Behavior at Events

In response to the proposal of AB74

This bill is a consequence of a world where people stop caring about themselves and about others.

In reality, there are points where an event becomes "too large" and it's hard to control people going over extreme edges. But I wonder how many people are aware of the consequences of their actions when they hit the cliff. It would be soothing to know that everyone knows what risks they are getting themselves involved with.

I would love to see more party-goers and event organizers to go out of their way to educate their peers about "conducive-to-living" behaviors and in general make sure people are not going overboard, but I don't realistically think it will happen.

As far as the bill goes, I think it's silly.

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Personally I don't think the bill is addressing the situation in the right way. Unfortunately, I have no better, realistic solutions... although in general I would love to see funding for and emphasis on youth education regarding the pharmacodynamics of major "party" psychoactives (caffeine and alcohol included) when people get into an event, and I would love to see ACTIVE EYES on people who might be engaging in dangerous levels of excess during events from both the attendees and the organizers...

I don't know exactly why people died during the massives - I wasn't next to them - but when I hear about things like that, it makes me feel like shit when I'm at a party and not handing out water because there are people sweating up a storm. It makes me feel like I don't care enough about other people when I'm dancing by myself for 5 hours and not looking around to see if there are motionless people slumped over a speaker.

The truth is, maybe those people are JUST FINE and I don't need to bother them. People get their kicks in lots of different ways. But if I never ask to begin with, I really don't know.

A part of me would love to go to massives and tell people this: Start caring about your fellow participants. Take the time to actually look at those "other people" around you, both the people you came with and all the strangers, and talk to them. See how they are doing. Especially if they look like they're in a sweating frenzy, passed out in a corner, or hunched over in a sickly pose.

Hey, you might have to give up partying all night long. You might break that special trance you work yourself up into when you're 4 hours deep into energetic dancing. You could even find yourself shuttling water and medical staff (if there even is medical staff) over to people who desperately need it. But maybe... just maybe you might save someone's life.

OK, reality check. Who really wants to take care of "other" people when they're "partying" at a massive? Aren't the people at an event supposed to take care of themselves? It's their fault when they OD, right? It's the parents' fault for not having a handle on their 15 year old children who spend their Friday nights at 2 am sucking down 4lokos and other chemical concoctions like candy, right?

And isn't that the JOB of the promoters? Well, in general I think large event organizers view young people as
1) too much of a liability to deal with, so calling it 21+ or 18+ (depending on who's doin' it) works fine
2) a good source of $$$, especially the ones with rich parents

The problem with reliance on big event organizers is this: a profit-oriented organization will generally only concern themselves with your individual well-being to the extent that it needs to legally, and not beyond that. No one is really going to search you head-to-toe at a massive, and no one is really going to remind you how to handle substances once you get inside. There is a breaking point when an event gets so large that there simply aren't enough eyes (on the part of the organizers) floating around to make a difference. What then? Does it fall on the party-goers themselves?

I think the real questions people should be asking themselves are: once these people are with me at an event, how am I going to treat them? Is it worth taking time from my own personal pleasure to look after others? When parents are not around to look after their children, should it become the community's responsibility to do so?

I don't think people don't die because there are public or even underground raves. How will young people who normally attend these events pass their idle time otherwise? Find some other way to blow their brains out into oblivion?

I think people (unwillingly) die when they stop caring about themselves AND ABOUT EACH OTHER. How a local government can realistically enforce a better mindset... I have no clue to be honest.

When you have a chance to be responsible for others, you can make choices that deeply affect other people. Maybe some choices don't create a sustainable environment for the way you choose to operate, but there are still decisions to make.

I don't believe for a moment that "the promoters did everything they could to prevent this type of thing." You'll have to qualify that statement somehow. I don't know if event organizers really look at the environment they put their participants in and decide to quickly act when things are becoming potentially dangerous.

OK - honestly, I don't blame promoters in particular. I bring up the promoters' viewpoint because I don't think they are going to "overextend" themselves to keep the health of their attendees as a top priority. I don't expect them to do everything they can, and I don't think other people should either. In that sense, I would hope that individuals take responsibility for their own actions. But I would like to believe that the responsibility can extend across the board. How does that work?

Am I glorifying substance abuse when I promote for my events? Am I encouraging a "fucked up lifestyle" when I go out every weekend and wake up Monday morning hazy on the details of the past 3 days - and then talk about it like it was an awesome experience? Is someone going to look at me, especially people who aren't as experienced as I am, and take my behaviors into strong consideration when making their own decisions?

I don't care to blame anyone in particular, especially not the individuals. It's way too easy to see how their own decisions could impact themselves. Yes, if you choose to eat a lot of MDMA, you may die. I'd hope everyone who attempts to consumes psychoactives knows that. But many people don't operate in complete social isolation at a "massive" - there's plenty of opportunity for human interaction there. In fact, I would guess that a lot of people who first stumble upon the "rave culture" in this country and especially the Bay Area may be drawn to its "foundational tenets" (this so-called PLUR thing), which I think people believe tout implicit community - and this is definitely appealing, because people want to be cared for and belong to something meaningful at a communal level, especially if they aren't getting those feelings from their blood families or coincidental peers at school/work.

When I mention that I don't know how people died as massives, I mean that I don't know all the circumstances in their lives that led them to that point. If you were a friend of someone who found themselves dead after taking too many pills, maybe you would sit down, clear your head, and wonder about all the things you could have done to make a difference there. That kind of thinking does not have to solely exist in the minds of a deceased person's "close friend network" - and personally, at least for me, I really don't think it should, either.

If a community wants to further the heavy idealism attached to the "rave scene" then people are going to have to THINK about what kind of difference they can make beyond the close friends they party with, and (at least) some people are going to have to ACT. When I think about it more, it's not so much death that bothers me, but the general sense of isolation one can feel even in the midst of a 10,000 person crowd supposedly dancing all as one... the lack of direct human care and empathy - that we all have opportunities to affect (if we want to) - in the highly individualized society we live in.

In response to the question/comment: If there are water fountains, then who gives a fuck what the bottled water costs? We spent so much time and effort building pipes to bring water down from halfway across the state and people instead ship bottles that come from the same damn place.

Response: I believe it's a matter of convenience ---> I'm in the middle of the dance floor. I'm thirsty. Now I gotta wade through a crowd of 5,000 people to get a drink.

As an event organizer you can do a lot to help your attendees stay hydrated, and allowing the venue to charge $8 for a bottle of water is not something that is conducive to doing that in my opinion... along with all the other things mentioned in this thread.

In the particular case of ETD.Pop 2010... I don't know the contractual details between the Cow Palace and Skills but I feel like at some point someone could have said, "OK, $8 for a bottle is a bit too high, what if we help cover some of those estimated costs to provide a potentially safer environment for our attendees" - or something like that. Now whether that is a sound business decision or not is beyond me but those kinds of things are still options for promoters...

Thus, this is why I don't really think people are doing "all that they can" in regards to the safety and health of their attendees. Maybe "all that they can while maintaining a good bottom line" would be more appropriate. But the truth is, every promoter can always do more (at some cost), and honestly it's easy in hindsight to see what could have been done better... learn from the past...

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