Arguing for the government: Stephanie Smith
I would like to introduce you to a young woman by the name of Sasha Rodriguez. Sasha’s family lives in the city of Atwater, California, which has a population of 14,000. Today, however, there is one less person to be accounted for in this city. Sasha is dead at the age of 15.
Sasha tragically lost her life after she attended her first rave party June 26 at the L.A. Coliseum. She died as a result of a drug overdose. The drug commonly known as ecstasy was found in Sasha’s system after she was rushed to the hospital.
Ecstasy is a drug that is often found at rave parties—the two are practically synonymous. Ecstasy became popular in the ‘80s right around the same time raves came on the scene.
I question how the city of Los Angeles can allow this type of event to take place on city-owned property. It is the duty of the governing body of Los Angeles to outlaw rave parties on property owned by the city.
Sasha’s family members are reportedly struggling with all the questions surrounding her death. But most importantly; how was this underage teenager able to enter this event?
Promoters for the event designated a minimum age limit of 16. When paramedics came to the aid of the fallen teenager, she had no identification on her.
Dr. Caitlyn Reed, a physician working on assignment for the L.A. County Department of Public Health, attended the two-day rave. According to the doctor, she saw no officials at the doors checking identification on either day.
In a county that boasts that it is dedicated to public safety, who was there to help Sasha Rodriguez? This youngster may still be alive today had she been turned away from this event.
I understand that those who oppose my point of view will argue that this is an isolated incident, and therefore should not affect other partygoers. This is not the case. Sasha is not the first person to have lost their life while attending a rave party.
Just one month prior, in Northern California, a 23-year-old man attending a rave known as Pop 2010: The Dream also died from an ecstasy overdose. In 2002, KFSN, a television station out of Fresno, reported that two individuals died at a rave party. In October 2001, two people overdosed on drugs at the PNE Coliseum in Canada. More recently, at a New Year’s Party in 2009 at the L.A. Sports Arena, 18 people overdosed on drugs.
The time for action is now, before any more lives are lost. Knowing that raves are commonplace for drug use, the city of Los Angeles can no longer turn a blind eye to the facts. We should not let Sasha’s death be in vain. Our city needs to be held accountable and outlaw raves at city-owned venues—now.
Arguing for the opposition: Israel Herrera
As many of you may have noticed, electronic music dance festivals, better known as raves, have begun to slowly infiltrate our mainstream.
These music festivals, which bring some of the biggest disc jockeys and attract thousands of ravers every year, are fun and exciting parties that go on until the wee hours of the morning.
Just recently, the L.A. Coliseum was host to the Electric Daisy Carnival, also known as EDC, drawing a crowd of over 185,000 people over two days.
Many people are dubbing this the Woodstock of our generation, but like with any other event of this size, there are bound to be problems.
Sasha Rodriguez, a 15 year-old student from Taft High School in Woodland Hills, died of a suspected ecstasy overdose while attending EDC this summer.
This incident has prompted city officials, such as L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, to call for a ban of raves at publicly owned venues such as the coliseum and the L.A. Sports Arena.
I am opposed to this idea and insist that these events must continue.
While I am sympathetic to the family of this young girl, I firmly believe that the actions of one individual should not affect the rest of the raver population.
Many people might argue that raves should be banned because drug use is rampant at these events. Having attended various raves, I can tell you first-hand that there is drug use at these events.
However, the L.A. Times reported that Bernard Parks, L.A. city councilman and ex-LAPD police chief, said only five percent of the attendees at raves take part in illegal drugs, the other 95 percent are there to enjoy the music and have fun with their friends.
Drug use is not limited to events such as EDC. Drugs such as ecstasy are prevalent in nightclubs and house parties. To impose a ban on these raves would mean that one would have to ban all other events where ecstasy and other drug use could take place.
Instead of completely shutting down these events, city officials should implement stricter security measures and guidelines.
After discussing the event that took place, the Coliseum Commission and L.A. city officials have come up with a preliminary report, which can be found on Yaroslavsky’s website, that details new guidelines for raves. These new guidelines include imposing an age limit for entery into raves and promoting drug awareness in the community.
According to a statement released by the promoter of EDC and other large raves on their website, the Insomniac rave venue has taken it upon themselves to enforce an age restriction of 18 and over. Anybody trying to gain access to a rave will have to present a government-issued I.D.
This will certainly reduce the amount of under-age kids who attend these events, in hopes that the incident that occurred at EDC won’t happen again.
Another alternative to a ban is to promote drug awareness at these events with the intentions of preventing another tragedy.
For the rest of us living in the city of Los Angeles, the music must go on.