NO KIDS ALLOWED!

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:47 am

actiongrl wrote:Significant to you, you mean.


sure there's quite a bit lost thats significant to me, but its not all about me.

Significant to the future of our world when this community raises its next generation?


- is that a goal?

- is it realistic and obtainable?

- what are the costs?
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Postby MikeVDS » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:06 pm

spectabillis wrote:sure there's quite a bit lost thats significant to me, but its not all about me.


Good point. :wink:
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Postby mo » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:11 pm

actiongrl wrote:Burning Man without kids is not Burning Man - this community has always included children. Larry Harvey's son was at the very first burn, and the kids would build a little Burning Dog to go alongside the man.

They're here to stay, as in any other city.


Burning Man has changed. When the first burners took their kids to the first burns, the event was not what it is now.

Most of us would agree that Burning Man is many different things, and a lot of us would agree that Burning Man has become, among other things, a world-class frat party and lewd bacchanal, where wild freaks of every stripe try to out-do each other with sophisticated(?) antics.

And let's be realistic, this is not a dwelling/settlement, this is a week-long party that organizes itself as a city.

Children are an optional component of BRC.
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Postby MikeVDS » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:55 pm

mo wrote:And let's be realistic, this is not a dwelling/settlement, this is a week-long party that organizes itself as a city.

Children are an optional component of BRC.


I always think it's funny when people define the event as what they do at the event. The funny thing is that I rarely drink at BM. I think the last time I was significantly inebriated at burningman in any way was when I got drunk at the pettingzoo/moonshine cafe in 2006 and that was one day of 9 I was out there that year. Sure that's fun sometimes, but it really has nothing to do with why I go out there, in fact I think that is one of the least fun/interesting things about the event. If that's what it is to you, I feel bad for you and wonder why you spend so much money to attend.

This last year was actually the most fun I've ever had at a burn and I was with my 1.5 year old nearly the whole time. It was also probably the best time she's had in her life as well. She loved the trailer lined with pillows and blankets, had nice cold AC to take her mid-day naps, she got to sleep with Mom and Dad and wake up with them every day (something she loves and normally doesn't get), first thing every day she got to go outside and play with Dad, and got to bike around (some of her other favorite activities). She danced to the music, ohhed and ahhed at blinkies. She kissed the faux flowers and flamingos the lined some neighbors camps. She loved a lot of the interactive art, especially the stuff she could bang on, make chime, or strum. I had many people thank me for bringing Finlee out there with me and we didn't get in the way of anyone else doing their thing. As far as I can tell from my anecdotal experience she brought lots of smiles, had lots of smiles and improved the overall experience of the event for many people.

As for children being optional, true, just like everything else is optional. If I thought your anecdote was true (which I don't), I think alcohol and drugs would be a better option to rid the city of. Thankfully I don't believe it's degenerated into only some big frat party (sure if that's what you want you can find it, but that's not all it is by a longshot). I don't think ridding the city of any options and making more rules would make it a better place for anyone.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:06 pm

MikeVDS wrote: what exactly is "the rest" that I failed to acknowledge?


the enforcement of most non-violent laws at burningman is completely arbitrary, and almost non-existant relatively compared to average populations.

we all know people do drugs at burningman, a hell of a lot of drugs by a hell of a lot of people. so its not possible to enforce a drug free burningman without excluding at least a quarter of the people, and the logistics of enforcement make it impossible. yet no law enforcement agency would ever dare admit that, and they will only enforce things enough to make it appear manageable while also appearing responsible in thier jobs. they do it easily, and most people easily adapt by taking simple precautionary measures.

but nudity, lewd behaviour, anything sexual in public view... these things are way too open to interpretation for anyone, especially leo's, to understand. now that its started, it results in law enforcement applying themselves arbitrarily at will with no limits and guidelines to issue citations or orders. its a very different thing than being able to say drugs in your pocket = possession.

