Let's start from the beginning. I may get the times and events a little messed up so if anything is askew just let me know, as I love people commenting on these posts with information, small updates, changes, etc. It adds depth and understanding to the posts, especially ones such as this about an event this large.
I woke up this morning at 6:50, did my morning gig, got dressed in my more formal OC attire, packed my guns and booked it for the beach at 7:30. I arrived at around 8:10, got a totally rad parking spot, holstered up, threw away my ID card and headed over to the cul-de-sac in front of the lifeguard tower. Our cool Detective was there in plainclothes with the Captain and two other uniformed police officers and 3 squad cars with more police officers en-route. People began to trickle in as soon as I got there, most notable to my memory being Mulay El Raisuli, Decoligny and Oldtimer. (I wish I could tag the group photo like on Facebook, it would be so nice!)
Eventually, my brother OJ showed up in his truck and I jumped in to help him get a parking spot. We found Enthusiast in the same area we were in (between Ralph's and Nick's) and so while OJ was holstering up we all had a chat. While chatting, the owner/manager of Nick's came out and decided to alienate us...
-Hey, whats with the guns?
-Nothing, we are having an open carry meet
-Do you have permits for this?
-You don't need a permit for open carry.
-I've never heard of anyone doing this
-Well, we have about four cops over there hanging out with us
-No, I trust you, I am just making sure guys with guns aren't hanging out in front of my restaurant, you know what I'm saying?
I wasn't aware that the PUBLIC sidewalk was such a place of contention. Oh Nick's, you were our "Number One" pick in our restaurant guide and you could have had the business of 20 hungry cash-and-gun strapped customers but alas! you alienated us from the start. Oh well, Filippi's Pizza was far more accommodating. If you guys want to change your tune we will be happy to patronize your restaurant!
After that little treasure we headed to the tower where Sam had arrived along with a few other guys and we began filling out name tags, introducing ourselves, applying excessive amounts of sun screen, etc. To be honest I don't remember a bunch of everyone there at this moment because there were so many new faces but what I do know is that the cops weren't trying to exert their authority by executing 12031 checks on us, which I thought was prudent of them in the PR department.
Fast forward to about 11:00, nearly everyone has arrived. Libertarians are passing out pamphlets, grandmothers are packing heat in reverse-laced holsters and a veritable plethora of beautiful women are running around with reckless abandon (My neck hurts from the whiplash ;) ) . There were about 60 of us gathered, chatting with one another and curious citizens and just having a good time. Around 11:20 Sam said that everyone was getting a little restless so we gathered everyone around the great bronze pelican and had a meeting. I thanked everyone for coming, laid down the ground rules, a time and place to regather (the grassy knoll at Crystal Pier at 1PM) and told everyone about Theseus and donating to his cause and Sam passed out his restaurant review writeup to everyone and told people where to go, grammaton76 took photos (videotaped the whole meeting as well) and then we were off!
>>>Just a small insert here... the only 12031 check that was done at this point was Flintlock Tom's. Initially I thought it was because he went over to talk to the officers and they just demanded it but in actuality, Tom was asking what he can expect from an officer interaction and they gave him the run down. I think that just from a PR standpoint with the beachgoers and OCers the lack of an unloaded check en masse was a very good approach to take. While they were hanging out with us we educated a few curious guys (whom we met with again at 1PM) and a few other people passing by. No alarms or ducking for cover, just well-intentioned curiosity. We even had a few law students wearing beach cleanup t-shirts stop by and get interested and I gave them my contact info for getting an OC beach cleanup going. We made a few jokes with them about how people might not litter if we were there, hehehe :)<<<
By this time Sam, gir007, grammaton76 and his posse comitatus came on over and we all decided to go to the bike shop a little ways down (gir007's idea). We met Nomadd and his girlfriend Karen there as well and we were recieved warmy. The salesman that we talked with grew up in London and was a little surprised though not overly concerned with us carrying. He might have gotten a little nervous when I asked if he knew where I could get a rifle scabbard for my bike but that eventually led into a history of the paratrooper bike regiments which he never heard of so he was pretty stoked about that.
After that we began to meander down to the pier area and meet up with some people there. I felt a little bit quenched so I went with Oldtimer and Twitchalot to the corner store to get a drink. On the way there I passed by two cops and I switched on my voice recorder, feeling a 12031 check coming on. A minute later I am stopped from behind by a female officer (apparently a new one) and her male accomplice and the contact went a little something like this...
-Hey, we would like to inspect your weapon.
-Not a problem, are you requesting or demanding to check it?
-(something irrelevant said here)
-Well, are you requesting or demanding?
-We are demanding, yes.
-OK, no problem (I cross my arms, guy pulls my gun out, checks and comments on how nice it is... why, yes, it is a Taurus!)
-OK, thanks for cooperating. May I get your name?
-Am I being charged with a crime?
-No, you are not.
-OK then, see you later.
NOT 10 PACES LATER, another officer that I met that morning said "Thanks, Nate!", GAAGH! To add injury to humor, I looked at my voice recorder and I had accidentally hit "stop" on it when I put it back in my change pocket! DOH! I now know better for next time.
