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San Diego in books - border task force, GOP convention, San Ysidro mass murder

The Mustard Tree, Lines and Shadows, The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, The River Pasture, Dennis Hopper, Uneasy Street, Compulsive Killers, The Long Goodbye, Boy in the Air

San Ysidro McDonald's. Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant?
San Ysidro McDonald's. Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant?

I WAS TOLD OF GOD to rent a certain apartment and to have Charles live with me. We rented a place in Chula Vista, a town not far from Tia Juana, Mexico. While the two of us were living together the Lord began a series of events and happenings that greatly altered the directions of our lives; not the least of which was the emergence of Richard Bost, the man that said that he was God....

Charles, Richard, and I had agreed to do some things together. Richard was to go downtown on Fifth Avenue. This was in San Diego.... I was to walk down Fourth, and Charles was to walk down Sixth Avenue. These were instructions given to Richard, by God....

I started, obediently, and proceeded in the direction indicated.

I had gone only a few blocks when God spoke to me. He told me to throw all of my money into the street. I was rather shocked at this and tried to rationalize the matter to my favor. I had several hundred dollars which I felt that I needed. I did take a single dollar and tore it up and threw it in the street.

Kenneth W. Richardson, The Mustard Tree (1989)


THE BARFERS [Border Alien Robbery Force] waited at a local cop bar called Bernie's. Within minutes Manny Lopez received a call at the bar. Deputy Chief Robert Burgreen was on the phone to tell him that the press was on the way. The Barfers were red-hot copy.

Manny Lopez turned to his men and yelled, "Everybody out a here! Go to Anthony's Harborside and run up a tab. On me!"

Manny Lopez then hustled over to central headquarters, slipped in the side door, and went to the office of Deputy Chief Burgreen, who said, "Chief Kolender is not going to recommend that charges be filed on Hernandez."

And Manny Lopez said, "That's it. I quit."

Joseph Wambaugh, Lines and Shadows (1984)


MAGRUDER SAID that there was considerable anxiety among the staff at the selection of San Diego as the [1972 Republican national] convention site because the press had already reported that left-wing extremists were distributing printed plans for disruption of the convention and soliciting nationwide for demonstrators.... While there I went over to the Sports Arena and inspected the building and surrounding area. From a security point of view it was a disaster. A broad, flat plain swept up to the arena vast enough to be used for location shots in filming Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. There was no way short of deploying crew-served automatic weapons backed up by mortars that that plain could be held against determined hordes of violent demonstrators. When I returned I wrote a memorandum urging the selection of another site.

Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1980)


IN THE MORNINGS the cows were turned out directly after milking and sent up the hill by themselves. After breakfast I caught up with them. Sometimes they wandered far, across the highway and into Tecolote canyon. Sometimes they stood lazily on the rim of the hill. The mornings were very cold, and often "a mist lay on the land." Those mistiest mornings were the loveliest. I liked to look to the south and see the spires of the city rising up. In the park was one white tower, pure and tall, that stood alone. Only from that distance could I consider the city beautiful. West, and a little to the north, I could see the shoreline of the Pacific; sometimes on very clear days I saw ships floating on the horizon. North, east, and south the mountains spread in long ranges. I could plainly see the mountains of Mexico; Table Mountain was often very clear. I should like to look at the mesa from the air some spring. Its colors would be interesting — yellow patches of poppies and violets, blue of hyacinths and shooting stars, blooming sage and greasewood, spots of bare red earth.

Judy Van der Veer, The River Pasture (1938)

THERE WAS REAL THEATER in San Diego — the Old Globe where they even did Shakespeare's plays, and up the road a bit, in the town of La Jolla, was the La Jolla Playhouse. Dennis loved the smell and atmosphere of these places, spending precious pocket money, earned delivering newspapers and collecting old bottles, to buy his admission. It was at the Old Globe that he made his acting debut, playing an urchin in a production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Elena Rodriguez, Dennis Hopper: A Madness to His Method (1988)


PALMS-BY-THE-SEA was the second and newer of Del Mar's big resort hotels. It was typically Californian in that it didn't belong in California. The architecture stemmed from the desert Indians of the southwest, a pseudo-adobe pueblo ranging in haphazard height from one story to three. Rafters like polished telephone poles self-consciously supported each ceiling and protruded through the outer walls of the hotel quill-fashion. Gaudily triangled blankets, roughskinned pottery and carefully exposed adobe bricking were the primitive touches in an otherwise luxurious decor.

