Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

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Eric Siegel
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Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Eric Siegel » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:48 am

I had an unhappy and potentially dangerous experience at BM Decompression (Oct 19 2019) from a regular who promises to continue to do this at Burning Man 2020 and beyond.

He is actively soliciting people into his trick and giving them a surprise electric shock without their consent.

This could be legitimately life-threatening to someone with a pacemaker (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/ ... pacemakers).

But even if it were not a health risk, it is considerably painful and unpleasant in my experience -- and in that of others I spoke to. And it is done without gaining consent, a fundamental tenet of BM.

The man has an electric chair that he claims was the real prop from the movie "The Green Mile." When there is no crowd accumulated, he actively solicits people (including my girlfriend and I) to pose on the chair and take a photo. He shackles your feet (magnetic - easy to release) and your hands (impossible to release - and where the shock is coming). He tells you to pretend you're being electrocuted on the count of three as your friend takes the photo.

You can see a photo of him (and me) attached, just before the surprise shock. I don't know if he always dressed as Santa.
IMG_0481 (1).jpg
His left hand behind the post is about to turn on the current. The electric chair looks like a kitschy prop, so one certainly does not necessarily think to look for signs of real electricity. However, on inspection, you can find that the whole thing does how a power cord -- it is plugged in.

The surprise shock is in your right hand (only) -- the shackle there, which is metal, is apparently connected to his power source.

Unlike an electric fence, where you may accidentally get shocked and pull back your hand, in this case he sustains the shock as long as he likes, and you cannot pull your hand out of the shackle.

He says it is a low voltage shock like an electric fence and gets very defensive about his surprise prank very quickly. However low, the pain and surprise -- and lack of consent -- are very real.

Some BUT NOT ALL people know ahead because they see it happen to others -- or because he choose to inform them proactively. The rangers spoke to him and thereafter he complied with gaining consent INCONSISTENTLY, ONLY FOR SOME.

By default, in most cases, it is a surprise.

After gathering info and engaging the rangers, I finally discussed my concern with him directly. I told him I hated to ruin his fun, but that he had ruined mine and it was a violation not to gain explicit consent beforehand and that it could be legitimately dangerous to people with a pacemaker (or other heart condition?). He was territorial, defiant, and defensive. He explicitly told me that he would continue to do it this way, without consent, at Burning Man itself (I would presume he plans on BM 2020) -- although, he said, for the remainder of this Decompression party, he would comply and was now gaining consent for each person after the ranger had spoken with him. This was a lie, since after the ranger I'd discussed with a few of his "victims" to confirm that indeed they had been surprised by the electric shock.

Some people like the prank -- but many very very do not. I've always hated being shocked, it makes me queasy and stressed out as my hand involuntarily contorts and the painful jolt comes in. It hurts. And in that moment you have no idea how long it will go, and where the experience is heading. It just isn't funny.

People's face contort, they often yell out the f-bomb, and then he comes in with a huge laugh, playing it off as a very funny prank, giving you a small gift (BM pin) and a big hug.

That causes many to feel pressure they should "be a good sport" and they play along. One young woman I spoke to said she felt it was wrong, but then felt pressure to play along like it was all in good fun -- but that now that I was asking her about it and pointing out the lack of compliance, she realizes it was really messed up.

One guy said he felt uncomfortable how much the guy seemed to be "getting off" on the shocking surprise.

How do we prevent him from continuing this?
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Sham
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Sham » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:08 am

If this is in fact the case, you need to have several people confront and distract him, then destroy this dangerous prank by breaking it into small pieces. If he gets angry, just tell him is all a joke and laugh. :roll:

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Ratty
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Ratty » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:46 am

Where do you live? What decompression party was this? It's easy to get him banned from 'off playa' events if he harms people without consent.
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Ratty
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Ratty » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:02 am

That looks like yesterday in SF. I just found it on the San Francisco Decompression page. I'll forward it to the Community Events, (off playa) lead. Consider them informed.
Last edited by Ratty on Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by unjonharley » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:00 am

A nudge in the nuts for that freak..
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:48 am

Burning Man is a rough place.
I’ve gotten in more confrontations and fights there than anywhere except when I was a repo man.
I had someone zap me out there once, many years ago. It was supposed to be funny, then he climbed right aboard my MV like he was welcome to come riding along.
He was invited off the boat. Not feet first either.
If you ever come across someone doing this, absolutely destroy their stuff. No cop is going to bust you for smashing someone’s taser they just zapped you with.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by unjonharley » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:51 am

It is also assault .. A charge like that gets an eviction ..
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Token
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Token » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:44 pm

Other than the shackle, I don’t have a beef with these kinds of shenanigans. Good old school Cacophony kind of fun.

Then again, nothing stops you from kicking him in the nuts and saying it was really funny when they did it on Jackass.

Or you could post about it here and see how it goes.

The Santa Suit was a dead giveaway ...

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Eric Siegel
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Eric Siegel » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:25 am

Thanks for your input, everyone. Indeed, this was San Francisco Decompression -- I meant to specify that.

As for the person who seemed to think Santa should be at liberty to do this to folks -- and that I should be at liberty to kick him in the nuts in response -- there's this concept about "two wrongs not making a right" that I picked up a while back. Now, you can argue for anarchy, but BM has rules -- it is not anarchy. I would argue against anarchy anyway. Something of a system in place is what makes it possible not to go that whole eye for an eye route. I love dystopian fiction -- but only as fiction.

