Saturday, February 4, 2012


Thirty eight years ago today, at 9PM on February 4th 1974, the aptly named “Steven Weed” and his girlfriend Patty were hanging out in their Berkley apartment watching a television show called “The Magician”. Steve was seven years older than Patty. He wore big round glasses and a porn-star mustache. To their surprise three people they had never met before came to visit them at their flat.

One of the visitors was DD Defreeze. DD did not think his own name was cool enough so he preferred to be called Cinque Mtume as a reference to Joseph Cinque who led a slave rebellion on a ship named Amistad in 1839. DD wanted to start a “Black Revolution” in the US, and had gathered almost a dozen followers, but all his followers were white. DD was a desperate escaped convict and criminal mastermind. He had been convicted in 1972 (at the age of 29) of stealing 10$ from a prostitute, and simply walked away from a work gang on the 5th of March 1973.

DD’s friends were Willy Wolfe, and Nancy Ling Perry. Most casual observers would think that “DD Defreeze and Willy Wolfe” would be cool enough names. If anyone needed to change their name to be more like that of a fictional comic book character it would have been Nancy. Nancy was a sweet girl who had given up being a cheerleader, Sunday school teacher, and campaign worker for Barry Goldwater to pursue a future in topless entertainment and drug addiction. Perhaps one of the reasons they beat “Steve Weed” up so violently was that Nancy was jealous of his name?

The actual reason they had come was to meet Patty. She was thin, rich, and impressionable. They would kidnap her, keep her blindfolded for almost two months, and indoctrinate her into their philosophy. Eventually Patty would change her name to “Tania”.

DD called his group the Symbionese Liberation Army. He liked the term symbiosis and thought everybody should live together in peace, and he was willing to shoot a bunch of people in order to make that happen.

“We are of many colors, but yet of one mind, for we all in history’s time on this earth have become part of each other in suffering and in mind, and have agreed that the murder, oppression and exploitation of our children and people must end now, for we have all seen the murder, oppression and exploitation of our people for too long under the hand of the same enemy and class of people and under the same system.” — DD Defreeze from his Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War.

Eventually Nancy would take on the name “Fahizah”. DD and most of his followers would die on the 16th of May 1974 in a blaze of peace while firing over 9,000 rounds of assorted ammunition at LAPD officers.

Fahizah would die in the gun battle (mortally wounded in both the right lung and spine), but Tania would survive. Years later a character she was playing would be beaten to death by Sybil Sheppard in John Waters’s film “Serial Mom”.

Patty would find love and marry her bodyguard. He was Named Bernard Shaw. He was eight years older than Patty, and had a bushy porn-star mustache.

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