Wade Miller, Uneasy Street (1948)


NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was also the year in which the mass murder record (killings in one explosive burst) was broken in America. It was then that James Oliver Huberty burst into a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California, and began to kill....

Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant? Was there in fact any connection between his precipitous decline in the social hierarchy and his assault on the bottom dwellers, the struggling Hispanics who moved too freely in "his" white, middle-class restaurant?

Elliott Leyton, Compulsive Killers: The Story of Modern Multiple Murder (1986)


IT'S A LONG DRAG back from Tijuana and one of the dullest drives in the state. Tijuana is nothing; all they want there is the buck. The kid who sidles over to your car and looks at you with big wistful eyes and says,

"One dime, please, mister," will try to sell you his sister in the next sentence. Tijuana is not Mexico. No border town is anything but a border town, just as no waterfront is anything but a waterfront. San Diego? One of the most beautiful harbors in the world and nothing in it but navy and a few fishing boats. At night it is fairyland. The swell is as gentle as an old lady singing hymns.

Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)


AS ARIZONANS who like an occasional trek to the beach, we catch quite a bit of flack about our frequent sojourns to sunny, cooler San Diego. They call us "Zonies" and we are the subject of much ridicule. Pay no mind, and go anyway. San Diego is a beautiful city with many attractions, and it also happens to be a coastal city with great beaches. We "Zonies" are entitled to some beach time, too. After all, you can only go to Big Surf so many times!

The ultimate hotel selection is the Hotel Del Coronado, referred to by the locals as the "Del," located right on the Pacific Ocean on Coronado Island across from San Diego Bay. This hotel is almost too "Beverly Hills" to be in San Diego! The "Del" is a resort hotel with a lot of history. There is an older building which is the original part of the hotel, and subsequent towers and buildings have been added over the years. (It's the red-roofed monstrosity you always see in San Diego brochures.) Try the Sunday brunch here — it's spectacular, and reservations are a must! Rates range from $175.00-$350.00 at the Del Coronado, so it may be too pricey for some of us.

San Diego is wonderful — so why shouldn't we enjoy it? Surf's up, dude.

David Christian, Arizona Community Echo (July 31, 1991)


YOU WOULD HAVE TO HAVE BEEN in that stadium and heard the echo every time the gun went off.... (May 3, 1964. Balboa Stadium, San Diego.)

You'd have to have been there 25 years ago when cities ignited, fists

were clenched in love and in hate, and at the same goddamn time.

You'd have to have red hair, be thin with milk white skin tinted orange from the hot spring sun of this border town in the southwestern corner between the Mexican border and the blue Pacific.

You'd have to be 13 years old and dreaming of a national record in the running broad jump, as they called it in those days. You'd have to be consumed with the knowledge that some kid in New Jersey had jumped 19 feet 3 inches. You'd have to accept that you were the unchallenged best jumper out of thousands of kids, except black ones, by jumping just over 17 feet. You'd listen to Keith Richards, or some other Delta blues imitator, and understand as you heard "King Bee" that the line could be crossed in expression, but the mystery of color would never change. You'd have heard of another white rocker who just had to be named Tripp. Arnold Tripp who had been king of it all just ten years ago. Tripp the fastest boy in San Diego whose career was dumped at the state meet, when the coaches raced him on a torn hamstring — because they wanted someone to beat the niggers. They had their Tarzan. You'd have to hate both of the words, Tarzan as much as nigger. You'd still have to bring your white skin with you to the starting line and snort in contempt at the attitudes of both colors when the resentment came from the blacks and racist encouragement was offered from the whites.

