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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSAFETY AT BARGE EVENTS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY

SAFETY AT BARGE EVENTS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY

"Moshing" and stage diving at stateside concerts and dances on "The General" (a car- transporting barge by day turned "party" boat at night) have much in common. Moshing and stage diving, as portrayed on a television news documentary a few nights ago, is where people pass or throw bodies over a standing room only, shoulder to shoulder crowd at huge concerts. Stage diving is throwing yourself at the stage or jumping off. The reason I believe Moshing and stage diving and The General boat rides have much in common is that all hold a propensity for personal damage inflicted equally on the innocent and the instigator.
The documentary I saw the other night highlighted a concert with about 48,000 teens and young adults in attendance and resulted in about 270 injuries. Out of events similar to these we have witnessed at least two deaths, one of a boy age fourteen, and injuries of others who have become paraplegics or suffered brain damage when they fell on their heads. Settlements to victims of stage diving in excess of $1 million have been awarded
During the documentary a rather bizarre interview ensued with the leading promoter of these types of concerts. The interviewer questioned him about whether he felt any responsibility for the accidents and potential deaths that can arise from these events. He, a mature looking older male I might add, looked the reporter dead in the eye and emphatically said no. He said he was not responsible for any of what happens, the band leaders interviewed also said they had no share in the blame.
Next, I wondered who was responsible for children being out at night, or for young adults and children throwing bodies, groping the females in the process, injuring innocent bystanders, etc. I also wondered why the "authorities" do not do something to protect innocent people and control criminal behavior? Are large events such as these immune to police control? I came to the conclusion that it was a shared responsibility:
• Parents should not have their children out in this adult environment.
• Organizers of the event should not allow such a high attendance that promotes shoulder to shoulder masses of people standing and dancing and jumping uncontrollably.
• Bands should not continue performing when Moshing starts.
• Security should be tighter and eviction of people should occur when conduct of this type starts, etc.
• Crowd management plans should be in place and perhaps tested similarly to fire drills.
You may wonder why I compare Moshing and stage diving with the public dances on The General, an event that appears to have assaults, knifings and statutory rapes associated with it. True, they have security and I am told that they put off anyone fighting, but is this enough? Why aren't the authorities or parents doing anything about an event that allegedly allows:
• Below eighteen teens to violate curfew or be in an environment that sells liquor
• Frequent violence as they, the participants, disembark from "The General" and allegedly retrieve their weapons from their cars to top off arguments that started on the overcrowded barge.
• Constant use of the waterfront before and after disembarking as a urinal and wide-open trash receptacle (Have you seen the trash all around the streets, parking lot and other areas where the barge loads and unloads in early morning after one of the boat rides?)
• Containing the noise level: I am told by persons residing in town, and in one instance a tourist who was staying in town, that the noise level at two or three o'clock in the morning along the waterfront is deafening and awakens you out of a deep sleep. They further tell me that the bands play for close to an hour after The General arrives at the dock, encouraging all the people waiting to start their own Waterfront party with the people coming off.
Tell me something, does The General have sufficient life jackets for the sheer volume of people out dancing on what is a car ferry? Do they have adequate bathroom facilities? Is it a health risk besides being a safety risk? Do they have adequate fire safety equipment and trained fire fighting personnel if a major fire were to happen as I understand regulated passenger lines are required to have? Is it true that children are on it? If this is not true, how come some of the victims are underage?
I am glad for planned positive young adult activities, free of charge or not, but the activity needs to comply with safety, health and related laws to ensure that it does more good than harm to participants. Crowd safety and crowd management are not new to us, after all we have other large events. Neither am I against boat ride dances, although I do not personally attend, but I am an advocate for ensuring that activities of the nature of the boat rides do not include both children and adults.
Whether it is Moshing or The General party boat activities, why aren't people, (read "authorities") concerned about the safety of the community in action? Are we going to wait until they have injured more people, perhaps kill someone or perhaps when it (The General) sinks and we have our own Titanic? You tell me; do not be silent! Advocate for change in this potentially dangerous recurring event.
Editor's note: Catherine Lockhart Mills of St. Thomas, a former Human Services commissioner, holds a master's degree in social work. You can send comments to her on the articles she writes or topics you would like to see addressed at source@viaccess.net

