14 thoughts on “So Burning Man wins against the BLM

  1. Incorrect assessment. BLM is forced to monitor Burning Man due to the incredible array of problems out there caused by these typically rich hippie wanna-bes. As such, BLM personnel have to go out there and stay. No one was trying to make it a "vacation site" but that doesn't mean that the people forced to go out and supervise the 70,000 overgrown children should have to live in substandard housing, either. If there is a cost to taking care of the people who are forced to come in and manage, that cost should be borne by the people who caused it to be, right? The only other option, one that you seem to favr, is the socialist alternative where the taxpayers foot the bill so that the wealthy can play at their counter-culture freak-fest.

  2. Murph:

    What color is the sly in your world where the government workers are always right?

    You should read the details as to what the BLM wanted.

  3. I'd be happy to. Got the actual BLM documents? Because what I've seen in actual news reports (as opposed to the wild claims of some bloggers) really isn't all that outrageous. They asked for one "stand-alone freezer" which is what everyone is trying to sensationalize, and that's a drop in the bucket and really irrelevant considering the millions of dollars that this mess now costs every year so that Silicon Valley hipsters can act the fool on public land.

    That said, I see that you avoided the only real question: Who should pay to accommodate the staff required to oversee and clean up after this event–the attendees themselves, or the rest of us?

  4. Special accommodations? Special food? Special toilets so they didn't have to use the porta-potties like those they"oversee"? (and the fact that you use that word says a lot…) Lots more than their own refridgerator….

    Why should they get a special command center? Special anything? Why are the BLM folks even there? All they should do is "Oversee" the cleanup after the fact…..

    That overseeing of the cleanup post party is the only thing the BLM should be involved in, and the only thing about the BLM that anyone should pay for.

    But I realize that you see things differently….The "Autoriteh" of the government should be everywhere, and they should get special treatment because "government"….

    Fact is, apparently others agree with me…because the BLM *LOST* and had to back down. So someone (a court, perhaps?) told 'em to back down. Maybe their authority isn't what they think it is (or wish it was)….

  5. Take a breath, anti-government man. If you research and read actual news articles, you will find out that it was the BLM management itself that told it's own people "no" as to some of the excessive requests. BLM didn't "lose" anything because they weren't in contest with anyone and it never got to a court; their own people asked for things and were told "no" by their own agency heads. It's called "fiscal responsibility" and proper management.

    Now that said, we're back to the issue of who is going to pay for necessary management of this event. 70,000 people in one place requires oversight, especially when many of them will be drinking and using drugs. Don't try to confuse the issue and say that the government should not have to oversee them because the reality is that it does. That means police, fire, medical, sanitation, etc., as well as environmental oversight to protect the public lands. And it's proven necessary because each year these idiots OD, rape women, fight, sell drugs, steal from and assault one another and have countless medical emergencies. You seem to think that it should just be Lord of the Flies or Thunderdome in there and no one should intervene or act to prevent these things or deal with them when they occur but that is not reality. It has to be managed so the question comes back to who pays for that management? Do the rich hipsters throwing themselves this party pay, or do you and I and other taxpaying readers here pay for it? I've asked you this question twice now and you keep avoiding it. Please tell me who should pay the necessary costs of babysitting these hipsters. Is it:

    a. The hipsters
    b. The rest of us

  6. You seem to feel that it should be the BLM who polices the event. It shouldn't be. THe BLM is not a police force, nor first responders. (there is no "sanitation" as such there, BTW)

    Any security and EMS and such provided should be privately paid for. The BLM has chosen (wrongly) to assume that role. Yes, they should be paid for it if they do the job. One of my points is that it ISN'T up to the BLM to provide any security or medical, but rather the event organizers.

    But not the excessive accommodations requested. Normal accommodations, yes. But the BLM managers got too big and full of themselves. And got shut down..partially by the upper level BLM management. The fact that they felt they could even ask for (much less blackmail the Burning Man group) such accommodations shows that the BLM folks think they are not servants of the people, but masters. It was, actually, the threats of lawsuits by Burning Man that got upper level BLM management to step on their underlings….The thing is the BLM boys and girls think that the land is theirs and they just ALLOW the rest of us to use it….and that is way wrong. It is ours, and the BLM is just supposed to MANAGE it for us….

    Again, good to see them get shut down.

    I realize that in your world, we are all the servants of Government. In my view, they are servants of the People. Big difference in viewpoint there, which is why we keep having these discussion.

    If you feel the need to comment more about this, lets take up space in your blog.

    In answer to your question:

    The hipsters should pay for PRIVATE security and medical and other management. If the BLM wants to bid for it, that is fine.

  7. I'll just correct you on one point: The Bureau of Land Management does indeed have a law-enforcement component with sworn federal officers who have primary or exclusive jurisdiction on virtually all federal land in the country. Burning Man is held on federal land that is under control of the BLM, and therefore BLM is the appropriate agency to oversee things, especially as any private security such as you suggest would lack the police powers and arrest authority that the BLM rangers and other Dept. of Interior law enforcement personnel have.