Don Bajema, Boy in the Air (1990)

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to "Out of Context" that are selected for publication. Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, and date of publication. Send to "Out of Context," 2323 Broadway, San Diego CA 92102

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San Ysidro McDonald's. Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant?
San Ysidro McDonald's. Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant?

I WAS TOLD OF GOD to rent a certain apartment and to have Charles live with me. We rented a place in Chula Vista, a town not far from Tia Juana, Mexico. While the two of us were living together the Lord began a series of events and happenings that greatly altered the directions of our lives; not the least of which was the emergence of Richard Bost, the man that said that he was God....

Charles, Richard, and I had agreed to do some things together. Richard was to go downtown on Fifth Avenue. This was in San Diego.... I was to walk down Fourth, and Charles was to walk down Sixth Avenue. These were instructions given to Richard, by God....

I started, obediently, and proceeded in the direction indicated.

I had gone only a few blocks when God spoke to me. He told me to throw all of my money into the street. I was rather shocked at this and tried to rationalize the matter to my favor. I had several hundred dollars which I felt that I needed. I did take a single dollar and tore it up and threw it in the street.

Kenneth W. Richardson, The Mustard Tree (1989)


THE BARFERS [Border Alien Robbery Force] waited at a local cop bar called Bernie's. Within minutes Manny Lopez received a call at the bar. Deputy Chief Robert Burgreen was on the phone to tell him that the press was on the way. The Barfers were red-hot copy.

Manny Lopez turned to his men and yelled, "Everybody out a here! Go to Anthony's Harborside and run up a tab. On me!"

Manny Lopez then hustled over to central headquarters, slipped in the side door, and went to the office of Deputy Chief Burgreen, who said, "Chief Kolender is not going to recommend that charges be filed on Hernandez."

And Manny Lopez said, "That's it. I quit."

Joseph Wambaugh, Lines and Shadows (1984)


MAGRUDER SAID that there was considerable anxiety among the staff at the selection of San Diego as the [1972 Republican national] convention site because the press had already reported that left-wing extremists were distributing printed plans for disruption of the convention and soliciting nationwide for demonstrators.... While there I went over to the Sports Arena and inspected the building and surrounding area. From a security point of view it was a disaster. A broad, flat plain swept up to the arena vast enough to be used for location shots in filming Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. There was no way short of deploying crew-served automatic weapons backed up by mortars that that plain could be held against determined hordes of violent demonstrators. When I returned I wrote a memorandum urging the selection of another site.

Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1980)


IN THE MORNINGS the cows were turned out directly after milking and sent up the hill by themselves. After breakfast I caught up with them. Sometimes they wandered far, across the highway and into Tecolote canyon. Sometimes they stood lazily on the rim of the hill. The mornings were very cold, and often "a mist lay on the land." Those mistiest mornings were the loveliest. I liked to look to the south and see the spires of the city rising up. In the park was one white tower, pure and tall, that stood alone. Only from that distance could I consider the city beautiful. West, and a little to the north, I could see the shoreline of the Pacific; sometimes on very clear days I saw ships floating on the horizon. North, east, and south the mountains spread in long ranges. I could plainly see the mountains of Mexico; Table Mountain was often very clear. I should like to look at the mesa from the air some spring. Its colors would be interesting — yellow patches of poppies and violets, blue of hyacinths and shooting stars, blooming sage and greasewood, spots of bare red earth.

Judy Van der Veer, The River Pasture (1938)

THERE WAS REAL THEATER in San Diego — the Old Globe where they even did Shakespeare's plays, and up the road a bit, in the town of La Jolla, was the La Jolla Playhouse. Dennis loved the smell and atmosphere of these places, spending precious pocket money, earned delivering newspapers and collecting old bottles, to buy his admission. It was at the Old Globe that he made his acting debut, playing an urchin in a production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Elena Rodriguez, Dennis Hopper: A Madness to His Method (1988)


PALMS-BY-THE-SEA was the second and newer of Del Mar's big resort hotels. It was typically Californian in that it didn't belong in California. The architecture stemmed from the desert Indians of the southwest, a pseudo-adobe pueblo ranging in haphazard height from one story to three. Rafters like polished telephone poles self-consciously supported each ceiling and protruded through the outer walls of the hotel quill-fashion. Gaudily triangled blankets, roughskinned pottery and carefully exposed adobe bricking were the primitive touches in an otherwise luxurious decor.

