More Safety Tips

photo by Peter Ruprecht

I don’t want to overwhelm Burners with warnings and tips. Experienced Burners are probably going “alright already, we know!” But, there are a lot of Virgins going for the first time this year. And, there’s all kinds of political shenanigans going on between Burning Man, powerful locals, the BLM and County Cops. So, it makes sense to protect yourself. And knowledge is free!

You could be a perfectly legal medical patient in California, only to drive 1 mile along the I-80 and find that you’re treated as a drug trafficker in Nevada. Being informed and knowing your rights does not make you a criminal.

So along those lines, here’s some tips from a discussion Toburn and I had last night.

#1. Have a shared lock box for camp keys, with a combination lock. This will make it very handy if cars have to be moved, while people are missing in Deep Playa, tripping out or whatever. But it also means that if you get arrested by the LEOs, and they want to go to your vehicle, they can’t just take your keys from your pocket. And trust me, you don’t want to lose your keys out there.

#2. Carry a copy of your ID with you. Most bars will require IDs this year before they gift you free alcohol. Tape it to your drink cup. If you can produce ID, the cops won’t have to accompany you back to your tent or RV while you get it.

#3. If you bring the cops to your tent, you’re bringing them to your whole camp. You might be completely innocent, but one of your buddies might end up getting sprung as “collateral damage” by some eagle-snouted puppy. You’re better off pretending to be confused and not able to find your camp.

#4. Keep your original ID somewhere safe on the outside of your vehicle or tent. Again, one less excuse for LEOs to cross the threshold of your residence. If you open the door/zip, anything they see or smell inside, is visible evidence of a crime which gives them the right to search. For example, unzip your tent and there are some rolling papers there.

#5. Less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Nevada; more is a felony.

#6. Know your rights. You do not have to consent to a search.  If they have probable cause, they will be searching, not asking you for consent. If you’re a US citizen, you’re protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

#7. If you’re an alien, you might want to have a copy of your passport at hand. Be aware that you will most likely be  deported for any drug offense involving 30 grams or more – and once they kick you out, they ain’t never letting you back in.

And here are some other tips from the Queen Phoenix Rising, posted on Facebook groups this week. Camp name changed to protect the innocent…

The PLAYA and the LAW and WHAT TO DO with it.

We are a HUGE camp, We are POSH, we are LOUD, we are BEAUTIFUL, we are in PRIME location, and we are SOOOO VISIBLE!!!

We are contributing to the BMan community on a big scale, and it’s absolutely wonderful. And WE WILL BE WATCHED, watched by our fellow burners and not so fellow law enforcement.

Lets make our collective experience pleasant, we are all together in it and the actions of each one of us are affecting everybody.


Back to law enforcement and what to do with it.
There are Rangers – they are regular burners they are there to help and assist if you need them. Be nice to them, refrain from offering a spliff.

There are official law representatives, from every possible law agency, police, sheriff, highway patrol and whatever else (we’ll call all of them Police for short)…. They are there to enforce the default world’s law. 

Black Rock City IS A PART of US territory, I know it seems strange, but I have checked, and as of now BRC is under the governance of US federal law and Nevada State law.

Most of the Police officers are drafted for the BMan duties and don’t want to be there.
They get promotions and recognitions for giving citations and making arrests, they are on the prowl and are looking for you to do something wrong. 
Some of them uniformed and some of them undercover pretending to be burners, they have binoculars and night time vision devises. They have search dogs. They have ArtCars. 

Last year I came across a Police ArtCar – they were soooo obvious even a mile away, quite funny to watch an ArtCar filled with the mediocre- costumed guys with clean haircuts who didn’t have any fun and looked annoyed. They might evolve this year.

So. Be smart, don’t do anything stupid in open view, if you are stopped by police don’t resist, be polite. Remember : a smile and a good attitude is your best defense.
You only obligated to give them your name, they have to verify it so you can give them your SSN. You are not obligated to produce your ID or to release any other information. 

Under NO circumstances bring them back to the camp, if you do they can search your RV and surrounding areas. Do you really want that?

1. Your RV is your home. Police needs to have a warrant to enter and search your home.
Or they need a probable cause. If police is knocking on your door without a warrant you have a right to refuse the entry. However if they see something funky happening in the RV that would give them a probable cause for entry and search. If you consent to unwarranted entry, you are consenting to a search as well. If they find something illegal they may raid the whole camp. And that would be a DRAG!
See above – OURCAMP is a NO DRAG ZONE.

So – be SMART, be ORGANIZED, don’t leave anything you don’t want to be found laying around in the open view. It’s very simple.

2. Driving speed limit on the playa is 5 miles/hour, no driving in white-outs, no driving under the influences: goes for everybody even if you’re on a Segway or a scooter. Safety of your passengers is your first concern.

3. If you tending the Bar at our party or simply sharing a drink with our guests, make sure that they are over 21. That cute blue-eyed girl who came to the party and asking for a drink can be an undercover police officer. If she is under-aged and you have served her – they may shut down the bar and shut down the party and that would be a DRAG. 

So – if a guest looks too young, ask for ID (the photocopy is ok) or say NO – it’s absolutely fine, we are all supporting your decision.

4. If a stranger is soliciting you for some party-favors just laugh and keep walking.
If a stranger is offering you party-favors just laugh and keep dancing. You DON”T NEED IT anyway.

5. If you see police in our camp, BE A GOOD HOST: smile, offer them water or a fruit, entertain them with a polite conversation about the weather while walking them out of our camp.

At the parties in the camp or out on the playa don’t do stupid things in open view and you and all of us will party happily ever after for us to enjoy and for police to be jealous. 

OURCAMP Law attitude:
We LOVE our POLICE – they are there to protect us from hmmm …. ??? whatever….
Lets just say – they are there and we love them….
(Yea, yea, yea… I know, but we are not opening the debate on that one)


Ouuufff… next time I promise to be more fun. 😉

Love and dust 
The Queen Phoenix Rising 
(Prefect of the Cuddle pool and Random things Couselor)
Home assignment. Read and comprehend.

7 comments on “More Safety Tips

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  4. With all due respect: in Nevada, and especially on the Playa in BRC, the law requires you to identify yourself, credibly, which probably means more than just “call me Ishmael” and the smart bet is, a tangible ID, which I believe would include a clear, color, photocopy of your valid ID. A xerox of your license or passport should suffice. Always. Carry. That. Like water or dust, you should embrace the law of ID…!

    • Thanks Dave, appreciate the giving of
      Respect to whence it were due. I would say if police ask for your name, don’t bullshit them, don’t waste their time with your playa name. But good advice that you don’t need to show the cops your papers. It’s not nazi Germany it’s burning man! Don’t expect to get served free booze without ID though –
      Even at 4th of juplaya some camps were asking for it

  5. If you must bring MJ, my suggestion is to bring it in the form of edibles. Smoking it announces to everyone what you’ve got and where you’ve got it.

    Do you remember in 2008 or ’09 when BRC bought a bunch of golf carts for the law enforcement people? They deputized a lot of old people who rode around in them dressed in ordinary old people clothes (i.e., not cop uniforms, not Burner costumes) and they would just STARE into camps left and right as they buzzed along the roads. Wouldn’t smile. Wouldn’t say hi. Wouldn’t accept a gift. Might as well have had “NARC” tattooed on their foreheads. Does anybody know what became of those golf carts?

  6. Good tips. If you do toke up, be aware of which way your smoke is wafting. We watched in horror a couple of years back as two sheriffs sniffed their way to a tepee and ended up dragging a young guy away in handcuffs.

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