since there is so much of it at burningman, no one is going to understand or agree with that enforcement, and on a level of disagreement that makes the drug issue look laughable. these are going to continue to create serious problems that no one is prepared to deal with (especially not the org)... and its going to continue the progression of the event into a generic mainstreamed environment.
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Postby Das Bus » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:10 pm

blah, blah, blah! I've heard this argument for the last 10 years. Let's move on to something else, like what are you going to build for next year?
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:56 pm

dont like it, ignore it or take that shit elsewhere.


you've had a serious problem doing that on two boards now, you're reaction is usually to escalate it.
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Postby Das Bus » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:21 pm

Excuse me???
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Postby Kinetik V » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:27 pm

Wow, I missed the memo that said it was ok to take arguments from the eplaya to 3Playa and vice versa. I know that when Marci left here to head over there it didn't get a warm reception and still doesn't. Why should the eplaya give a warm reception to bullshit being spread the other way?

As a 3 time mayor of Kidsville Lora has done a hell of a lot for this event. Perhaps what is perceived as escalation is simply a call for discussion of ideas...which is not a sign of weakness that's being portrayed in this case.

In short I think someone overstepped and is letting their mouth overload their ass again...and with AG weighing in that this argument is essentially dead since Larry supports kids at the event, all that's left is to cover the failed argument with a smokescreen at someone else's expense. Cough cough...we can still see through the smoke.
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Postby jkisha » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:38 pm

Das Bus wrote:blah, blah, blah! I've heard this argument for the last 10 years. Let's move on to something else, like what are you going to build for next year?


I whole-heartedly agree with you!

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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:55 pm

oh great jkisha


thanks for giving legitimacy to that when you dont know whats up, and im not going to post personal history knowing it will escalate things.

since it has nothing to do with the discussion, please dont feed it. if the discussion is repetitious, please either find a constructive response, or simply take it elsewhere. thats not an unreasonable request.
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Postby dr.placebo » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:43 pm

One more try, just to see if I can be more clear than before (maybe yes, maybe no).

There are people who wish to bring their offspring to Burning Man. They believe that the experience is good for them and their kids.

As in any city, the kids may see things that could disturb them. As in every other situation, the parents are legally and morally responsible for their child's welfare. More generally, any adult who takes on child care has a share of that responsibility.

Some claim that the presence of children at Burning Man has a chilling effect on some people's enjoyment of the event, and may attract a greater degree of law enforcement.

Banning something at Burning Man is generally associated with legal, safety, or humanitarian reasons. BLM can cause a ban, as can BM LLC. This can be a judgment call, as in the banning of dogs or firearms, rather than a legal requirement. It can also be a legal requirement, as in the age limits on alcohol or sexual consent, or the outright ban on illegal drugs.

I would say that a ban on anything at Burning Man should not be due to a preference by some, because there is likely to be a counter-preference by others. If I were to ban things that annoyed me at Burning Man it might include RV's, excessive techno, people who are unlit at night, and party barges with loud sound systems cruising the streets at 6 am. Luckily I have neither the inclination nor the authority to start banning these things.

Since there appears to be no legal reason for the ban, let's look at safety. Is there evidence to support the notion that kids are often injured or otherwise harmed on the playa? In particular, is the time spent on the playa more dangerous than ordinary activities (let's say, going to school)? I know that there are opinions, but I'm not aware of substantial evidence that such harm is present, and it runs counter to my limited experience. Let those with such evidence present it.

I think that parents who take their children to risky places, including hiking, cities, biking, and Burning Man, should take full responsibility. A failure to care properly for children should be an ejectable offense. But I would no sooner ban kids from the playa than I would ban them from Lassen. Incidentally, a 9-year old boy died at Lassen from a rockfall while I was there this summer. It was not his folks fault in any way, but there is no safe place on or off of this planet.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:34 pm

thanks for helping bring back civility.

after going over a few of the past topics, a pattern in the discussions is the responses by parents. it strikes me being around 70-80% supporting the presence of children, the rest usually say they dont believe it to be an appropriate environment. its been an emotionally charged issue for parents, but not in an overtly agressive way, but they are the most vocal and persistant.