Wade Miller, Uneasy Street (1948)


NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was also the year in which the mass murder record (killings in one explosive burst) was broken in America. It was then that James Oliver Huberty burst into a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California, and began to kill....

Why did Huberty choose to kill and die among the predominantly Hispanic customers of that restaurant? Was there in fact any connection between his precipitous decline in the social hierarchy and his assault on the bottom dwellers, the struggling Hispanics who moved too freely in "his" white, middle-class restaurant?

Elliott Leyton, Compulsive Killers: The Story of Modern Multiple Murder (1986)


IT'S A LONG DRAG back from Tijuana and one of the dullest drives in the state. Tijuana is nothing; all they want there is the buck. The kid who sidles over to your car and looks at you with big wistful eyes and says,

"One dime, please, mister," will try to sell you his sister in the next sentence. Tijuana is not Mexico. No border town is anything but a border town, just as no waterfront is anything but a waterfront. San Diego? One of the most beautiful harbors in the world and nothing in it but navy and a few fishing boats. At night it is fairyland. The swell is as gentle as an old lady singing hymns.

Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)


AS ARIZONANS who like an occasional trek to the beach, we catch quite a bit of flack about our frequent sojourns to sunny, cooler San Diego. They call us "Zonies" and we are the subject of much ridicule. Pay no mind, and go anyway. San Diego is a beautiful city with many attractions, and it also happens to be a coastal city with great beaches. We "Zonies" are entitled to some beach time, too. After all, you can only go to Big Surf so many times!

The ultimate hotel selection is the Hotel Del Coronado, referred to by the locals as the "Del," located right on the Pacific Ocean on Coronado Island across from San Diego Bay. This hotel is almost too "Beverly Hills" to be in San Diego! The "Del" is a resort hotel with a lot of history. There is an older building which is the original part of the hotel, and subsequent towers and buildings have been added over the years. (It's the red-roofed monstrosity you always see in San Diego brochures.) Try the Sunday brunch here — it's spectacular, and reservations are a must! Rates range from $175.00-$350.00 at the Del Coronado, so it may be too pricey for some of us.

San Diego is wonderful — so why shouldn't we enjoy it? Surf's up, dude.

David Christian, Arizona Community Echo (July 31, 1991)


YOU WOULD HAVE TO HAVE BEEN in that stadium and heard the echo every time the gun went off.... (May 3, 1964. Balboa Stadium, San Diego.)

You'd have to have been there 25 years ago when cities ignited, fists

were clenched in love and in hate, and at the same goddamn time.

You'd have to have red hair, be thin with milk white skin tinted orange from the hot spring sun of this border town in the southwestern corner between the Mexican border and the blue Pacific.

You'd have to be 13 years old and dreaming of a national record in the running broad jump, as they called it in those days. You'd have to be consumed with the knowledge that some kid in New Jersey had jumped 19 feet 3 inches. You'd have to accept that you were the unchallenged best jumper out of thousands of kids, except black ones, by jumping just over 17 feet. You'd listen to Keith Richards, or some other Delta blues imitator, and understand as you heard "King Bee" that the line could be crossed in expression, but the mystery of color would never change. You'd have heard of another white rocker who just had to be named Tripp. Arnold Tripp who had been king of it all just ten years ago. Tripp the fastest boy in San Diego whose career was dumped at the state meet, when the coaches raced him on a torn hamstring — because they wanted someone to beat the niggers. They had their Tarzan. You'd have to hate both of the words, Tarzan as much as nigger. You'd still have to bring your white skin with you to the starting line and snort in contempt at the attitudes of both colors when the resentment came from the blacks and racist encouragement was offered from the whites.

Don Bajema, Boy in the Air (1990)

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to "Out of Context" that are selected for publication. Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, and date of publication. Send to "Out of Context," 2323 Broadway, San Diego CA 92102

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