The events I mostly discuss in this post transpired about a month agol. I had this entry up in an earlier form but removed it quickly because I feared potential legal action,b ut it doesn't look like it's coming. So, re-written somewhat, here it is again.
On the morning of Saturday, February 14th 2009 I went through one of the most horrible, educational and enlightening experiences of my life. I'm sure many of you saw the two wrecked cars, and several wrecked trees on the way to the gate, and probably heard or saw first and second hand of the events that transpired. The driver of one of those cars was at fault. That much is for sure. I know him casually, as an associate and fellow partygoer, but I wouldn't go so far as to call him a friend because I generally try not to party too hard with the kind of people who take more then they can handle. in this case, that was (from what I have dug up) six of last years best pills and a half-weight of speed at the rave in perth, then somewhere between four and six mushroom caps once he arrived at the doof. This was clearly far, far beyond his boundaries and many people suffered because of it. During the time of the crash I, my girlfriend and another friend were sitting some hundred metres further towards the gate on a fallen log when we heard a terrible, keening scream. Pure, and total fear. I have never heard another sentient being in such anguish as I heard that day. We looked around and saw someone sprinting down the road, stumbling, rolling gait, clearly extremely fucked up. I thought I recognised him - It was who we thought it was, and I could see several others chasing him. The rate at which he was running, the way he was screaming and the whole situation felt like it was more then just a friendly game of chase or anything of the sort. So we too, leapt up and started running after him. We joined the group of about three or four others running after who told us he was 'skitzing out on mushrooms and speed' and has just crashed his car. He was about fifty metres ahead, and looked like he was bleeding from the head and potentially even his mouth. I'm ex-army, fully qualified in trauma first aid, this and my uni med experience told me that if any of what they'd told me was true he could be in extreme danger, and I wouldn't be able to help him, and that we would need someone qualified.
We told two of the others with us to go back and find help - Find one or more of the organisers, preferably someone with medical training - While we pursued him. By this point we were sprinting through relatively thick bush, the individual freaking out was flailing, screaming and running, barely managing to avoid any number of trees or ditches, rocks and such - He did trip and fall more then once, allowing us to gain on him until such a point as he cut across and ran out onto Edison Mill Road. All through we had been calling his name, trying to get him to stop and answer us, to turn around so we could figure out what had happened. Obviously, if he was in such a state, being chased by people yelling his name couldn't have helped but we weren't going to just let him "Run off, freak out and let him calm down on his own time" as someone had already suggested. Though traffic on the road was mostly non-existant, he was nearly hit by a speeding four-wheel-drive, at which point he stumbled to the side of the road and we were able to catch up to him. he had lost his pants, shirt was torn, he was bloody but only from superficial grazes - he was raving and rambling, incontinent and clearly extremely fucked up. Whilst keeping our distance we were able to get him to calm down and pause, to try and talk. He would shriek, his eyes would roll back in his head and he would babble violently about how he 'deserved this' - he begged us to kill him, to make it end. We did our best to assure him that we were only going to help him, and that he needed to calm down and to tell us what had happened. When he realised we wouldn't do it for him, he tried to kill himself. he immediately leapt up and sprinted three paces, hurling himself and trying to impale himself on a sharp, thick, protruding branch. it was only sheer miracle that I and the only other person who had still been chasing him managed to catch him before he hit it. We pulled him away, he was scratching, biting and struggling. he tried to tear out his own throat and ours. The two of us, and then the last person who had caught up with us, barely, were able to wrestle him to the ground and subdue him. During this time, he was screaming, tried to rub dirt, leaves and piss into his wounds and mouth, was trying to chew rocks and tear out his eyes. A passing motorist, unaffiliated with the doof scene, stopped and asked us what was happening. We explained, and she said the best thing to do was to restrain him - She even said she would have taken him in the car with her if she didn't also have her kids with her. She had a rope in the boot through, and we tied him (humaney, I might add) and she drove off towards perth to phone range, in order to call an ambulance. It was maybe ten minutes after she left that I remembered that during the night people had been talking about how someone supposedly swapped the signs around for Edison Mill and Yarra Roads - We were on E.M, and knew that if the several carloads of seasoned doofers had gotten thoroughly lost along the way, then a city ambulance would never be able to find the place.
For two hours we sat there, on the roadside, talking this guy out of his trip, hand-feeding him and dribbling water into his mouth, trying to clean him up and keep him calm. His rage eventually subsided, leaving only confusion and a childlike state where he lay his head in my lap and called me mommy while he repeatedly pissed himself, wept and begged for god to forgive him.
I'm not saying this because Im looking for praise, or to make anyone feel sorry for me. I'm saying this because I'm trying to convey the seriousness of the situation, and to ask why nobody came to help.
This was, I know, mostly due to the breakdown of communication involved with trying to send a message back, yelling it over your shoulder to people behind you while chasing a madman through heavy bush. But the situation should have been clear enough - Someone is freaking out. We need someone who has been in the scene long enough to know what to do when someone freaks out. He just crashed his car. he could have internal injuries. Get. Help.
