Reconciling a Couple Tragedies

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Reconciling a Couple Tragedies

Postby gladeye » Mon Sep 01, 2003 3:09 pm

As part of my "come down" after each Burning Man I comb the internet and papers for reports, stuff I might have missed, disinformation, etc. I was saddened to read that this year a woman fell under an art car at 3:00 a.m. Saturday and died, and that there were two playa related plane crashes (with injuries, but fortunately no fatalities). The facts of these three tragedies have been repeated pretty much unaltered by all the news services, but I haven't been able to find out a few things though, such as... WHICH art car did that poor woman fall under? Did she or any of the people on those planes belong to any named or theme camps? I partly feel a little guilty for wondering details like that when what really matters is what happened to them, but I guess more details somehow make it all more real for me or something. I don't know. I can't even begin to imagine how much their friends and loved ones were affected. Burning Man is about so many good, positive, cathartic, healing feelings, and to be slapped across the face with needless death and injury there like that is beyond me. And aside from all that, I find myself wondering how we might honor and remember the woman that died, beyond writing about her on the walls of David Best's next "Temple of...". I'd appreciate it if anyone could offer any information, wisdom, or ideas about any of this.
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a few thoughts on accidents/deaths at burningman

Postby morleybear » Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:40 pm

I spoke Saturday morning with one of the survivors of one of the plane crashes, as he's an acquaintance. (I would rather not give names/camps as it's not really my place to say). He was quite understandably shaken, but was trying his best to look on it as a sign that he's not done yet and he still has something left to do on this earth. He was trying to walk away having learned something, having grown, and having beaten the odds. Those types of small plane crashes can often prove far nastier, and the riders in that plane were very lucky to have survived (due in no small part to quick thinking and smart piloting, I'm sure).

In conversations Saturday I found many people reminding each other of the fact that Black Rock is a city of over 30,000. One accidental death in a week in which we all push our limits is actually pretty impressively low given the high attendance.

I do not mean in any way to diminish the sadness and tragedy of the loss of life. The woman who was killed by the art car will I am sure be greatly missed by her friends and family, and I think we all feel great sympathy for everyone touched by her death.

But I do think we all need to remind ourselves that no matter where we are on this planet, we're not safe from accidents and death. Even when we're in a supportive community where we feel free to open up and let go of boundaries and inhibitions, there are still going to be Bad Things happening. It happens every year. In a community this big, how can it *not*?

If anything, I hope the news of these events made some folks stop and think before their travels home. After all, it seems that the most dangerous part of burningman can be the drive down the 447 to the 80. This is particularly true if you leave at night - I saw at least one overturned truck, and the truck several hundred feet in front of me swerved several feet into the ditch and then back onto the road. People really need to think twice before heading out at 3am on little to no sleep and trying to navigate winding rural highways. Trying to wind your way home a few blocks to your camp at 3am when you're drunk is one thing - trying to wind your way down the 447 when you're drunk and/or sleep deprived is just plain suicidal.
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News on the girl who fell from the dome Tuesday night?

Postby Mark Hinkley » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:13 am

Tuesday night we saw a girl fall from the dome on 2:00 next to Boombox. The fall did not look survivable but I later heard that the art car incident Friday night was the first fatality of the Burn. Any word on how the girl I saw fall is doing?
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Art car tradgedy

Postby Gothalot » Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:44 pm

I heard about this the morning of my departure the morning after the burn. I do not know who the girl is but there is something I would like to do for her or others that could end up like her. The actual circumstances of what happened have not been made privy as of yet. I am speculating that she was not seen by the car. I spent many nights nearly walking into pedestrains myself that were unlit, that included unlit bikers too. I watched a BRC golfcart with 2 males and 2 females (the driver holding a beer and drunk) nearly run down a slow moving biker at an intersection in broad daylight, but thats another issue. People need to light up better, all of them not just a select few.

