Tuesday, September 27, 2005
This is very disturbing
Police violently disperse a "rave dance party" being held on private property, in Utah. Apparently, the police also took pains to keep people from videotaping the raid.
This bothers me quite a bit. I'm not a raver -- it's just not my thing. Loud music and dancing until 4 in the morning is not my idea of a good time (frankly, I'd rather be playing (a) with my wife (grin); (b) with my kids; (c) with my kids' X-Box (grin); or (d) blogging. But the fact I don't enjoy an activity does not make the activity illegal.
My neighbor (and carpool buddy) likes these sorts of parties. He DJ's some of them, and makes rather psychedelic string art designs (hard to explain, but cool looking) that he takes as decorations for the party. He then stays out until the wee hours of the morning, dancing and partying.
That's his thing, and I have no problems with it.
The local constabulary released a statement one week after the event. The Sheriff asserts rave parties are bad because at rave parties, "a large amount of drug use and underage consumption of alcohol occur. In addition reports of sexual assaults, overdoses, firearm violations, vehicle burglaries, and numerous individuals drive from the party under the influence of alcohol and or drugs."
Interesting. Are there drugs and alcohol at these gatherings? Almost certainly. But the same can be said of (a) any high-school football game; (b) the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade; (c) any NASCAR event; (d) any college football game; (e) any professional football game; (f) any high school prom; (g) the presidential inauguration; (h) you get the idea . . .
That doesn't make those things illegal in and of themselves. The way to deal with illegal drugs and minor's in possession is to infiltrate the crowd and make arrests, not bar the event.
Are there sexual assaults? None were reported -- and Utah County didn't find any sexual assaults, firearm violations, or vehicle burglaries. They found one kid they claimed had overdosed on ecstasy, but local hospitals could not verify that this girl had been admitted or treated.
Look, I'm all in favor of the war on drugs -- but this kind of broad sweep was stupid, and likely violated the participants' constitutional rights. Although the sheriff's office is claiming that the group lacked a permit (required for gatherings of more than 250 people for a period of time longer than twelve hours), concert promoters not only claim they obtained the proper permit (and gave the permit number), they correctly point out that the raid occurred at 11:30 p.m. -- two and a half hours after the rave began, and more than nine hours prior to the twelve hour deadline). The Sheriff counters by noting that the concert guys had (a) leased the land for a 24 hour period of time and (b) obtained a health permit for 24 hours.
Poor argument, IMHO. First, I would guess that between setting up the event, holding a nine-hour party, then tearing it down and cleaning up, one would NEED a 24 hour period of time. That does not mean that more than 250 people will be there for more than 12 hours.
Second, I would be willing to wager that one cannot obtain a health permit from the county for shorter periods of time.
It is also interesting that they arrested security personnel at the concert for possession of drugs. The police do not dispute that the security personnel had confiscated the drugs from party goers; they state the security guys should have immediately called the police. This is part of our ridiculous "no tolerance" culture regarding some forms of behavior. Frankly, I'd rather my kids attended a party with security who TOOK THE DRUGS AWAY FROM OTHER ATTENDEES than to attend a party where there was either lax or no security.
Think of it another way -- under this logic, parents shouldn't confiscate drugs from their kids, because, by doing so, the parent can face drug charges for possession.
Some may question why I, as a conservative, would be against law enforcement here. Simple --- I hate bullies. Always have. I hate stupid bullies even more.
And stupidity and bullying seems to be the modus operandi by these law enforcement officials.