Bank of America Burning 1970

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Bank of America Burning 1970
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By Jeff Kruthers

It was quite an event in 1970 when the Bank of America was burned down in Isla Vista. 

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beachsong Jan 13, 2021 07:41 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

My housemate was there. IT WAS NOT STUDENTS THAT STARTED THE FIRE. He eventually had to go trial as a witness and testify against the FBI. The FBI got the wrong person. The person who started the dumpster fire and crashed it through the front door was a homeless guy. Students were standing around like watching a volcano. They were yelling. 1 friend drove his bicycle through the burning bank (now a Beverly Hills attorney). Another friend stood on a desk in the burning bank. She said students pushed the dumpster back outside. Then others pushed it back inside when the roof caught on fire.
The Bank of America was unpopular because it invested in South Africa apartheid.
Kevin Moran should be commenorated. He was shot, killed after trying to put out one of the fires. See his picture back of UCSB '70 yearbook La Cumbre.

splash Jan 12, 2021 10:05 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I was on my way back to my on campus dorm when I saw that some people were trying to push a dumpster through the door of the bank. there was a police car on the other side of the loop by the drugstore that the was picked up and tipped over. I believe that it was set on fire. A short while later a police bus arrived on the far side of the loop and police with shields made a line and came across the park. People were throwing rocks at the police. I think the the police were sending tear gas towards us. Everyone was running towards campus. I was glad to get inside San Rafael dorm, although there was tear gas floating around. and they brought in big fans to disperse it. The next morning my RA who was a friend of mine, told me that the bank had burned. I told her that I had been there and it was ,just the dumpster that had burned. I went to see it the next morning and was shocked to see that indeed it was a burnt out shell!

obliged Jan 12, 2021 09:51 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

My recollections are a bit different. I had never witnessed a riot before so with all the news from IV I thought I'd drive down and have a look. As I drove into the business area the street was blocked by a crowd so I went left and parked. I walked back up to the corner just in time to witness a group slamming a dumpster through the doors of the bank and as I watched in shock they pulled the drapes off the front windows and put them into the dumpster to add fuel to a fire that was starting in the metal container. I remember thinking how ineffective that was because the drapes were fiberglass and would not burn. By then they were throwing furniture and paperwork and the fire was burning in earnest. I never saw a Molotov cocktail. Then I had an 'Oh S..t' moment and realized the grownups would soon be there, got back in my VW and drove back up the Pass to savor my riot experience.

Emmenanthe Jan 12, 2021 09:32 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I was there. The protest by hundreds of people was peaceful for at least an hour following Kunstler's speech in the stadium. Most of the prople were students, but not all of them. When a police car traveled around the loop, a couple of guys started yelling and threw a rock at the car. The yellers/throwers were probably not students, judging from their clothes and their speech patterns. They succeeded in turning the peaceful protest to a violent one. Within minutes, they were joined by others were throwing whatever was around. Felt as though it was orchestrated by outsiders. Mob violence isn't pretty. We walked home.

JoeSixPack Jan 12, 2021 09:29 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I knew the officer personally (Name withheld) that was responsible for the student shot. He was responding to the incident with a rifle and tripped walking up the steps to the bank and a discharged round killed the student. The officer did not initially know that it occurred and it was denied. Subsequent investigations determined the facts of the incident. It was not purposeful, it was an accident, the officer was traumatized by the accident and retired from law enforcement early. He was a good person… This does not detract from the tragic loss of the students life.

Gary Mussell Jan 12, 2021 08:06 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

My girl friend (future wife) lived in IV at the time and I recall the incident vividly. Curmudgeon's comment is correct. A lot of anti-war sentiment on campus and the country was split as it is now (in fact I think it never has healed).This was about the same time as the Cambodia incursion by Nixon and the Kent State massacre.
B of A was the only bank in town and they were stingy on student loans so they were unpopular as well as a symbol of "The Establishment." The war protesters got out of hand (not sure if Kunstler's speech did it as there were always anti-was speakers on campus) and threw rocks and then someone threw a Molotov cocktail and that was it.
IV was basically on lockdown for several days and if we left to go to Goleta to get groceries we couldn't get back in.
Most people felt very bad about it because the bank had our money. It was rebuilt with a decorative wall in front so it looked like a fortress.
It put quiet and placid UCSB on the map for all the wrong reasons.

doulie Jan 11, 2021 09:25 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

RHS - How many people did Honey "slay" with the trusty (sword) he "carried into battle?" Seems like your computer also couldn't stop laughing at your comment in support of CHIP attempting to show how cops "returned with a vengeance." Looks like it didn't want to spit out any more BS for you after the comment. Not that it matters, I believe Honey returned to the "battle" with a mace, not a sword.

RHS Jan 11, 2021 06:25 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Police returned with a vengeance is illustrated by the infamous photo of SBSO Joel Honey and his wrought iron sword which he carried into battle:

fitz Jan 11, 2021 06:19 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I don't know all this history so I appreciate the links to these accounts. I knew the bank burned but I did not know a student was killed. I was back East dealing with issues on my own campus and a fiance (I guess that's what i called him) heading to Vietnam. With all that is happening right now and the fact that the current insurrectionists are mostly the non-college educated who are buying into conspiracy theories, I am trying to figure out what has happened in this country between the late 60s and today. Ah, could it be social media. Back in the 60s, you had to put your name to a letter or a manifesto. None of this 'anonymous' BS.

pstarSR Jan 11, 2021 05:40 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

My mother was in IV, and going to UCSB at the time when this happened. She recalls it vividly.