I wasn't there when our messengers got back to the doof so I can't know for sure what happened. I was told, however, that, upon finding organisers and interrupting them mid-bong to try and explain what they knew, that the situation was not given what one would call the 'highest priority'. The car crash was attended to, and observed, and probably dealt with as it was needed to - But we were left there, waiting for help to come from one direction or an ambulance to come from the other. neither did. Finally, a car slowed, it was people we knew, heading to the doof. They told us that they'd left perth at 11pm the previous night (it was now at least lunchtime the next day, we had first started the chase at some point early on in tye's set) and had only just found the place because someone had been playing silly buggers with the roadsigns. This confirmed out worst fears, and so we sent one of ours in the car with them to the doof to try, again, to summon more help or at least get more water - I didn't know what the forecast was for the day, but if it had been something like it had at the Wibbltey Wobblties for instance, the injured party could well have died of heaststroke. By the grace of gods unknown, he was calm enough now that we could untie him and he could sit up, almost talking coherently. He was mildly concussed, but I checked him over as he was now sane enough to lie flat without struggling and I could find no broken bones or signs of internal bleeding - He had blood in his mouth from biting his lip in the crash, had chipped a couple of teeth but appeared to be otherwise sound exlcuding minor abrasions and lacerations. He would, it appeared, be okay, but nontheless he needed to be taken to perth and assessed by a medical professional. Now no longer knowing if the ambulance was ever going to find us, at last a car appeared from the doof. it was the one we had sent in earlier, that had found us and confirmed our fears about the signs. it held the guy we had sent back, a drunk driver, some water and spare seats for the three of us including the injured party. We brought him back to the doof, at which point we were greeted by several others from the original crash and more then one who had told us the organisers had been informed and the situation was 'under control'.
Now that he was calmer, no longer in the danger of killing himself and not suffering from any life threatening injuries I was more then happy to leave him in the company of his 'real friends' who all had wanted to "calm him down with a nice cone" or "take him down to the dance floor to relax" when he had first shown signs of freaking out, before he got into his car. These were, admittedly, a younger crowd, and not what I would call exactly responsible in their substance use, but no one had made any attempts to take his keys away from him, or take him somewhere quiet, or anything.
The previous night I had seen, on the dance floor, an individual stripped down to the undies, furiously masturbating. This, whilst admittedly utterly inappropriate behaviour, was not what I would call threatening or dangerous, but nontheless an invidual whose name I do not know but have seen doofing regularly and would expect better of, king-hit him into one of the projector screens. I don't know the whole story there - maybe he'd been jacking off onto the other guy's girlfriend or something, I don't know. But the way it appeared was that someone whose drugs had gotten the better of them was dealt with in a disgustingly primitive way. In my limited opinion, someone who was that fucked up on god knows what should be steered away from the dance floor, re-dressed by someone competent, his friends found and maybe locked him in the car or sat him down at the chillout stage for a while, if not just asked to leave.
These two events have shown me that we have failings in our duty of care. if we're going to have a party, a public party, people are probably going to show up who we don't want to be there. They might cause problems, or ruin our night. That's shit, and needs to be fixed. We should all be more careful about who we tell. But everyone deserved the right to be helped. if they're going wrong, people who know right should tell them right. There are those I know who will refuse to listen - Bourbon guzzling pillchewing hilux-driving pig-hunting bootscooters for instance, who will find their kicks by hassling a couple of guys cuddling on the dance floor, hurling abuse and threatening them - But when there are young people coming into the scene, who don't necessarily know what they're doing, taking too much of whatever and getting into trouble, then there clearly needs to be more education. It's very difficult, I know, to teach people how they should take their drugs, or what to take if anything at all - We can't exactly hold public service announcements on how many mushie caps you should take for your first time, I know - But we need to realise that as much as we would like to be, we are not completely seperate from reality. People we don't want to be there might be there. People who can't handle their shit might not handle their shit. And we should be prepared. Someone should take the responsibility of dealing with shit when it happens - Nobody wants to spend their whole night running around after young fucks who think they're invulnerable, who wouldn't listen to reason - But I know there are medical professionals in the scene, would it be too much to ask for someone higher-up to have a lockbox up by the DJ with some valium in it? Some mild sedatives would have resolved the situation much faster then it otherwise was, or even someone with medical training coming out to assess the poor guy. Even if all they could do is come out, take his pulse, look at him and say "Yep, he's freaking out. No, he's not going to die. No, we can't move him." And then gone back to the doof, at least then i could have known whether or not I was going to have to start CPR at any second. I didn't know how long ago he'd taken the pills and speed or if he was ODing as well as having his manic episode. We ran for a good three k at least, but that's a five minute drive and a two minute diagnosis to see if he's critical or not.
Even if you don't want them at your party, if they're at your party, you have duty of care. I don't want to sound like I'm accusing anyone of failing in their duties, but someone did. Either the people I sent back didn't tell what they were supposed to, or I didn't tell them properly what to say, or who they told didn't properly act. But it was only sheer goddamn luck that that boy is still alive today. And i can guarantee that if he'd died out there it would have been the last party for a while.
Situations like this will happen again, if we don't take steps to resolve things. People will still continue to be irresponsible with their bodies, and as much as we don't like to have to clean up their messes, until they learn their lessons we're going to have to. We are all human beings, the same blood and bone, just different minds. And if you think someone is doing something wrong, you need to help them to do it right. We need to keep people safe, either by keeping them OUT or teaching them how to behave.
Without harping on too much, as I'm sure this is already a huge post, things need to change. We either need to privatise better, or take adequate precautions to stop something like this from happening again. I can only thank everyone who was there and who acted responsibly and did everything they could. I shudder to think what would have happened to him if we hadn't seen him, or if his pillhead buddies had just let him roam off into the bush. Would we ever have seen him again, alive?
I truly doubt it.