After getting our drinks (and half considering getting my chest rig from the car) we headed out to the pier area again but got a little distracted by something (wasn't shiny or anything but I can't remember it...)
After our 1PM meeting the group kind of split up with some leaving for home and responsibilities and some going down to Belmont Park. I joined the latter group and we had many interesting experiences along the way...
-Guy on the bike (Rob?). Blatant Obama supporter and stated that he felt uncomfortable with our activities. We engaged him in conversation while waiting for Sam and NoHammer to meet up with us but Sam was the one that really got him more to our side. I left before the conversation completed but I think Sam has it all recorded ;)
-Gun supporter guy. Stopped on his bike and told us we were cool. He apparently has a few guns that are legal but he is scared to take them out for fear of backlash, etc. We told him to join Calguns and get involved with one of our shoots and he was genuinely interested in it all. He congratulated us and rode off.
-4 kids at the low-rider gig. Part way Belmont park there is a cul-de-sac with three low-riders doing three-wheeling tricks with their hydraulics and while watching we got asked by four kids about why we were carrying. I explained to them the rules of OC, about machine guns (they wanted machine guns, hehe) and a few other things. One kid was saying how it would be better if guns weren't invented and we got into a discussion on that. I told them to Google my blog for more info.
OK, break in interesting people here. At this point we ended up hanging out near Belmont Park and eating ice cream. Nomadd and I actually carried into the park with no issues as well. A few of us were also waiting for a ride to the cars so we didn't have to walk a "gir007 1.5 mile" (2.75 miles!), those few being Indy, Stephanie, Mike, Enthusiast and Nohammer. Grammaton76, gir007, Karen, Twitchalot and myself all walked all the way back. On the way back, we encountered a few more...
-Guys at a party. We got asked by a few guys at a party very close to the boardwalk about what we were doing and we stopped and engaged them in conversation. One guy, obviously inhaling a little too much of the ganja, had this to impart...
-Dude, why are you carrying a gun?
-Because the police have no obligation to protect our lives.
-Man, you're gonna get arrested.
-Actually, we have two cops following us right now, they are with our group.
-Just be careful man, don't shoot anyone.
-Not unless I have to.
(Imagine the voice of this guy being like a Rastafarian X skater X surfer and his whole face being expressionless)
-I think we encountered one more guy but I can't remember what happened...
Eventually our group got back to the tower where we figured out our next move. Twitchalot apparently has some sort eating disorder (of the ingestive kind, not the expulsive) and needed food (he wanted to go in the van with all the others at Belmont Park but he kinda missed that ride... whoops), I promised him that I would eat with him and Nomadd and Karen wanted to eat as well so we all agreed upon In-n-Out for our calorific desires. Gir007 and grammaton76 had to leave at that point so we parted our ways.
It took a bit to get to In-n-Out as everyone and their mother was driving out of the beach but well worth it. Nomadd and I carried into In-n-Out with only two people even taking notice (they saw Nomadd's magazines, they were sitting weak side), both of whom turned out to be former residents of Utah. We discussed OC, their laws (they even have weird OC laws...) and their ubercool CC on campus and I gave them my blog address to check out as well. (If you are reading this, we think you are totally cool!)
After consuming two Double-Doubles and fries (Twitchalot did two Double-Doubles and two fries, crikey!) and chatting for a bit (Twitchalot left for a bonfire in the interim), I said my goodbye to Nomadd and headed to my brother's place to crash for a little while. I left In-n-Out around 6:20 or so. LOOONG day. My gun was only not in my holster for about 20 minutes the whole day!
PHEW! That's a long writeup! Now, for what we are planning.
1) Beach cleanup. I think we will go with the interested law students as they were cool with us and really were interested.
2) Hillcrest. We won't pursue this option until we get the Pink Pistols or some other advocacy group on our side so make sure things go smoothly.
Now, the Captain wants us to let her know about any OC events that we want to do so she can quell the overly concerned citizenry and prevent slamming the dispatchers. While noble, we as citizens ourselves have the right to peacably assemble without police notification (this isn't Russia!) and we are eventually not going to notify them at all. Grammaton76 pointed out that we should notify them of the next two events to get officers rotated through and in-line with the OC experience but after that, we will not be notifying them of any events. If we are going to get the reform we want, the police have to have their resources continually diverted and the dispatchers slammed.
Sam, gir007 and I will be cooking up some ideas for the next meets to make it more organized and effective, such as spreading out farther on restaurant selections for maximum exposure, etc. We will be keeping everyone posted.
It is now 2:15AM. Time to go to bed.
Thanks to all who attended for such a great event!
Update 3-1-09: Some pictures, more are to come!
Left to right:
1) Whole group photo before we split off (only a few missing)
2) Using my 2nd Amendment to protect my 1st.
3) Waiting for our group to catch up on the boardwalk while going to Belmont Park.
4) Waiting and protesting at waiting :)
5) Grammaton76's motivational poster.
6) Closeup. Photos tell such cool stories.
7) Looking for my brother on the wall of the boardwalk
8) Educating a San Diego citizen about his rights.
9) Sporting all my gear.
10) Sam practicing his citizen arrest skills with our cool Detective.
The first five photos are from Grammaton76 of Calguns.net
The last five are from my friend Stephanie. Her website is here.