  8. And the Department of Ed has a SWAT team….so what? Both are wrong. BLM shouldn't have any LEO's. They should be managing the land. If the need LEO's then the local Sheriff or the State Police can assist….or US marshals. Either way, the BLM doesn't need police officers any more than the Dept of Education needs a SWAT team.. It is called Mission Creep…I'd bet that BLM, like the last several years, hires private security and private EMS to work Burning Man, not their "Sworn :aw Enforcement Component"…. It is only the MANAGEMENT that needed the special accomodations.

    Nice job of twisting the truth though.

  9. BLM has to police it's own land. It's FEDERAL land, meaning county sheriff and state police don't have jurisdiction on it. And your plan would also shift the COST of policing federal land to the counties and states. Aside from the fact that it's unconstitutional, how is that even fair?

    Bottom line is that federal lands are managed by the federal government and as managing includes protecting, that means federal police. You may not realize it, but 28% of the and in America is federally-owned, and someone has to police it to make sure that it's not exploited or damaged, the the wildlife is protected and that crimes are not committed there. So yeah, the BLM does that, right alongside the Park Service Law Enforcement Division and the Fish and Wildlife Service, all of whom employ armed, sworn federal officers and criminal investigators to do the job. And when it comes time for things like Burning Man, they bring some of these people in. The federal government does not and cannot "contract out" it's police powers, and security guards cannot arrest people or investigate crimes and secure convictions in federal court. They didn't do it in previous years and they won't do it this year. There were plenty of federal officers out there safeguarding the land and the people on it, because that's the job of the federal government and those agencies on particular. The US Marshals that you reference have other jobs.

    Maybe you don't realize it, but our system of government that keeps federal law-enforcement agencies decentralized and job-specific is a good thing, unless of course you'd prefer one massive federal police force with all-encompassing power. Frankly, that idea scares the hell out of me and I'd hope that it would you, too.

    I don't know why you fear authority like you do, but there are many instances where federal law enforcement in required and this is definitely one of them.

    BTW, the Department of Education does NOT have a SWAT team or SWAT-trained personnel, regardless of what you read on certain blogs. What they have, like every other federal agency, is a relatively small contingent of criminal investigators–sworn police officers who are detectives and who investigate cries against their own agency, be those crimes internal (fraud and theft committed by government employees) or external (committed by others against the agency)–and they are the ones who typically make the arrests in such crimes. Every federal agency necessarily has them as, again, state and local authorities lack the jurisdiction. Constitution again.

  10. You are right, of course. The DOED does not have a SWAT team. They have, instead, armed agents of the Office of the Inspector General who look like, are equipped like, and break down doors like a SWAT team. But yes, you are correct that there is no actual SWAT team at the Dept of Ed.

    I am sure the distinction is clear to those who encounter them.

    I don't fear authority, I dislike government agencies overreaching their authority and wasting taxpayer money. The latest big thing for every agency in the past few years is to have a SWAT team (under whatever name you would like to use). This includes the Dept of energy (who already had an armed response team for people stealing nuclear materials and to guard transported nuclear materials….Now they too have a Fast Response Team for other uses….SO does the IRS. And the EPA. Fish and Wildlife Service…The National Park Service….One can somewhat see NOAA having a need (they do fisheries and such, often in remote areas). but the rest? No need and a waste of money.

    Again, the BLM doesn't need a cadre of operators. Nor, really any federal LEOs. They have the budget for them, so they have them, but they have no real need for them…and it is, really, beyond the scope of their duties to provide any law enforcement officers.

    You seem to have this reverence for any employee of a government agency with a three or 4 letter acronym….you seem to feel that all those officers and managers never do anything wrong. I see them as human, and have all too often seen them overreach their authority and throw their weight around. Are most of them good people? Yes, and they do their job well and know the limits of their authority…sadly, some abuse their powers and positions and overreach, as in the original referenced case with the BLM managers and Burning Man.

  11. So let me see if I get this right.

    You're saying that the 28% of American open space that belongs to the federal government should have no police and no law enforcement? because that's what the BLM and National Park Service are there for. If you got your way and those entities disappeared, who would protect those billions of acres of land and the people who go on them? And you need to understand that the local and state governments do not have the authority or the desire to police all of those lands and investigate or prosecute the crimes that occur there. Without federal law enforcement on those lands, a quarter of our nation's land mass would be like a Mad Max movie.

    Protection of federal land is the main reason that BLM exists and it's their core function. They don't just have a few law enforcement operators because "they got a budget for it"; policing federal lands is what the BLM and National Park Service were created to do.

    You're not going to go back to that "the feds own no land" thing again, are you?

  12. Actually 1/8 not 28%

    And yes, they have gone beyond their mission.

    And I mean the BLM, the Park Service is another issue, not part of this discussion.

    You should look up the BLM history…see how it has exceeded it's mission parameters. Might learn something.

    But you'll never admit you are wrong.

  13. Sure I will. I freely admit when I'm wrong but first you have to show me, and it's kind of tough to get educated here when you ignore every question that I put to you in good faith and just attack me personally.

    As to the BLM mission, how are they expected to protect and preserve the lands under their control with no police powers? I'd love to know who you think should do that job, and how, but you keep not answering that.

    FWIW, 1/8 of the open space is managed by BLM, but 28% of the United States as a whole is federal land. including most of the West and Alaska. Are you saying that none of those lands should be policed as well? I'm really curious here.


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