Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
Post Reply
User avatar
That is Nice
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 am
Burning Since: I'm not sure
Camp Name: The Real World

Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by That is Nice » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:43 am

I saw this and found it to be disturbing reading. Be forewarned - this is an annoyingly designed page, loaded down so heavily with ads and assorted crap that it could crash your browser.

https://www.salon.com/2018/08/24/exclus ... y-workers/

How much of this is real and how much is fake news? Here is one item I found:

Yet the most egregious instance of on-the-job injury came in 2014, when a Burning Man Ranger named Kelli Hoversten was permanently blinded by a laser, disabling her for life. ...

On Aug. 30, 2014, Hoversten, in her capacity as a Ranger, was working as a “Sandman” — Burning Man terminology for the Rangers who wear heat-protective gear and ring the central effigy that is ritualistically burned on the final Saturday night of the festival. ...

On that night in 2014, Hoversten stood with her back to the burning effigy, as she had been instructed, to monitor the revelers and prevent people from getting dangerously close to the burn. The eminent danger to her health turned out not to be the fire behind her but the lasers shone in her face by participants in front of her.

“So that is what I was doing: Standing there in the dark with the man behind me,” Hoversten explained. “With handheld lasers coming at me, before the man was finished burning I was completely blind in my left eye.”

---

Eye specialists have told Hoversten that they think the damage was done by that "a high-powered laser off an art car," meaning one of the "Mad Max"-style customized vehicles common at the festival, rather than a handheld laser. "It crossed my field of vision and damaged my eyes, especially my left one, so bad in just that one strike that my pupil wouldn’t even sit correctly, and it still doesn’t,” she said. ”Therefore any subsequent laser that passed across my field of vision burned my retinas more.”

Today, Hoversten is permanently blind in her left eye and has damaged vision in her right eye that continues to deteriorate. Sandmen wear goggles at Burning Man today and handheld lasers have been banned, although lasers on top of art cars are still allowed.

What? That has to be wrong, doesn't it? Surely, the Burning Man LLC wouldn't be so reckless as to allow the circumstances that led to such a tragedy to be recreated? Obviously, one shouldn't have lasers scanning out across a crowd, from a vehicle rolling across a soft, dust and inevitably uneven surface. The vehicle dips, the beam dips and before you know it, another ranger or burner spends the rest of her life wearing dark glasses - this thought would occur to everybody, right?

To read this piece, one would think that Larry Harvey had been wearing a pencil thin mustache and twirling it like a silent film era B movie villain at the time of the events described. But apparently, according to some people, this is to be expected, because Burning Man is a Satanic festival.







And I'm sure that a random Youtube user we've never heard of before couldn't lie to us about a thing like that. Watch, read, and make up your own minds. About what, I'm not sure.

User avatar
Traveller in Time
Posts: 916
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:52 am
Burning Since: 2020
Camp Name: Neon Light Alley (should be: Camp Envy)

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by Traveller in Time » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:24 am

The ranger blinded was the cause in prohibiting hand held lasers.

As you should be able to find in BM Journal.
Dreaming a temporary world improving the default world



Not expressing yourself but embracing all other expressions is The Challenge




...I can make anything I can imagine . . . I just can't make _some_ things happen



Have some Free will

User avatar
That is Nice
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 am
Burning Since: I'm not sure
Camp Name: The Real World

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by That is Nice » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:58 am

Doesn't really address the issue, if the blinding was done by a vehicle mounted laser, now does it, Traveller?

Oh, and ... what? Seriously, you're defending the idea of vehicle mounted lasers? I've been working under the assumption that like those Satanic human sacrifices, the vehicle mounted lasers were something that somebody just made up to make Burning Man sound bad, but it sounds like you're saying that those would be fine?

Are you? Or did I misunderstand you?

User avatar
That is Nice
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 am
Burning Since: I'm not sure
Camp Name: The Real World

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by That is Nice » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:08 am

Holy ... that is policy!
So this is one of those times. Starting in 2015, handheld lasers will be prohibited in Black Rock City. Mounted lasers are only permitted on art pieces, Mutant Vehicles and in theme camps if they comply with specific restrictions.
Forget that. I have NO desire to go to Burning Man, now. Not if it means I have to risk losing my eyesight to some yahoo with a laser mounted on his truck.