i completely understand thier reasons for it, and many of those i agree with - if it wasnt for reality and some unintended effects. but unfortunately, the most vocal and persistant usually display the tendency to invalidate the significance of unintended negative effects, and that really disturbs me. it strikes me as uncaring, insensitive, or simply unaware how others react to it - like thier concerns dont matter. its almost like admitting to it is dangerous, fearful, or... well, not sure why.

it really reminds me of the same old camera debate, and how those who never felt comfortable or didnt like random people gawking at them and taking thier pictures... like they didnt matter. those for it, especially prof photographers, were the most vocal while invalidating and negating the reasons people had objected with.

been an ugly pattern, usually responded to with twists of logic... "well your objections to my intolerance is intolerance of what i want too"
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Postby MikeVDS » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:43 pm

but unfortunately, the most vocal and persistant usually display the tendency to invalidate the significance of unintended negative effects, and that really disturbs me. it strikes me as uncaring, insensitive, or simply unaware how others react to it - like thier concerns dont matter.


I admittedly do invalidate your opinion, but it's because you don't back it up with anything except unfounded fears of what could happen. Do you know anyone who's had trouble with LEOs because of nudity? I don't. If you do, was "minors" stated at all as the/a reason for this citation? As many people stated before, there is no evidence that you've provided that anything would be better for anyone, where many people provide direct examples of people who'd have a lesser burn if it wasn't for children.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:46 pm

i dont know iwhat most citations are based on anything, leal rarely releases that info. certain groups can be offcially and legally bound not to, but when it goes to court there is usually a public record, although i havent been able to get much myself. so like most situations its poor reliance on whoever says so publically, like narcotic offenses, and most people dont like to do that in addition to being advised not to.

so is there concrete proof? absolutely not. but unfortunately there isnt concrete proof it isnt happening either, except a sporadic post of hearsay. so i am currently relying on following the same patterns how leo groups have been progressively acting from the beginning with everything else. not perfect, but no one can do better.


but an important thing i doubt many understand is the incredibly fragile nature of artistic endeavors. ever try to censor an artists work? yeah, good luck with that. expect an artist to showcase or perform in a censoring environment? yeah, good luck with that too. and yet people expect it doesnt effect everyones various artistic freedoms of expression at burningman? definately good luck with that one.
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Postby rodiponer » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:30 am

OK, I can't take it any more. The back pedaling to vague declarations of patterns and trends and feelings that are not elaborated on...That is mumbling.

Thoughtful discussion requires complete thoughts.

I am interested in this topic. But now there are open ended questions about artists being afraid of children seeing them or cops thinking of children seeing their work? And censorship? What?

Also, I mean this in the most constructive way possible: Threatening or hinting at an ad hominem attack is the same as doing it. You can either take the intellectual high road and keep your mouth shut, or just say it and be dirty. It's not possible to have it both ways, as was tried three times in this thread, it just looks creepy and immature.
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Postby spectabillis » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:57 am

look, no one here has any responsiblity to you, period. if you dont understand something or think it should be elaborated on then you can ask, but there's absolutely no obligation anyone has to answer you. if you can't handle that, its not anyone else's problem but yours. if that frustrates you, then please try a mroe constructive way to deal with it.

as for the rest.. whatever. i'm the only one holding the discussion on track this long. so look around. it doesnt take a genius to realize most of the discussions on this board are snarky bullshit, overburdened by sock accounts, and a vile history that will invariably interrupt any discussion and likely sidetrack unless people consistantly make attempts to correct that.

and yet right after a few civil posts you reply with one that contributes to what you are complaining about. great. you dont seem to have a good grip to what goes on here - so check out the various topics in feedback for an understanding.
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Postby dr.placebo » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:20 am

Ideally, what I would prefer is that we could agree that banning some activity, especially one that has a long history, must be justified by some demonstration of harm. After all, the title of this thread proposes restricting the freedom of parents to bring their children to the playa, a freedom that has a historical basis.

