Over the years, the Burning Man Festival has become one of the most popular events and party destinations in the US and has drawn tens of thousands of people in recent years. Unfortunately, this celebration of love and harmony is an enemy to the rigid bureaucracy and control freaks in the state. Last year, as TFTP reported, law enforcement attempted to turn the event into a police state function with random vehicle searches and checkpoints. Now, the Bureau of Land Management says they plan on implementing drug screening checkpoints at all entrances to see if people are showing up with drugs in their systems.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports, the Bureau of Land Management may require drug screens at every entrance of the festival. Naturally, the event organizers say that this would create massive delays and sheer chaos at the gates. They also bring up the completely unconstitutional nature of such an act.
The idea of drug screening 80,000 attendees is so over the top that even Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen noted that actions are unconstitutional.
"If someone is doing a search or screening, you're still working under the color of law enforcement. You need to make sure you have probable cause," Allen said. "BLM has a hard row to plow with that."
BLM officials said more information on the screenings may become available nearer to the event, Aug. 25 to Sept. 2, according to the Journal.
Over the years, the philosophy of the Burning Man celebration has been to "leave no trace," meaning leave the land just like it was before 80,000 people descend upon it. Over the last 30 years, this is exactly what has happened.
For the past 30 years, the Burning Man organization has worked collaboratively with the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies, the public, and event participants to be an exemplary steward of public lands, and to produce a safe and fun experience. We have strived to protect the cultural integrity of the Event while safely adapting to changing expectations and increasingly aggressive regulatory requirements. We are held to the highest standard of any permit on BLM managed lands and are proud of our environmental track record. Burning Man is now the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. Black Rock City has also become a significant economic engine, bringing $70 million into the Northern Nevada economy each year.
Despite this environmentalist ideology, the group has found themselves in the cross hairs of the state who is attempting to regulate the event out of existence.
According to new regulations, federal government agents would be required to oversee the festival and manage areas previously managed by qualified staff. This would ruin the festivities.
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As TFTP has previously reported, Burning Man has long been the target of government agencies despite not causing problems. The very idea of party-goers peacefully celebrating at an event for days on end is the antithesis of the establishment and the frequent attacks on the festivities highlights this.
Last year, we pointed out some sneaky tricks that officers were using to stop people. They were pulling them over for having dim tail lights, or any of obstruction of view in their windows, which is common when people are carrying camping gear. As soon as someone is pulled over, officers are ready nearby with drug dogs to justify a search on the vehicle. Some posters on social media said that police are profiling drivers and pulling over anyone who looks like they would be attending the festival.
This was confirmed by local newspaper ThisIsReno who reported that police in the region had orders from the federal government to target cars that are on their way to Burning Man and search them for drugs.
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Secretary Brenda Henry told Reno reporter Bob Conrad that these orders came straight from "the top." When Conrad asked, “You mean from President Trump?” Henry replied “Yes.”
“If you don’t have anything to hide, you’re good to go,” Henry said.
The Burning Man Festival has long been a target of the Feds, who are threatened by the counter-culture nature of the event and its attendees. Burners have even been labeled as terrorists by the feds, as it was revealed in a 2015 Freedom Of Information Act request that the FBI sent undercover agents to the festival under the pretense of gathering intelligence on terrorists.
The 16-page document released under duress by the FBI is still heavily censored — especially parts pertaining to high-tech police surveillance equipment used to “gather information.”
The fact that terrorism is used as an excuse for the surveillance is interesting, especially because the FBI notes in its report that the festival is a “cultural and artisan event, which promote[s] free expression by the participants.”
Apparently, art and free expression can now be equated with terrorism, environmental degradation, and general enemies of the state and all those who attend must submit their bodily fluids for testing.