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Electric Daisy Carnival: a drug-infested all-nighter

All law enforcement officers know that the whole idea behind raves is to take Ecstasy. Whoever approved the use of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for this event should be held civilly responsible.

July 05, 2010|By Jason Robarts

As a 16-year veteran of a California police department who's worked various patrol, investigative and undercover assignments, I feel the need to respond to the June 30 story about the death of Sasha Rodriguez at the recent Electric Daisy Carnival so the citizens of Los Angeles as well as the rest of California know.

I cannot believe that public officials approved the use of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for this event. Have we not learned yet what a rave is? Since the 1980s, "rave" has denoted a specific type of party that includes the use of psychedelic drugs.

Having seen many raves in person, there is one purpose for them: to use hallucinogenic drugs and dance all night. The reason they go all night is primarily because of the hallucinogenic methamphetamine known as Ecstasy.

Think about this: A coliseum hosting a party with only a DJ, a large open field, numerous light shows and carnival rides. If in fact the Coliseum Commission approved the rave, it's responsible for approving an organized drug-invested event that left a 15-year-old girl dead. It won't surprise me if there's more to come.

Any law enforcement officer would have told you that there would be a large medical response to an event like this, as well as possible deaths. I believe it's all about the money that Coliseum officials would approve something like this and then say that they thought it was just a normal music festival. Since the 1980s this has been happening, and we still are approving these events. The parents of the kids who attended — especially the minors — need to consider civil legal action.

The light shows and carnival rides are strictly for the purpose of entertaining those under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug. Users describe the sights and the experience as a "trip" akin to being in outer space. Don't believe me, ask them. Do you think adults were there to ride carnival rides in the middle of the night? Please!

I would bet my next paycheck there were water bottles being sold all over the event to prevent dehydration due to the Ecstasy; that's why so many got transported to the ER. This isn't to encourage healthy drinking. Even the promoters, who expect drugs to be used, don't want people dying.

Any law enforcement officer could have walked into the event and immediately identified it as a drug-infested rave. When I see these events, I always ask myself, "How did this event get authorized to take place?"

As for the searches they may do at the doors, the security officers hired by the event don't care what goes in except guns. I've interviewed many of "ravers" who have told me the guards show little interest in the drugs being brought in as long as they're not obvious. I've also talked to security at these events who tell me it's only for show — the promoters' permits require them to be there. I have interviewed informants who attended events where security did stop drugs at the door, only to find out there were already people (friends of the promoters) who were selling drugs inside. Pure business.

In summary, these parties are not designed to be attended sober. This isn't news – it's been occurring in America since the 1980s. There's almost always a death or people being rushed to the ER, usually in large numbers, at these events. I guarantee that it will happen again too.

Without a doubt in my mind, over 90% of the people at this Electric Daisy Carnival were under the influence of some illegal drug. I find it hard to believe that whoever approved the use of the Coliseum for this event didn't know the statistics or what goes on at these parties and let it happen anyway for the obvious reasons. And if they didn't (which no one will convince me of), they need to be fired and held civilly responsible.

The citizens of Los Angeles should be outraged that this was allowed to take place. I have to wonder if Coliseum officials solicited the input from the police as to whether or not to approve this event. If they had, or if they'd come to me, they would have had a hard time approving it after they would have been told.

Jason Robarts is a police officer in California.

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