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A Prayer for David Santiago and a Note About Rave Violence

Our scene may be the most vibrant, electrifying thing to come out since the invention of the color television, but, like everything else on this earth, it is no stranger to the darker side of things. We have seen overdoses. Event companies have covered their asses by barring youth under eighteen entry to massives, and have gone out of their way to keep us hydrated because of rampant ecstasy use. Despite the huge crowds, our parties remain fairly safe. Hell, I felt a lot safer at Electric Daisy Carnival than I did at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting.

But even so, the rave culture will never lose its gritty side. You'll see that there’s more to the underbelly than meets the eye. You always have the option to accept responsibility for your own actions, and most ravers do that. But violence is a different story. We’re patted down from our toes to our ass to our underarms to enter these raves, and overall that keeps us pretty safe from knife and gun violence. But sometimes, it takes only a fist to tragically end a life.

Some of you may not know this, but up until about two years ago Phoenix held one of, if not the largest rave scenes in the United States. The lack of clubs, abundance of youth, and sheer area of the city made the underground PLUR scene flourish in long stretches of industrial complexes and just out in the middle of the desert. But that also makes them of questionable safety, and more prone to attract gang members from nearby areas. I'm sure this is the case in many cities. I was back in Arizona for Thanksgiving and went with some friends to WhiteOut 5 at a fairly well known venue near downtown where 12th Planet & Showtek were playing. Not everyone had a good night.

22-year-old David Santiago of Phoenix was at the show as well, but unlike the rest of us, he didn't get the night he was looking for. After being punched in the face and knocked to the ground by an unknown suspect, he was further injured by having his face stomped on by a second unknown assailant. Upon being rushed to the hospital, David was observed to have suffered severe brain damage. Despite doctors being optimistic about his recovery, sadly he passed away 10 days later.

From what I remember, the show must have had about 1000 people (police estimated this same figure). There are also reports that as many as 100 may have been around the attacks, but no viable leads have come from any witness reports. In fact, the people who were surrounding the attack did absolutely nothing.

After such a tragic incident, the EDM community will of course have many fingers pointed at it. But we must not let his passing be in vain. We must go forward and make sure that the violence that is rotting every other part of our society doesn’t permeate into OUR scene. If you see a fight brewing, get out of the way and speak up! Call a security guard, or snap a picture if it’s getting bloody. Just make a sincere effort to make sure this doesn’t happen again. As a fellow raver that we’ll never get to meet, I ask you all to express your deepest sympathies for David's family here and to put them in your prayers.

A security guard from a neighbouring building described the suspects as a Hispanic brown-haired male between 5'9 and 5'10, about 180 lbs, and wearing a red shirt at the time of the incident. The second male is described as thinner. The Phoenix Police Department is offering a $1000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. If you or anyone you know has any information related to the assault of David Santiago, please contact Silent Witness (480-WITNESS) immediately. 

Via: ABC 15 Phoenix

By Edward Fancher

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