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"Moshing" and stage diving at stateside concerts and dances on "The General" (a car- transporting barge by day turned "party" boat at night) have much in common. Moshing and stage diving, as portrayed on a television news documentary a few nights ago, is where people pass or throw bodies over a standing room only, shoulder to shoulder crowd at huge concerts. Stage diving is throwing yourself at the stage or jumping off. The reason I believe Moshing and stage diving and The General boat rides have much in common is that all hold a propensity for personal damage inflicted equally on the innocent and the instigator.
The documentary I saw the other night highlighted a concert with about 48,000 teens and young adults in attendance and resulted in about 270 injuries. Out of events similar to these we have witnessed at least two deaths, one of a boy age fourteen, and injuries of others who have become paraplegics or suffered brain damage when they fell on their heads. Settlements to victims of stage diving in excess of $1 million have been awarded
During the documentary a rather bizarre interview ensued with the leading promoter of these types of concerts. The interviewer questioned him about whether he felt any responsibility for the accidents and potential deaths that can arise from these events. He, a mature looking older male I might add, looked the reporter dead in the eye and emphatically said no. He said he was not responsible for any of what happens, the band leaders interviewed also said they had no share in the blame.
Next, I wondered who was responsible for children being out at night, or for young adults and children throwing bodies, groping the females in the process, injuring innocent bystanders, etc. I also wondered why the "authorities" do not do something to protect innocent people and control criminal behavior? Are large events such as these immune to police control? I came to the conclusion that it was a shared responsibility:
• Parents should not have their children out in this adult environment.
• Organizers of the event should not allow such a high attendance that promotes shoulder to shoulder masses of people standing and dancing and jumping uncontrollably.
• Bands should not continue performing when Moshing starts.
• Security should be tighter and eviction of people should occur when conduct of this type starts, etc.
• Crowd management plans should be in place and perhaps tested similarly to fire drills.
You may wonder why I compare Moshing and stage diving with the public dances on The General, an event that appears to have assaults, knifings and statutory rapes associated with it. True, they have security and I am told that they put off anyone fighting, but is this enough? Why aren't the authorities or parents doing anything about an event that allegedly allows:
• Below eighteen teens to violate curfew or be in an environment that sells liquor
• Frequent violence as they, the participants, disembark from "The General" and allegedly retrieve their weapons from their cars to top off arguments that started on the overcrowded barge.
• Constant use of the waterfront before and after disembarking as a urinal and wide-open trash receptacle (Have you seen the trash all around the streets, parking lot and other areas where the barge loads and unloads in early morning after one of the boat rides?)
• Containing the noise level: I am told by persons residing in town, and in one instance a tourist who was staying in town, that the noise level at two or three o'clock in the morning along the waterfront is deafening and awakens you out of a deep sleep. They further tell me that the bands play for close to an hour after The General arrives at the dock, encouraging all the people waiting to start their own Waterfront party with the people coming off.
Tell me something, does The General have sufficient life jackets for the sheer volume of people out dancing on what is a car ferry? Do they have adequate bathroom facilities? Is it a health risk besides being a safety risk? Do they have adequate fire safety equipment and trained fire fighting personnel if a major fire were to happen as I understand regulated passenger lines are required to have? Is it true that children are on it? If this is not true, how come some of the victims are underage?
I am glad for planned positive young adult activities, free of charge or not, but the activity needs to comply with safety, health and related laws to ensure that it does more good than harm to participants. Crowd safety and crowd management are not new to us, after all we have other large events. Neither am I against boat ride dances, although I do not personally attend, but I am an advocate for ensuring that activities of the nature of the boat rides do not include both children and adults.
Whether it is Moshing or The General party boat activities, why aren't people, (read "authorities") concerned about the safety of the community in action? Are we going to wait until they have injured more people, perhaps kill someone or perhaps when it (The General) sinks and we have our own Titanic? You tell me; do not be silent! Advocate for change in this potentially dangerous recurring event.
Editor's note: Catherine Lockhart Mills of St. Thomas, a former Human Services commissioner, holds a master's degree in social work. You can send comments to her on the articles she writes or topics you would like to see addressed at source@viaccess.net