One can justify this restriction by demonstrating that the children are significantly harmed. I'm still waiting for some kind of evidence on this one. The trouble is that there are a goodly number of parents who don't think that the evidence is there, and have experience with bringing their kids to the playa for multiple years, so the evidence needs to be fairly strong to counter their experience.

A second approach might be that the freedom to bring children must be curtailed in order to protect a larger freedom. That is the proposition when someone claims that artistic or expressive freedom is stifled by the presence of children. You have to show that a significant class of artists either stopped coming to the playa or refuse to consider coming to the playa because there are children present.

A third approach might be to claim that the very existence of Burning Man is threatened by the presence of children. I'm not sure how this one works, but it appears to be raised in previous posts. Perhaps one of the child protection laws might be invoked to shut down the event (even in the absence of evidence of harm). If this is the concern, then let's get busy and find out who's trying to pull the plug. I've not yet seen anything credible on this, but I'm open to seeing it.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that the danger is real, but the evidence is not gathered. Then, if you want to ban children, propose a means for gathering the evidence. If children are in danger, or the artists are in danger, or the event itself is in danger, then let's get more than personal opinion and vague anecdotes. If this issue is really important then it should justify the effort.
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Postby BitterDan » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:33 am

Personally, I have always had an issue with people bringing kids to the playa but, after a wise campmate told me, Burning Man is kid-heaven. I mean seriously, there are people dressed in all sorts of costumes and performing countless numbers of art all the time. This is exactly the place for a kid.

That being said, I am still adamantly opposed to bringing infants to the playa. If you bring an infant, you are not supporting the kid's freedom you are fulfilling your own selfish needs. There is no way that your 6 month old child is going to "get" burning man or have fun with it at all. It's your selfish need to attend burning man that drives you; not the safety of your child.
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Postby spectabillis » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:38 am

A third approach might be to claim that the very existence of Burning Man is threatened by the presence of children. I'm not sure how this one works...


thats about leo's enforcing indecency based laws

first, i want to clearly state that i dont personally feel good about the idea of banning children. but there's no way to keep leo's from using them as a justification. and no, i dont accept the excuse that leo's will do it anyways - because without the presence of children the freedom of artistic expression has legal legitimacy.
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Postby ygmir » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:35 am

very interesting conversation, thank you all.......I'm ambivalent, so, this may help......



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Postby MikeVDS » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:18 am

If you bring an infant, you are not supporting the kid's freedom you are fulfilling your own selfish needs.


I agree completely and in general would tell people NOT to bring an infant, but what freedom is there to support, especially before they are crawling? It's obviously selfish, just like any other activity you take an infant to. An exception to bringing your infant would be if you actually know what you're doing and could make their environment there as nice if not better than they would have at home.

I agree with the other posts that it's pretty silly to suggest banning children based on ideas of loss of freedom for everyone, when there isn't a shred of evidence of that. Is there specific evidence that they don't? No, but have you heard of the invisible pink unicorn, or celestial teapot? Check the link below. It basically shows why the burden of proof is on the one making the claims. Else you need to believe in my invisible pink unicorn I have, because you can't disprove it. At that point it becomes impossible to have an intelligent discussion. The only way a logical discussion can happen is if the person making the claims brings specific evidence of those claims, else it's a never ending conquest to try to disprove baseless claims and truly disproving something is impossible, you can only prove something to be true.

For those people who get offended by this conversation, it's obviously just for our own benefit. There is no real chance of kids being banned any time soon and this conversation, no matter how it goes, will not do anything to change the founders ideas of what they want the event to be.

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Postby Kinetik V » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:49 am

BitterDan wrote:If you bring an infant, you are not supporting the kid's freedom you are fulfilling your own selfish needs. There is no way that your 6 month old child is going to "get" burning man or have fun with it at all. It's your selfish need to attend burning man that drives you; not the safety of your child.


Wow. I'm part of a large family now and they take infants along on camping trips to Wyoming all the time...there's been at least one and up to three for the past 3 years. And we've had a ball figuring out safe ways to take them along, to keep them sheltered and comfortable...some of that same gear we developed came in very handy when we had a hail storm that piled up 5 inches deep and the transformer out back got blasted off the pole. We were able to keep them entertained, clean, comfy, and happy for 3 days of no power.

