Interview with Charles O'Brien

What was the difference between the Panthers and the rest of sort of California gun culture? I mean there was a large, a number of groups, people carry guns in California. What was the difference with the Panthers.


Well, one, they were, the difference between the Panthers and the other groups that we regretted the presence of, was that the Panthers were in an urban environment, whereas the others tended to hold their maneuvers in the high desert, ah, with larger weapons. God help us. And, but the Panthers seemed to be in deliberate, open provocative confrontation with the police departments, in their early periods. They used revolutionary language, provocative language and seemed to be deliberately seeking to confront established authority, particularly police authority. But then we observed that they seemed to have a social side, a concept of doing something beyond these angry confrontation**, to the point where they were going in as some of us derisively said, into the grocery business. But this was a good thing. They were starting to, I think, put certain pressures on the grocers to bring in food for the needy and to attempt to perform a variety of services that they thought weren't being done in this community. This distinguished them, on our perception, over a period of time, remarkably from other groups.