WANNABE BLACK PANTHERS
"The guns laws in the State of California in 1966 stated that you could carry a loaded gun out on the street so long as it was registered, not concealed and not pointed in a threatening manner." --Huey P. Newton, Black Panther leader
It began shortly after the shooting of Denzil Dowell. Easy Bay legislator Don Mulford introduced a bill to repeal the law that permitted citizens to carry loaded weapons in public places so long as the weapons were openly displayed [see link to California Penal Code, Sections 12031 and 171.c]. What the Mulford law sought to achieve was the elimination of the Black Panther Police Patrols, and it had been tagged "the Panther Bill" by the media.
The Police Patrols had become an integral part of BPP community policy. Members of the BPP would listen to police calls on a short wave radio, rush to the scene of the arrest with law books in hand and inform the person being arrested of their constitutional rights....
The legislature responded by passing the bill, thus creating the Mulford Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan....
ESCONDIDO – A group of gun advocates openly carried their unloaded firearms to an Escondido mall Tuesday afternoon.
Many of the patrons at nearby restaurants said their actions were intimidating....
The six men and two women, ages 24 to 77, drank some beverages from Starbucks at the Signature Pavilion on West Valley Parkway and left after an uneventful hour.
The gathering was organized by Escondido Open Carry, founded by Escondido residents Gerald Reaster, 69, and Donna Woods, 77, in response to the growing movement nationwide to openly carry guns.
The movement asserts an individual's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and the privilege to wear an unloaded gun openly in California....
Reaster and Woods said they felt that they needed protection because of their age, and that they needed to draw attention to the fact that personal freedom has eroded over the years. Reaster carries pepper spray with him in addition to his gun....
The transformation of the modern right into a wannabe 1960s left is all but complete. What these old white Californians are fighting for is just what Huey Newton and the Panthers didn't want to lose: the right to openly carry a piece; the right to be your own cop.
(Yes, the Panthers wanted to retain the right to carry loaded weapons and the article states the Escondido Open Carry folks just want to carry theirs unloaded, but the group's Web site says they're also asserting the right to carry a "full magazine in holder on belt.")
I'm struggling to determine what history of oppression, or of law-enforcement brutality and neglect, motivates the nouveau Panthers, but I'm sure they'd be happy to try to explain it to me.
Also see Gregory Rodriguez of the L.A. Times, writing about Sam Tanenhaus's new book, The Death of Conservatism:
How did a political ideology once devoted to "conserving" the past and balancing stability and progress become an ideology of insurrection?
The short answer, of course, is that conservatism has been betrayed, that what we today call conservatism -- a politics of "grievance and resentment" -- isn't.
Just listen to the ruckus over healthcare. Are there problems with the Democrats' proposals? Absolutely. But the tenor of criticism from so many on the right suggests they're more interested in destruction than resolution. As Tanenhaus puts it, the contemporary right defines itself "less by what it yearns to conserve than by what it longs to destroy." They call themselves conservatives, but the "I hope Obama fails" rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh is more reminiscent of the tantrum-throwing far left of the late 1960s than of classic conservatism.
You may not like that characterization of the '60s left, but when Rodriguez and Tanenhaus say the new righties are '60s-left wannabes, they've got it right.
(Escondido story via TBogg. Panther story via Adam Serwer. Panther photo via Roy Edroso. Tanenhaus review via Barbara O'Brien.)