There have been complaints, meetings and discussions recently about town teenagers and out-of-towners tagging walls with spray paint. The contents of the markings have been categorized as “hate” speech, evidently the focus of comments are Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans or Jews.

Where do these half- grown children get their hate? From their parents, that’s where. Where did their parents get it? From their parents, that’s where. These days, Fox News is a source for divisive diatribe that causes hate.

Idyllwild in the 1960s was a “redneck” town. It has only recently been partially “gentrified” by second homeowners from the flatlands. In the 1960s, Idyllwild factions hated “hippies.”

Where the current Fort stands, in the 1960s stood Welsh’s Carriage Inn, a restaurant and bar with a dance floor. Rod Welsh, the owner, regularly refused service to people with long hair. About 1970, a hippie attorney was refused service and sued. Rod was put on probation. Eventually, he closed the restaurant.

In the 1960s, rednecks of Idyllwild formed a group called the “Vigilantes.” This group, composed of townspeople, e.g., electrician, plumber, handyman, a couple of carpenters and contractors, etc., most of whom have passed away, would go around in the middle of the night and “terrorize” hippies who were staying in various houses. They would tell them, “We don’t like your kind,” “Leave town, or else!” etc. These terrorists continued their harassment until a father of one of the hippies, a lawyer, sued the Vigilantes. About 1968, to my understanding, they were told to cease and desist from their hate campaign by a Hemet court.

Some time went by and the wives of the now thwarted Vigilantes kept the hate going, got on board, and started the “Militant Mothers of Idyllwild.” The militant mothers, being real estate agents, shop owners and shopkeepers, kept watch on traffic in town. When one of them spotted a hippie parking a vehicle, the woman would sneak over, unobserved, and slip a preprinted flyer under the windshield wiper.

The flyer said something like, “We have noted your presence in Idyllwild, we will note everywhere you go. We will give our notes to the sheriff,” signed, “the Militant Mothers of Idyllwild.”

Any of you ladies have one of those flyers tucked away in the closet?

Hate, whether speech, thoughts or action, remains rampant in this world. Let’s try to smooth out our differences.

T.S. Bennett
Mountain Center