To the Editor:
I am enraged by the Collegian editorial (10/9) supporting the RAVE Act’s goal of suppressing rave culture. Megan Fromm’s article “All the Rave” (10/9) quotes me as arguing that the act “is cultural bigotry.” The ACLU calls the act part of a long-standing “culture war” against raves and a threat to our First Amendment rights. The editorial board, however, supports squashing this cultural movement and eroding civil liberties for America’s youth. How can our college newspaper condone the wanton destruction of youth culture?
The editorial also supports holding one person legally responsible for another’s behavior, explaining that this act “could put the burden of responsibility for attendee and patron actions on the promoters and business owners.” The editorial claims this “might promote improved safety and security measures at raves.” But if RAVE passes, resources vital to all dancers such as water and seating areas could be used against promoters as proof that they were catering to drug users. This is true even for “hardcore” anti-drug venues such as the Starlight, who could face fines up to $250,000. Sen. Biden, the bill’s sponsor, argues that promoters can be proven to condone drug use by their advertisements. KTCL, sponsor of the “Weekend of E,” could then have been liable for anybody who smuggled drugs into Red Rocks. (Like nobody’s ever done that at a rock show…) If patrons want to buy, sell, or use drugs-and the government wants to waste our taxes hunting them down like dogs-then let’s hold patrons liable for their own decisions.
Finally, reject the RAVE Act because raves are not uniquely dangerous places. Over 700 children under the age of 10 die in swimming pools every year in this country-several times the total number of rave-related deaths in US history. Unlike raving, swimming is a mainstream form of recreation, so society accepts the moderate danger involved. The desire to squash raves reflects not concern for public health but a desire to stamp out the bizarre and abnormal-and a willingness to sacrifice the liberty of the “others” who do not conform to dominant cultural standards.
On behalf of music lovers everywhere, I urge you to reject the RAVE Act. Write your senator and tell him/her to stop ignoring the constitutional rights of our country’s youth.
Instructor, Speech Communication