” Reagan had publicly denounced the Berkeley administration for allowing students to hold demonstrations on campus.

    At 4:30 a.m. on May 15, 1969, Reagan sent in three hundred California Highway Patrol and police officers to reclaim People’s Park. Much of what had been planted was destroyed, and a chain-link fence was installed to prevent planting more trees, grass, or flowers.

    Later that day, around 3000 people gathered, and after police turned off the sound system, headed toward People’s Park chanting, “We want the park!” Cars were overturned and set on fire. Marchers were throwing bottles, racks, and bricks, and started to tear down the fence. Other law enforcement officers from surrounding jurisdictions were called in, including deputies of the Alameda County Sheriff.

    That was followed by the shooting of James Rector. The buckshot did massive damage to his lower vital organs as it passed all the way up through his body to penetrate his heart. He had undergone surgery at Herrick Memorial Hospital to remove his spleen, a kidney, and part of his pancreas, but the three marble-sized shot which tore all the way into his chest cavity killed him. Just under a year later on April 7, 1970, Ronald Reagan said in response to a question about student protesters, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

    • Lynn Sadler October 19, 2021, 1:28 PM

      There isn’t any bird shot the size of a marble. Slug, yes but not birdshot… Let’s be truthful, not exaggeration…

      • Klaus October 19, 2021, 3:48 PM

        He said Buckshot not birdshot. Buckshot of the 00 variety for a standard 12g. load are nine .30 cal.pellets. Not quite marble size but also not comparable to any size of birdshot.

  • Johnny Spot October 19, 2021, 12:06 PM

    Controlled opposition fear mongering, at its do nothing (at all costs) finest.
    *With all apologies to James Rector*

  • Flatulent Filbert October 19, 2021, 1:13 PM

    Law and order is necessary for a healthy society. Pitching a violent hissyfit because some entity does with their own property something you don’t like entitles you to the ass-whooping their parents never gave them but should have.

    I’m a Gen Xer, and those of us raised in healthy families are pushed to the side with the hissy-fit throwers in the limelight because their parents kicked the discipline can down the road.

    One life was ended on that day in Berkley, in the name of trying to destroy the law and order that a very large majority of Americans lost their lives working to establish and maintain. He fucked around and found out.

    The biggest problem with these youthful revolutionist ideas is they seek to destroy a thing they don’t understand, not knowing the ramifications of that destruction until it is too late. If the police stood down and let them riot, how many rioters in the 1960s would have been killed at the hands of angry citizens who were sick of it? The police did the rioters a favor by putting and end to it quickly.

    • Mike Austin October 19, 2021, 5:28 PM

      “He fucked around and found out.” Amazing how that works. Warfare is a great clarifier. You want to know the cost of breaking long held laws that maintain a civilized society? You can easily find out. Good luck. And goodbye.

      Force properly applied saved the lives of rioters. What would have happened to them if they had pulled that nonsense in front of Stalin?

  • Berglander October 19, 2021, 4:55 PM

    Virgin Teargas


    Chad Zyklon-B

  • tc October 19, 2021, 9:02 PM

    The bloodshed of the mid to late ’60s is NOTHING compared to what the rest of this decade has in store for those of us; that is, those of us that live that long.

  • nicus October 19, 2021, 10:06 PM

    Holy crap! I haven’t thought about this in years. I was sitting in Bishop’s laundromat on Telegraph that day, doing my laundry. Stepped out to get some fresh air and looked down the street. A bunch of kids marching towards me. Looked the other way and a line of pissed-off cops were coming toward me. A LOT of them. Again, HOLY CRAP! I ducked back inside and after the cops passed I gathered my still wet dripping laundry and skedaddled. Spent the next couple days skirting the perimeter of the police roundups for kicks… ah, youth. It stopped being fun when the live ammo came out. First experience with live fire, but unfortunately not the last.

  • Zorost October 20, 2021, 12:12 AM

    If we had exterminated you dirtbag hippies instead of just tear-gassing you to give you a victim complex perhaps the commie shit going on today would have been stopped.

  • SgtBob October 20, 2021, 8:05 AM

    Yeah, well. Life sucks and then you shuffle off this mortal coil, perchance to dream, or maybe just, “Hey, I had it pretty good back in college, as I was much more intelligent than the idiots who weren’t smart enough for a deferment and wound up in rice paddies.” Yeah, college dude. Suck some paddy water.

  • Erisguy October 21, 2021, 12:52 AM

    The ugliness never stops.

  • Rick Darby October 21, 2021, 1:54 PM

    We probably walked (or ran) past each other at some point.

    I was aerated by a shotgun blast unloosed by a “Blue Meanie.” Taken to Herrick Hospital. Two collapsed lungs. I remember the hospital corridors filled with wounded, like in a war movie.

    Transferred to Oakland Hospital, where a teaching surgeon (is that the right term?) opened me up to pump air into my lungs and sew them back up, as observed by his students. I had a local anesthetic and while semi-conscious could hear the surgeon instructing his acolytes.

    The operation was virtually painless but I hurt like hell for days afterward.

    Needless to say your description and photos brought that day back to me. I hope readers will excuse my own little autobiographical bit if it seems self-centered. Those of us who were there are old now, and maybe a first-person account will be interesting.

    So what do I think of the People’s Park business a half century later?

    The acts of the police were despicable. The medical personnel at both hospitals were caring and professional. I do not view the organizers of the protest through a romantic haze. I’m not convinced that their claims of nonviolence were entirely sincere. Some were naive, some just youthfully irresponsible. But many agitators cynically wanted participants in the demo to be hurt or killed. The radicals and commies thought it would help recruitment to their cause.