It's all in how you look at it. I'm researching how to build a positive pressure sheltered area on an art car that would keep the dust out yet we could take him along with us. And yeah...maybe it is selfish to take him along...lord knows after 7 months of having him around we could use the recharge / emotional / physical / spiritual / mental bounce that BM gives us each year to be better parents. It would be a sin to allow ourselves brief moments of happiness so we can stay strong as parents and be even better support for him. Damn...we're going to be the worst parents ever. Might as well go all out...ban chocolate as it offers happiness to us and not to him. Don't take the scenic route home...he's not going to remember it....I could go on but I think I've made my point. That line is silly.
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Postby actiongrl » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:13 am

I took my infant and I'd do it again. She spent a very large part of her day inside the RV, because in case you didn't know, babies mostly sleep. When she was awake, she wasn't taken very far from camp, in case of dust storms kicking up. If we did happen to be in another camp when weather happened, there was always a sheltered place to duck into. Same was true this year.

I wouldn't personally take my very young child or baby without an RV, but infants are in fact born in desert cultures and other harsh climates, every single day, and people find a way to protect them from the elements.

I also really don't see any substantiation of the claim that they're negatively impacting creativity or expression, nor that the environment or culture is bad for them. Just claims; no factual evidence. Maybe, just maybe, the complainers need to remember that children are people, not just small adjuncts to their parents, and that our kids have as much right to be there as you do.
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Postby Isotopia » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:39 am

yet no law enforcement agency would ever dare admit that, and they will only enforce things enough to make it appear manageable while also appearing responsible in thier jobs. they do it easily, and most people easily adapt by taking simple precautionary measures.

but nudity, lewd behaviour, anything sexual in public view... these things are way too open to interpretation for anyone, especially leo's, to understand. now that its started, it results in law enforcement applying themselves arbitrarily at will with no limits and guidelines to issue citations or orders. its a very different thing than being able to say drugs in your pocket = possession.

since there is so much of it at burningman, no one is going to understand or agree with that enforcement, and on a level of disagreement that makes the drug issue look laughable. these are going to continue to create serious problems that no one is prepared to deal with (especially not the org)... and its going to continue the progression of the event into a generic mainstreamed environment.



A pretty spot-on summary. I suspect one arrived at from having gone to event more than a few times. It pretty much reflects my own perceptions of LEO's 'rules of engagement.'

My personal opinion is also that LEO's have ulterior motives for a good number of their actions. They have to live in the area for the other 50-something weeks of the year and their constituents - the ones who elect and pay their salaries - are somewhat conservative and want to see that some sort of enforcement is taking place specific to drugs, assaults, etc.
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Postby MikeVDS » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:44 am

My 6 month old was good. She loved bikerides, even then (I have a nice bikeseat called the weeride where she can sit right in front of me on my bike). She'd fall asleep after about 20 minutes of riding, so we couldn't go to far either. I had problems with my RV so I rented a little teardrop trailer and threw an AC unit in it. It was pretty nice. She had her baby swing in there, and yes, napped most of the time too. That year was dusty so we were stuck around the trailer playing with her most of the time, which was still great for her. I felt comfortable with her because I was familiar with the event and with camping (with and without her). Most people I know wouldn't do well with an infant there, but it's very do-able, especially if you're experienced campers. You just have to expect things to revolve around the kid, like you would if you had the kid anywhere else. When we have another, it's likely that they'll be coming along as well. I still wouldn't recommend it; if someone has to ask if it's alright or questions it, then I don't think they are confident enough that they are up to speed with what needs to be prepared for. I know people who have trouble taking care of themselves there, so I wouldn't want them to bring someone who they need to care for.
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Postby Isotopia » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:49 am

I also really don't see any substantiation of the claim that they're negatively impacting creativity or expression


The old horse might be dead and rotted but the specter of the 'Jiffy Lube' sign incident remains a black spot on the event and its organizers. Make absolutely NO mistake that the LEOs would pull that censorious card out of their ass AGAIN if they felt compelled to do so and that it is quite likely that the LLC would acquiesce to their demands should something similar pop up on the radar in the future.