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Eric Siegel » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:46 am

One more thought/perspective I'd like to add. I really don't feel terrorized or traumatized. As soon as those 2.5 seconds were over, I knew I was fine. But then again, I knew this man was no friend of mine and I would't wish that trick on anyone -- I would like very much to spare all his future "victims." I feel very strongly this kind of thing must be enforced against; he must be shut down. And so I am very frustrated by the resistance to that notion. The rangers were no help. They stared at me blankly. I was like, "Are you hearing me?" I finally escalated to a ranger who seems more of a go-getter and I guess was the main one, or one of the main ones in charge. He discussed with Santa -- but it was so obvious to me that Santa would not after a single conversation consistently comply with getting consent thereafter, as I indeed unambiguously confirmed. Then I spoke with the ranger again and he said there was no more he could do, mostly because, "I have not received complaints from anyone other than you." That is really quite infuriating. Why be a ranger if you aren't going to take the responsibility seriously? Better to not volunteer as a ranger at all.

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Elderberry » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:22 am

Maybe you should have asked the ranger to site down in that chair and experience it for himself. His opinion might have been changed.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Dr. Pyro » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 am

Sham wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:08 am
If this is in fact the case, you need to have several people confront and distract him, then destroy this dangerous prank by breaking it into small pieces. If he gets angry, just tell him is all a joke and laugh. :roll:
Sham, we've known each other for years, so don't take this the wrong way. I have to disagree that it is a good idea to destroying his "art" by breaking it into small pieces. That is precisely what some a-holes tried to do with Barbie Death Camp this year and in the end it found one of our campmates in Pershing County Jail with two charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon. There has to be a more peaceful solution to this conundrum.

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Ratty » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:41 am

Burning Man HQ will look into it. They take this kind of stuff seriously. I guarantee that they know exactly who it is and they can address it. All the installations at Decom are placed. They have all his contact info.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by XPTom » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:21 am

Less juice to the victim, but add a neon light transformer and send 9,000 volts to an electrical Jacobs Ladder a short(but safe) distance behind the victims head. Salt paste on the rods gives bluish color..... experiment with other compounds for different colors. Visuals can be greatly improved without cardiac arrest or hurt feelings.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Jackass » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:34 am

If someone is soliciting people to sit down in an electric (looking) chair just to take a souvenir photo with santa in this "special chair", I would ask myself, why? Was the chair that cool looking that you needed a photo of you in it "pretending" to be shocked?? Just keep walking next time, or ask yourself wtf is santa up to and just watch...

Either you or your GF should have bailed out on this photo op after watching the other one get zapped. Lessons are taught everyday in life, you just have to pay attention if you want to learn.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by lucky420 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:07 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 am
Sham wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:08 am
If this is in fact the case, you need to have several people confront and distract him, then destroy this dangerous prank by breaking it into small pieces. If he gets angry, just tell him is all a joke and laugh. :roll:
Sham, we've known each other for years, so don't take this the wrong way. I have to disagree that it is a good idea to destroying his "art" by breaking it into small pieces. That is precisely what some a-holes tried to do with Barbie Death Camp this year and in the end it found one of our campmates in Pershing County Jail with two charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon. There has to be a more peaceful solution to this conundrum.
The earth is square, I now agree with Doc :D
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Sham » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:44 am

lucky420 wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:07 pm
Dr. Pyro wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 am
Sham wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:08 am
If this is in fact the case, you need to have several people confront and distract him, then destroy this dangerous prank by breaking it into small pieces. If he gets angry, just tell him is all a joke and laugh. :roll:
Sham, we've known each other for years, so don't take this the wrong way. I have to disagree that it is a good idea to destroying his "art" by breaking it into small pieces. That is precisely what some a-holes tried to do with Barbie Death Camp this year and in the end it found one of our campmates in Pershing County Jail with two charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon. There has to be a more peaceful solution to this conundrum.
The earth is square, I now agree with Doc :D
Sorry, but if I'm strapped into a fun little chair and shocked against my knowledge or will, I'm going after that fucker. I'll bet I wouldn't be arrested for it. Others may be able to laugh it off, but personally, I'm going after him for assault on me.

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Eric Siegel » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:15 am

Jackass wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:34 am
If someone is soliciting people to sit down in an electric (looking) chair just to take a souvenir photo with santa in this "special chair", I would ask myself, why? Was the chair that cool looking that you needed a photo of you in it "pretending" to be shocked?? Just keep walking next time, or ask yourself wtf is santa up to and just watch...

Either you or your GF should have bailed out on this photo op after watching the other one get zapped. Lessons are taught everyday in life, you just have to pay attention if you want to learn.
My girlfriend and I were very early (like 3:30pm) and Santa had not yet collected a crowd. We had not witnessed anyone else do it. He assertively gets the spectacle going when there is no momentum.

Man, you are so blaming the victim here. Plus you aren't making any sense. Of course we wanted to joke around with this guy. He approached us in an outgoing, friendly way. We wanted to interact and getting a picture on a pimped up electric chair seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do. Seriously, man?

-Eric

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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by Ratty » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:09 pm

Erik, Jackass is a nice guy but.....'jackass'. If you don't like a reply, skip to the ones you like. Don't fret over internet babble. Most of us get your point.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by pink » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:26 pm

I remember this guy from the Reno decompression years ago, maybe 2014 or 2015? I sat in the chair & got zapped. Although I do seem to remember I knew I was getting shocked. And he wasn’t dressed as Santa.
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Re: Prankster giving many painful electric shock without consent

Post by lucky420 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:33 am

pink wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:26 pm
I remember this guy from the Reno decompression years ago, maybe 2014 or 2015? I sat in the chair & got zapped. Although I do seem to remember I knew I was getting shocked. And he wasn’t dressed as Santa.
Yep, my daughter sat in the chair and got zapped at the Reno decom that year too. No Santa suit but she got a really cool little man pin for participating
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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