I would like to take up a collection that would provide for the purchase of glowsticks that all art cars can carry around and distribute to people that arent lit. This can create an awareness for the art cars and the people stupidly walking without light.
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Re: Art car tradgedy

Postby III » Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:52 pm

people stupidly walking without light.


it's not the people who get hit that are the problem. its the ones who can't tell where they're going that are.

i'm liking the enchanted rebar forest more and more. too bad that barbed wire seems to be outlawed now. i don't remember reading anything about that in the survival guide...
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safety is not a one sided endeavour

Postby Luz da Vida » Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:56 pm

to III: it is not only about the floats to look where they are going. safety has to be maximized, and this means people looking where they are going and everyone having at least a couple of glowsticks on them.

my friend on his bike, almost sober, ran over some kid passed out in the middle of the playa, completely dressed in black. luckily no injuries. don't tell me it was the bike rider's fault....

as for the main topic of this thread, my friends saw this guy who decided to spit out and light on fire whatever he was drinking get his whole chest and face lit on fire... he had to be taken to the hospital.
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Re: safety is not a one sided endeavour

Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:14 pm

> everyone having at least a couple of glowsticks on them.

The day I have to have glowsticks on me is the day I tell all y'all to kiss my ass and don't look back.

> don't tell me it was the bike rider's fault....

Where was the bike rider's lamp for illuminating his path? People aren't the only obstacle out there. You shouldn't overdrive your headlights in a car. Why would you do it on a bike?
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Postby III » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:15 pm

>don't tell me it was the bike rider's fault

it was the bike riders fault.
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Re: safety is not a one sided endeavour

Postby PJ » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:58 pm

...safety has to be maximized...

Burning Man is dead; long live Disneyland.

...my friend on his bike, almost sober, ran over some kid passed out in the middle of the playa...

That's more like it.

...my friends saw this guy who decided to spit out and light on fire whatever he was drinking get his whole chest and face lit on fire...

Finally, somebody that gets it.
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Oh come on! Glowstick phobic.

Postby Gothalot » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:00 pm

Alright get real. If you recal the name of the Burning Man game so to speak is SELF RELIANCE. It is up to each individual to take care of ones self. That means sorting out your visability. Dont wear a glowstick for all I care, then when an unlighted biker hits you and you are bleeding along side your new injured biker friend in a bucket of blood you can bitch to each other about how stupid you both were as you fall into a coma because no one could find you. How darwinian is that? In addition since one of you needs an education in survival, glowsticks are not the only answer, just a cheep one. Buy a red bike light an slam it on your ass and a white light to see where you are going. Then you have to rely on no one.
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Postby gladeye » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:35 pm

No one wants it to be like Disneyland <shiver>. Yes, it's about radical expression in a radical environment. My own camp, Pinky's Prim Patty, a pirate bar, had two tall crow's nest added this year and I was a little nervous about what they could lead to, but no one was forced to climb them (that I know of!). Yes, everyone is responsible for themselves, but I don't see why that responsibility excludes you from any compassion if and when you are injured, or worse, killed. A big part of Burning Man for a lot of people is risk taking and purposely impairing senses. You can scoff at and mock it and snidely remark that the guy who burns himself has the right idea and is proving darwinian theory, or you can show a little compassion for a fellow human who needlessly suffered. Is this really the time to take a jaded, cynical, snotty posture?
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Postby III » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:39 pm

>That means sorting out your visability.

seems to me that in this case responsibility is directly proportional to kinetic energy.
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Postby Lydia Love » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:48 pm

Is this really the time to take a jaded, cynical, snotty posture?


This is the natural posture of some people. I wouldn't change them if I could.


Compassion is one thing. Turning Burning Man into an event that caters entirely to the lowest common denominator is another.
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Pricipitate likes raves and glowsticks.

Postby Gothalot » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:51 pm

I believe my comment is directed at the person complaining about using a glowstick or any other light source for that matter (Precipitate). My comment regarding darwin's survival of the fitest is intended soley for the sad twat who lacked compassion. Please re-read the thread of the conversation before you assume I have no compassion, please read above also about my wishes to provide glowsticks to those without in order to have a safe playa, is that lacking compasion. Thank you. Would you like fries with that?
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:54 pm

Thunderdome without actual threat of injury would not be Thunderdome.