Curmudgeon Jan 11, 2021 02:19 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Many good accounts of the event to be found online. Here is just one:

Chip of SB Jan 11, 2021 02:10 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

This is a really interesting photo and I do not recall seeing it before. The Bank of America incident is a truly sad story. I’ll give the short summary for those who are not familiar. An anti war protest in IV turned violent. Protestors started throwing rocks and bottles at police, and the police withdrew from IV. Then, an arsonist set the bank on fire. A well meaning student then began trying to put out the fire. The police returned with a vengeance, riding in dump trucks with rifles. An officer mistook the student trying to put out the bank fire for an arsonist and shot him dead. Really an unfortunate chain of events. The university eventually bought the property and turned it into embarcadero hall and there is a monument at the location memorializing this incident.

doulie Jan 13, 2021 09:19 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I have no doubt the coroners jury was in receipt of a lot more relevant information/evidence than you possess that lead to their conclusion.

Channelfog Jan 13, 2021 06:29 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

A defective safety cannot discharge a firearm in any way. Only squeezing the trigger fires the cartridge. That it was aimed at the student and that the trigger was pulled resulted in the death. It was not a faulty safety but a faulty jury verdict.

doulie Jan 11, 2021 04:22 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

CHIP - Aside from not recalling the photo you don't recall the facts of the shooting. "The police returned with a vengeance - ." What evidence do you have "police returned with a vengeance?" Someone, such as yourself, always looking to stir the pot against the cops.

The New York Times (5-15-70), in part reported, after the involved "officers account and testimony by a state ballistics expert before a coroner's jury that the riot gun's safety mechanism was defective, the jury ruled that the death of the 22‐year‐ old Mr. Moran was accidental." Your statement leading one to believe the "officer mistook the student - for an arsonist" is pure garbage.

Curmudgeon Jan 11, 2021 01:40 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I think I read it was their grand kids who were at the Capitol last week. :-)

a-1610525435 Jan 13, 2021 12:10 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Many have already been arrested and some of their background is known. Not that I put that much weight on social media, but I love those who research and identify malefactors, as is being done and was done after Charlottesville rally also.

a-1610524990 Jan 13, 2021 12:03 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

JAK, have you been reading the news and social media in the follow-up? !

jak Jan 12, 2021 08:09 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

I do hope that you turn out to be correct, Sacjon. But until the investigations get to the point of identifying a significant portion of the individual hooligans and checking out their resumes (and/or rap sheets) we won’t really know.

jak Jan 12, 2021 08:02 AM
Bank of America Burning 1970

As far as was ever determined, it was classy college educated folks who burned the bank in 1970.

a-1610434698 Jan 11, 2021 10:58 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

The cons in this country have been denigrating education and pandering to the lowest mentalities for decades. You reap what you sow.

a-1610420351 Jan 11, 2021 06:59 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Cur: I agree. During college, the most memorable reading I did was Richard Hofstader's Anti-Intellectualism in the US. Here I was, first generation Irish, second in the family to go for a college degree and i am reading this book telling me there is a movement in the US against higher education. Well, I guess ol' Richard knew what he was talking about and we are suffering from the aftermath.

Paxateur Jan 11, 2021 02:16 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Unfunny as well as inaccurate. Please leave satire and comedy to the pros.

Curmudgeon Jan 11, 2021 07:08 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

Here is an interesting parallel from a KCRW NPR broadcast from last February on the 50th anniversary,
“It was anarchy on the streets,” says Cyrus Godfrey, who was the station manager at the college radio station KCSB in 1970. “The police had notified the fire department that they couldn't control the situation. The firemen didn't feel safe going in there.”
Godfrey and his colleagues spent the night and ensuing months reporting on the fire and resulting protests.
He says tensions were already high on campus before that day.
“There had been a lot of student protests against the Vietnam War,” he says. “Richard Nixon was very antagonistic towards students. That set a bad atmosphere.”
Many attribute the spark to a speech earlier in the afternoon by William Kunstler, a radical lawyer and civil rights activist who defended the “Chicago Seven.”
At one point in the speech, he said, “I have never thought that breaking windows and sporadic violence is a good tactic. But on the other hand, I can not bring myself to become bitter and condemn young people who engage in it.”
After the speech, Godfrey says a large group of students walked from campus to Perfect Park in IV, which was a take-off on People’s Park in Berkeley.
“That park was right next to the Bank of America,” says Godfrey. “So you have the beginnings of rock throwing.”
To the students and other IV protestors, the bank was a symbol of capitalism and “the establishment.”

The parallel? Radical lawyer Kunstler exhorting a group of college-educated protesters and Trump exhorting a group of probably mostly undereducated protesters.
Only takes one rabble-rouser to stir the passions of a mob bent on destruction and mayhem.

sacjon Jan 11, 2021 01:45 PM
Bank of America Burning 1970

CURMUDGEON - I doubt college-educated anti-war protesters have grandkids that support or were involved in the attempt to destroy democracy through violent insurrection.

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