Why Is the California National Guard in San Diego?

by on June 4, 2020 · 13 comments

in San Diego

The California National Guard deployed 200 troopers in San Diego County over the last 20 hours or so. One hundred are assigned to La Mesa and another hundred to the County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Bill Gore is the one that requested them. Governor Newsom authorized their deployment.

From my knowledge of San Diego history, this could be the very first time National Guard soldiers have been assigned to San Diego County. They weren’t deployed during the infamous San Diego Free Speech fight in 1912-1913, the labor strife during the thirties, nor were they deployed in San Diego during the social turbulence of the sixties and 1970s, and not during the May 1970 student rebellion, which in part shut down the gates to the Naval base on Catalina Boulevard.

So why are they here now?

Yes, there were two banks burned to the ground in La Mesa and numerous businesses looted, and some damage in downtown San Diego. But there are no current threats of any repeat of that – in fact there’s been nothing but peaceful protests throughout the county ever since. And on a national level, the massive protests seen have been very peaceful lately – perhaps due to the fact that the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been arrested.

Nobody seems to be asking the questions that need to be asked. Does this mean the San Diego Police, the Sheriffs and Jail and prison personnel can’t handle anything that could come along? Why was it Sheriff Gore who asked for them? Isn’t it supposed to be the civilian authorities, like mayors, who can ask fro the National Guard?

Now with the Guard here and all these controversial curfews saddling the County, where are all those “open-it-up” demonstrators? Some of them no doubt are counter-protesting the Black Lives Matter event.

The local media and elected leaders are just taking this too lightly. Nobody is apparently objecting. Armed soldiers are now on the streets in San Diego to keep the peace, to ostensibly assist local law enforcement. To provide back-up and guard sensitive infrastructure.

Unfortunately, having armed soldiers here feeds into a narrative that protesters need to be “dominated” because they’re nothing but domestic terrorists and thugs and anarchists – and not the narrative that views these local and national protests as the future of America demanding change to a racially-based criminal justice system. Focusing on the looting and property damage ignores the genuine cries of pain and anguish that must be addressed by San Diego and the nation.

This is indeed a dark moment for San Diego. The National Guard do not need to be here; their presence is a mark on San Diego’s character and a rubber bullet to the head of any image of “America’s Finest City.”


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Best June 4, 2020 at 11:51 am

It’s election time soon!


Frank Gormlie June 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm

See these comments by both Georgette Gomez and Jacobs; they both agree having the National Guard is wrong: Congressional rivals Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gómez on Thursday decried the deployment of National Guard troops in San Diego County.

Jacobs called the deployment of California National Guard troops in the 53rd District she seeks to represent “an unnecessary escalation of tensions.”

“San Diego is a proud military community, and we know just how important it is to only send our troops where they are absolutely needed. Calling in the National Guard to San Diego County is an unnecessary escalation of tensions,” said Jacobs in a statement.

Minutes later, fellow Democrat Gómez said in statement that most protesters in San Diego have been peaceful.

“The property damage that we saw this week was committed by a small group of people intent on violence and disruption, who do not represent the vast majority of protestors,” she said. “My heart goes out to those small-business owners who sustained damage and I am ready to assist in the rebuilding process however I can.

“Calling out the National Guard is not the answer. Military uniforms patrolling our streets sends the wrong message. As most jurisdictions work day and night to reduce tensions and maintain calm, the Sheriff’s Department risks increasing tensions by bringing the National Guard into our city.”

Gómez noted that the California National Guard plays a crucial role in responding to disasters, but “we are not facing a disaster today in San Diego County. We are facing a situation where thousands of our residents are understandably angry and speaking out and a small minority are choosing violence.”

She said responding to the violence requires a targeted law enforcement response, not the deployment of military.

“To restore the peace, we need dialogue, understanding and real action to address the concerns of protestors. We’ve started the journey toward justice by banning the carotid chokehold countywide. I’m glad the Sheriff joined us in taking that action. Today, I call on the Sheriff to join us in reducing tensions by revoking the request for the National Guard.” Times of San Diego https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2020/06/04/congress-rivals-jacobs-gomez-unite-vs-national-guard-deployment/


Frank Gormlie June 5, 2020 at 4:10 pm

In today’s U-T:
This isn’t the first time in recent history that National Guard troops have been deployed in the region. Gore said troops were called during wildfires in 2003 and 2007 to assist with mass evacuations.


Frank Gormlie June 5, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Which proves my point, thanks Bill. So the mayor of a small city within a huge county is able to call for the National Guard for all of us. How sweet.


Peter from South O June 6, 2020 at 4:03 am

Has everyone forgotten the deployment of the CAL Guard to the border way back in ’18?


Frank Gormlie June 6, 2020 at 11:22 am

We’re talking about the use of the Calif National Guard against San Diego residents.


Peter from South O June 6, 2020 at 12:17 pm

You don’t remember the protests at the wall sample site? The Guard was all over the security for that one.


Frank Gormlie June 6, 2020 at 12:26 pm



mr.rick June 5, 2020 at 7:53 pm

whey back when, we would have welcomed the Guard. As opposed to back in the day


mr.rick June 5, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Some one to riot against


mr.rick June 5, 2020 at 8:15 pm

But it would not have been a sewing circle


Frank Gormlie June 6, 2020 at 12:18 pm

County Sup Nathan Fletcher just called for the removal of the National Guard. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher called for the removal of all National Guard troops from the county.
… Fletcher called for the removal of the National Guard from San Diego.

Fletcher tweeted, “We need to focus on efforts around authentic dialogue, uplifting the voices of the peaceful protestors and driving substantive change to address the problem of systemic racism. These protests are peaceful and the presence of the National Guard only escalates the situation.

“While there are times, particularly those around responding to natural disasters or humanitarian need, when the National Guard might be appropriate, this is not one of them,” he continued. https://www.kpbs.org/news/2020/jun/06/la-mesa-protest-riots-fires-police-george-floyd/


Frank Gormlie June 6, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Sacramento city council to consider lifting curfew and dismissing National Guard

The Sacramento City Council will discuss lifting the citywide curfew and dismissing the National Guard in an emergency session Saturday afternoon, CBS Sacramento reports.

In a release sent Saturday morning, Mayor Darrell Steinberg wrote, “It is my intention to recommend to the Council that the curfew be lifted immediately and that the National Guard no longer be deployed in our city.”

This comes after a week of peaceful protests in downtown Sacramento and one near Steinberg’s house Friday night in the Pocket neighborhood of Sacramento.

“Last night’s peaceful and powerful demonstrations give me confidence that these steps, which we took reluctantly, are no longer necessary,” the release said.

The curfew was instituted on Monday as a result of the rioting and looting that took place last weekend in the city. Approximately 500 National Guard troops were also deployed to the city to protect critical infrastructure.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sent a letter to Mayor Steinberg and city council demanding the curfew be lifted within 24 hours, stating that curfews of such matter are in violation of the First Amendment.


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