Burning Man is going to have some injuries, many serious, and some deaths. When it's regulated so as to eliminate injury it won't be Burning Man anymore. Many who no longer attend will point out that it's already true.

It would be strange if any city of 30000 had no deaths in a week's time.
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Postby III » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:56 pm

>Many who no longer attend will point out that it's already true.

i like to call em "training wheels".

i also like pj's avatar.
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:21 pm

III wrote:i also like pj's avatar.


That might be me on the left. It's hard to tell from the photo.
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thunderdome

Postby Gothalot » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:23 pm

I hate to take the thread off too far but, damn when is that group going to refresh their act a little eh? Yawn.
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Postby Luz da Vida » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:30 pm

c'mon people. this is just common sense. you can't see a man dressed in black in the middle of the night - it was NOT the bikers fault. my friend who was on the bike DID have a light. it is just that the light is not set nor capable of iluminating the next 3 feet ahead of you, it shines light on the next 6 or more feet ahead. and REMEMBER you are not always riding a straight line. is this enough explanation of why it was not his fault?

and i do believe that if you don't like glowsticks wear something else that will help people see you. it is about maximizing safety, not making it harder to make it safe. and yes of course BM is not a very safe place (for american standards - in a third world country any highly regulated theme park would be just as safe), but does that mean you shouln't put a water bottle over your rebars??!!? BM would obviously die before it becomes disneyland, but does wearing something that can be seen in the dark diminish the amount of fun you can have? especially when you can't control your substance abuse and pass out in the middle of the playa? if my friend hadn't hit that guy (we gave him a bottle of water and suggested he layed out by a nearby structure) who knows what he would have been hit by??
Last edited by Luz da Vida on Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:35 pm

My point is that you should not attempt to dictate to me how I should be safe. That's my responsibility both when I succeed and when I fail.

I never said being visible at night was a bad idea. Y'all inferred that part. I just dislike glowy blinky crap. And I particularly dislike anything that begins with, "Everyone should ..."

And while I sympathize with your friend who ran someone over on his bicycle, I do still believe that it is his responsibility to illuminate effectively the path of his bicycle. So yeah, it's still his fault. "I couldn't see where I was going" is not a valid defense. But I'm not attacking him for that, shit happens. Now he knows the limits of his bike light.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:41 pm

> especially when you can't control your substance abuse and pass out in the middle of the playa

More abdication of responsibility. If you can't control yourself, you have no business being in an environment like Burning Man. If you choose to let yourself get out of control, you're still responsible for what happens to you.
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Postby Luz da Vida » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:43 pm

precipitate, when you rode your bike did you have your eyes set on every inch of ground ahead you were about to cover?
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:49 pm

> when you rode your bike did you have your eyes set on every inch of ground ahead you were about to cover?

Yes. Is that unusual? It's not like your bike covers that much area in front of you. Unless you're swerving around or something.
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Postby obsidity » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:57 pm

True, radical self reliance is a tenet of our society. YOU are responsible for yourself. However, by not putting some marker to locate your body for others, you are putting the responsibility on them for your endangerment and their feelings of guilt if they hurt you accidentally. Especially this year with no moon, it was incredibly difficult to see non lit people. It is important to have proper lights on your bike, your body etc. It isn't about how risky you can make it, it's about taking care of each other. I was handing out glowsticks to people that were wandering around in the darkness. I lit myself with a light in the front and the back bcse sometimes the only way I could see people is from their outline against the city. It worried me, for their safety and and for mine.You risk your life cuz that's that's what you're all about, but then we have to take care of you when you are hurt. Sad.
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Postby clandyone » Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:04 pm

For the record, I heard that the woman who was hit was riding on the back of an art car, which was towing a genny on a trailer. She fell off and was run over by the trailer.
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Postby Tristan » Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:35 pm

> YOU are responsible for yourself.

unfortunately many people are not responsible for themself and they put *others* at risk.

it's ok to put yourself at risk, that's part of the game at BM. i did climb very high scafolding observation towers last year where just a slip and I would have died, i climbed to the top of thunderdome, i played with fire, etc.