Thank you for that link, Traveller. Holy shit. No event is worth that. I'll keep my art and myself at home, where my retinas will be likelier to stay intact.

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 2824
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by some seeing eye » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:24 pm

Burning Man is a big thing with 80,000+ participants yearly, easily more than a million alumni, year around operations, paid staff and volunteer staff. So it is easy to put together any narrative, positive or negative, with that many people and experiences. Salon decided to be edgy with their article.

It's a business. It prefers more volunteers than paid staff, especially with an infinite enough supply of volunteers who are willing to work for free. Of course some of the volunteers would prefer to be paid. There are probably over 10,000 volunteers working an average of greater than 25 hours per year, some working 100-300+. Having paid staff means workers comp, health insurance, etc. Probably the right thing to do for DPW is have some kind of disability insurance/ short and long and requiring them to bring their own health insurance. Restoration bumped up their numbers 2 years ago after we almost failed the BLM test, and they have been stellar.

I don't believe DPW management has anything to do with the suicide rate. It is just a diverse and creative bunch accepting of all. I've known a several and they are rock stars that work very hard for the challenge and to belong to one of the great department communities!

Is the event perfect, no. Can it continuously improve, yes. Do we have all the information on what can/can't be done, no. Do we have the authority to change operations, no - the board and management does that.

Those who are disgruntled might try the burners.me website - the person who runs that seems disgruntled.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
FireTommy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:44 am
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Go the F*ck to Sleep
Location: Northwest

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by FireTommy » Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:30 pm

Regarding the handheld laser prohibition; I have worked six perimeters as a Sandman since it was imposed. They issue us goggles now. Have not seen a single handheld laser in three years now.
People took the blinding incident to heart, I guess. Sure love it when 70k folks agree to be nice.
....like a dingo in a maternity ward....

User avatar
XPTom
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:22 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: Shipwreck Tiki Lounge

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by XPTom » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:07 am

Lasers are a world problem, not a Burning Man problem. FAA tracked 22K incidents in one 4 year period. High power lasers are not just real neat flash lights and should not be sold to the general public.


http://www.laserpointersafety.com/news/ ... ury.php#on
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

User avatar
Bless
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:43 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Location: District of Columbia

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by Bless » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:54 am

Also, the Chinese are using high-powered lasers against American Air Force pilots flying in to Djibouti.
FUCK YOU, I'M A WIZARD. FUCK YOU, I'M A SHARK.

User avatar
BBadger
Posts: 5799
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:37 am
Burning Since: 2010
Location: (near) Portland, OR, USA

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by BBadger » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:57 pm

I remember bringing a high-powered hand-held laser to BM and using it, including at the Man burn. While cool, the unwanted attention it brought, with every person and their hubby wanting to try it out made it so I was really reluctant to use it. It certainly didn't add much to the event painting the man with a bright red dot.

Even though I still think they're awesome to see and a great environment to see the beams, I'm happy those handheld lasers are now banned from the event. I was actually surprised that it didn't happen way earlier. It's just a shame that someone had to be permanently blinded for it to happen.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

Hate reading my replies? Click here to add me to your plonk (foe) list.

Ano
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:04 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Everlasting Fuck-you's

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by Ano » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:31 pm

You can also light a cigarette with one... Or, if it's particularly dusty, cross beams with another laser.

Woohoo...?

User avatar
BBadger
Posts: 5799
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:37 am
Burning Since: 2010
Location: (near) Portland, OR, USA

Re: Salon takes a hatchet to Burning Man?

Post by BBadger » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:15 pm

Yeah we did the cross beam thing as a joke, but I wouldn't want to look at the spot if lighting and training a laser on a cigarette. Way too bright and probably dangerous too.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

Hate reading my replies? Click here to add me to your plonk (foe) list.

Post Reply

Return to “Stories”