Life on the Slabs

Blog Post
Fox News broke a story wherein San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriffs found that a couple of people and three minor children had been living in a plywood box in the desert for four years. Read more here.
I was surprised that it was news because there are a lot of really big hobo jungles in California that have been in operation for many decades with similar conditions. I thought of this more or less like a dog bites man story – interesting but very common place.
There are massive homeless and sanctuary city encampments in California where people shit on the streets of Anaheim, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. 55,000 in the downtown Los Angeles streets alone. They are guests of a state which makes sure to register all of these down-and-outers to vote for the democrat of their choice.
Navy’s first prototype for the Desert Patrol Vehicle,
Camp Billy Machen, California
That’s not what this blog post is about. Not really. The Punchbowl in Imperial County, California’s Chocolate Mountains provides a bombing range for the US Navy and Marine Corps

(Proving Ground (YPG), and the Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro ranges) 

The live fire ranges abut a US Naval Special Forces desert training area. I’ve been there and in the odd hours where we didn’t have much to do, we’d get in a Jeep (before the Humvee – Navy was very slow to acquire new rides) or in what was then called a “Desert Patrol Vehicle” – developed by SEAL Team 5, the Navy’s Cold Weather Team…make of that what you will… and cruise the slabs. It’s like a dystopian movie.
The Slabs, also called Slab City has a wikipedia page HERE. Can you imagine that?
During the winter, Canadians in large motorhomes showed up but for most of the year, there were feral families living on the fringe. They made their living on government benefits or on stealing unexploded ordnance from the Navy and Marine Corp’s bombing ranges. 
The Slabs were awash with urchins who should have been in school but weren’t because in California, there was no will to insure that they attended. The snowbirds headed north and ceded the area to its permanent residents when the weather warmed. 
We often saw the kids fishing in the California Aquaduct, which was and likely is thoroughly polluted. It was not a Navy mission to save the host of possibly thousands of children and their deadbeat parents.
I think that my point is that though California boasts of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Disneyland, and the highest taxes in the nation, they also ignore vast armies of bums and their feral children, many of whom are born on the slabs. It’s grist for a Mad Max style movie and you can go drive around there yourself and see for yourself. There are murders in the slabs. Imperial County (CA) Sheriffs doesn’t patrol the area. It’s squatted on by scrappers and their ad hoc organization, if you can call it that, calls the shots.
The slabs date back to General Paton’s desert training center pre-deployment in Operation Torch during World War 2. Concrete slabs were poured for barracks. The barracks were dismantled long ago but the slabs remain. It’s where the “scrappers” who hoard unexploded ordnance and the snowbirds from Canada live. They don’t exactly live side-by-side, but surprisingly leave each other well enough alone. The scrappers and the Canadians leave the Navy and Marine Corps alone. Sometimes the Marines raid the slabs looking for aluminum retarding fins for snake eyes or actual unexploded 500 lbs pound bombs. Sometimes they fetch back other explosive-related items. Mostly not, though.
Progressives like living in expensive compounds or high rise apartments with armed guards to protect them. You don’t see them at the slabs in summer when it’s 120  degrees in the shade.

21 thoughts on “Life on the Slabs

  1. Please, please California, leave the United States.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  2. Access denied on the Fox News link.
    Like your story.
    Are you putting me on?
    I toured CA once, north to south.
    It seems it has changed since then.

  3. I found the story at this link:

    I can't understand how the liberal/progressives who run California don't get the opprobrium they deserve for allowing this to continue. Who is benefiting from the super high taxes?

  4. I didn't know about Slab City and now I do. Definitely movie material, along with the DPVs.

    I'll wager Nancy Pelosi doesn't spend much time on the slabs.

  5. Not putting you on at all. CUBE found the link (below).
    LAT: 33.252793
    LONG: -115.464935
    That's Slab City.

  6. A lot of the money goes to graft, and to buying votes. For much of the state (like FL), there is no frost to hole the roads, but infrastructure is inadequate and traffic in urban areas is impossible much of the time.

    The welfare benefits are higher in CA than they are elsewhere. I know a guy who has a Cadillac healthcare plan (0 cost) and receives $2500/mo on welfare and assorted programs, housing assistance, and is told if he wants to keep all that, he must vote Democrat. And of course, he's a Democrat. There is a back story to his life, but in essence, that's how he lives – rather well.

  7. You know, I've never seen Nancy at the slabs (unless she was in mufti). However, there are plenty of unwashed in San Francisco where petty theft is now legal from what I'm told.

  8. US Navy Desert Warfare Training Base – Camp Billy Machen
    LAT: 33.291433
    LONG: -115.491639

  9. Slab City reminds me of my first trip to Cali when I was about 13 yo. I remember going through Barstow and seeing all the snow birds in their Rv's out in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't figure out the attraction.

    Since then I've spoken to many snow birds and my first question is always, "What do you do all day?" Their answers are the stuff of nightmares for me. Visiting with each other and playing cards is no way to end your life.

    I'm not a big fan of the desert. I can see the beauty during bloom time in the Painted Desert, but other than that it doesn't hold much appeal.

  10. There used to be a home at the slabs built completely out of old refrigerators…the guy who lived there must have had a hundred of them. It reflected a type of weird genius, because the place was surely insulated. It gets very hot at the slabs.

  11. Quartzsite, AZ is sort of Canada-South for the winter. There are many thousands of RV's, Canadian flags proudly waving. I asked a Canuk that I know who goes there WHY QUARTZSITE? He had the same reaction you have. They walk between RV's, chat, play canasta and bridge and wait to die.

  12. That's a pretty crazy story – life on the slabs. I had to load the Wiki page manually, no big deal. You mention some people scavenging for munitions. stealing unexploded ordnance from the Navy and Marine Corp's bombing ranges.

    Then what? Do they sell them to Los Zetas or ISIS or whoever the highest bidder is?

  13. Been there too. They do have a great flea market and a huge gem and mineral show.

  14. I didn't doubt the veracity of our host and I hope it didn't seem that way.
    It was more of a "You got to be kidding me!" comment.

  15. His social worker…only if he wants to keep the cash flowing. I don't doubt his veracity. My voting registration was changed unbidden by me from Republican to Democrat.

  16. They sell the steel bomb casings and the aluminum retarding fins for scrap cash. I have no idea what they do with the detonators and explosives. On guy stole a few unexploded Rockeyes and he had them rolling around in the bed of his pick up. The kids used them as lawn darts or some such. Anyway, those veins that spin as it falls finally spun enough that it was armed. He slammed his breaks at a red light in Brawley and the Rockeye slid forward and blew the front of the pick up to chaff. This is a long time ago when I was down there with the Teams, so it's like 1989 or some such. I've heard tell of bombs found in the back of trucks. They use engine hoists there at the bombing range to steal them and lift them.

  17. Well, at least he didn't clutch his chest and keel over while playing canasta. (Sorry. Gallows humor, I know. Just can't resist a softball over the plate.)

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