Burning Man is a festival of art, music, culture, and spirituality, held annually in the vast deserts of Nevada. Over 60,000 attendees gather and literally build a temporary city — roads, emergency services, a mail system, and structures of every shape and size — for one week. Some of the most brilliant art projects in the world are showcased, many of which are ritualistically burned to the ground by the end of the event.
I find the experience I’ve encountered there to be like none other and treasure the learning and good times I’ve had. But, the organizers of the festival consistently do one thing that, were they anyone whom I did not hold in such high esteem, would have been sued a long time ago: any time a “child” goes “missing,” they block the exits of the festival until found. And almost invariably by “child” I mean “teenager,” while by “missing” I mean “has voluntarily gone off partying and some parent is worried.”
This is literally the definition of false imprisonment.
Traditionally, at common law, false imprisonment is defined as the 1) confinement of another, 2) within fixed boundaries for any period of time, 3) who is aware of, or injured by, his or her confinement, 4) without consent or privilege (Nevada law takes a substantially similar view). The “within fixed boundaries” part deserves clarity: the boundaries could be a cage, a house, a 100-acre estate, or even an entire city. The “privilege” part also deserves clarity: there has never been a “privilege” to detain a single person without reasonable suspicion, let alone to detain 60,000 persons, 99.9% of which assuredly have no idea where the missing person is.
Cut that shit out. It fails to uphold the community’s value placed on consent and self-reliance, and it’s just plain illegal.