but this i saw way too many people riding or walking at night on the playa with no light. this is ok when there is some moon light, like the last couple of years, but this year there was no moon, and it was virtually impossible to see people except when you could locate their shadow in front of some illuminated background, and that was not always possible. i kept telling people to please use lights, and yes i got pretty pissed off at the situation after several near-misses. how difficult is it to tape a glow-stick in your bicycle wheel?

one night i nearly missed one chair that was left abandonned on the playa. responsable people make sure that their art installations are visible at night. i did. just a few glowstick do the job.

i saw some smart people lying on the playa who had tiny blinkers attached to they shoes, enough to see them and it does not create any light that could bother them. i don't like glowsticks either, but there are many alternative, including low-brightness coolneon wire, tiny bliking jewelery etc.
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Postby Actus » Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:42 pm

The woman who died late Friday night was in my camp and her name was Kathy Lampman. Information on her death can be found on another thread here:

viewtopic.php?t=26
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Postby BRADLEY M FOLSOM » Tue Sep 02, 2003 10:58 pm

My heart goes out to the family of Kathy Lampman.I was at the temple when the tragedy happened.I rushed to the scene and people were already performing cpr on her.I still cant stop thinking about that poor girl.I watched the police load up a bike and i assumed that she was hit on her bike.I know that we all assume the risk of serious injury or death by attending and that fingers cannot be pointed.I read that it was her 21 birthday.Again im sorry for her family.
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Postby Hotspur » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:11 pm

Tristan wrote:> YOU are responsible for yourself.

unfortunately many people are not responsible for themself and they put *others* at risk.


This is exactly the point. There do have to be rules because otherwise irresponsible people will get the responsible ones killed or hurt.

It's not possible to responsibly enjoy BM if you're have to worry about some jackass constantly putting your life at risk.

You want to risk your own life, fine..that's your business. But the moment your stupidity puts me at risk, we have a problem.

Personally, I think it's irresponsible not to put a light on yourself at night. You're running a really big risk. You want to blame the cyclist? Maybe he was riding too fast for his visibility? Sure. Happens all the time. But the responsible thing to do is to put yourself in a position that, given that you KNOW that bicyclists are not being as careful as they should be, that you don't put yourself under any undo risk. It would be hard for me to have any sympathy for someone walking around on the playa at night without some sort of light, especially in a new moon year like 2003.
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Re: Reconciling a Couple Tragedies

Postby Jade » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:31 am

>>Burning Man is about so many good, positive, cathartic, healing feelings, and to be slapped across the face with needless death and injury there like that is beyond me. And aside from all that, I find myself wondering how we might honor and remember the woman that died, beyond writing about her on the walls of David Best's next "Temple of...". I'd appreciate it if anyone could offer any information, wisdom, or ideas about any of this.[/quote]

[quote="La La"]Hello,
We just arrived home yesterday. We sent this letter to Jack Rabbit Speaks as well. We are posting this because we feel strongly that everyone should be aware of another accident that happened on Saturday night (in front of the Mutaytor show) just a few minutes after
the man burned. The reason that we feel that we need to let more people know what happened is because we feel it is pretty clear that a few well meaning people with art cars need to be more diligent in the structural integrity of their art cars and better know the limits of what kind of weight they can take.


I'll take this one step further, people need to know how to drive. I looked around the main website here for a complaints department or someone directly responsible for enforcing the artcars to no avail. I'm sure everyone has heard about the person who got run over on the playa last week. Riding out to the edge of the playa on Sunday night I saw numerous cars that should have been yanked from the whole event. I'm pretty easy going, but a big fucking Caddilac cruising at 30mph with no lights is asking for it. I even saw drunk people riding on the hood of a different car to tell the driver where to go. This is BULLSHIT! Last year some jerkwad in a pink Volvo tried driving through one of the big tapestries on the playa...guess what, some people were on the other side of it! This should be the number one priority of the Burning Man staff. Fuck this shit, how many people have to die getting run over before they start pulling these cars? People don't usually die visiting theme camps. Come on now, we gotta do something. Anyone know who I can contact about this? Anybody fucking care at all???
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