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SWAT Teams – as we now know them – began HERE, in LA. Though there was a similar acronym coined out in Philadelphia where there was a mint, and lots of banks… getting robbed. So many, in fact, that Special Weapons and Tactics teams were created just to put a stop to them. That was in 1964.
In 1965, on this coast, we had the Watts Riots. It was a much different situation than the one in Philadelphia, ours was a community uprising. And Daryl Gates, a different kind of guy, then the LAPD Inspector, focused in, as a solution to this type of event, not on defense nor negotiation, but on offense. Coincidently, his 180 degree approach took on a name with the same letters; SWAT said it all then, and to this day: Special Weapons Attack Team.
Apparently, he saw civil unrest, swarming crowds coming at police from all sides – we’ll put aside for the moment any thoughts of why communities under his watch might be ready to revolt (although the Black Panthers and others made it pretty clear) – out-gunning holed-up lone gunmen, and the necessity of getting in doors where folks were discussing how thy might exercise their constitutional Rights. This was, after all, the mid 60’s – enlightenment was… rampant.
In the 1967-68 Congressional session, concerns about the Panthers, Civil Rights groups, the resistance to the War on Drugs , and a push from a Republican House Representative gave SWAT teams the go-ahead. And off they went…http://theweek.com/articles/531458/troubling-rise-swat-teams
John Phillips, Rock Musician remembers Ravi’s sense of simple joy in 1967
“The afternoon concert [at Monterey Pop Festival] belonged largely to Ravi Shankar and his hypnotic, meditative ragas. …
Ravi gave one of the most remarkable performances I have ever witnessed. Within the past year, the exotic sitar sound had wafted into the mainstream of rock. I had visited Ravi at his family’s home in L.A. and discussed paying him for his music school in Delhi. I met his wife, his sisters, and their children. They were the most gentle people. We ate curried dishes with our fingers. Incense burned throughout the simple, modest house in the Hollywood Flat. It was unpretentious and suburban and about fourteen people lived in it.
When Ravi visited 783 [Bel Air Road], we stayed up and cut some demos of us jamming together. Ravi exuded a simple joy when playing and he seemed blessed by supernatural stamina and discipline.”
from Papa John: A Music Legend’s Shattering Journey Through Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, by John Phillips (Dolphin Books/Doubleday, 1986)
Provided by Dana Cook, Contributor to the Los Angeles Free Press.
RW Klarins’ ‘Remembrance’ of Ravi is Ravi Shankar’s Magic Carpet of Passion and Youth
Ravi -Shankar, 7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012