Here's one side of that story:
[URLhttp://www.newsreview.com/reno/content?oid=16465[/URL]

[URL]http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_7_33/ai_80924421/{/URL]

Here's another:
http://www.burningman.com/blackrockcity_yearround/jrs/extras/jiffylube.html
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Postby spectabillis » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:05 am

many thanks badger


i quote the following in full from the good doctor, because its one of those ideal essences of what can become of good discussions.

dr.placebo wrote:Ideally, what I would prefer is that we could agree that banning some activity, especially one that has a long history, must be justified by some demonstration of harm. After all, the title of this thread proposes restricting the freedom of parents to bring their children to the playa, a freedom that has a historical basis.

One can justify this restriction by demonstrating that the children are significantly harmed. I'm still waiting for some kind of evidence on this one. The trouble is that there are a goodly number of parents who don't think that the evidence is there, and have experience with bringing their kids to the playa for multiple years, so the evidence needs to be fairly strong to counter their experience.

A second approach might be that the freedom to bring children must be curtailed in order to protect a larger freedom. That is the proposition when someone claims that artistic or expressive freedom is stifled by the presence of children. You have to show that a significant class of artists either stopped coming to the playa or refuse to consider coming to the playa because there are children present.

A third approach might be to claim that the very existence of Burning Man is threatened by the presence of children. I'm not sure how this one works, but it appears to be raised in previous posts. Perhaps one of the child protection laws might be invoked to shut down the event (even in the absence of evidence of harm). If this is the concern, then let's get busy and find out who's trying to pull the plug. I've not yet seen anything credible on this, but I'm open to seeing it.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that the danger is real, but the evidence is not gathered. Then, if you want to ban children, propose a means for gathering the evidence. If children are in danger, or the artists are in danger, or the event itself is in danger, then let's get more than personal opinion and vague anecdotes. If this issue is really important then it should justify the effort.


i told him late last night how much its appreciated, but i also want to thank everyone else who has presently kept the discussion on track, and in the civil manner that allows it to hold.




edited: because i overlooked this small bit
actiongrl wrote:Maybe, just maybe, the complainers need to remember that children are people, not just small adjuncts to their parents, and that our kids have as much right to be there as you do.


cant speak for everyone, but it twists my stomach at the idea if they have been and the parent would have to tell them they cant come back. but i stopped taking note of the number and nature of the complainers over a couple of years ago, otherwise i would have linked it all. they were tribe discussions, not eply.
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Postby MikeVDS » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:22 am

Here are isotopia's links in a easy, error free format:

Here's one side of that story:
http://www.newsreview.com/reno/content?oid=16465

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_7_33/ai_80924421/

Here's another:
http://www.burningman.com/blackrockcity_yearround/jrs/extras/jiffylube.html

Very interesting reads
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Postby mo » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:27 am

A lot of this discussion is about personal choices parents are making regarding bringing their children with them to BRC.

The issue of the local kids going out there is of great importance to this discussion.

It is my understanding that the locals, including the local kids, get reduced-price tickets to the event.

The local law enforcement is personally invested here. Their kids, and their neighbors kids, go out to BRC and do whatever they do there. The cops probably get a lot of feedback from their neighbors about the influence of Burning Man on the local kids.

A visit to BRC is a mind blowing event for sophisticated urbanites. Imagine being a kid from a sparsely populated rural county in NW Nevada and going out to BRC. It might challenge your home paradigm.

I've not had much interaction with the locals, or the cops, but I can pretty easily imagine that there are a lot of people who live in the vicinity of the event who think that Burning Man is sinful and wrong. When their kids sneak out there, they probably get concerned. They probably voice their concerns in their churches and their communities and the local cops probably are involved in those discussions.

If BM were a 21+ event, there might be less pressure from the locals, via the cops, to reform or keep a lid on things.
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