Fallen Police Officer Honored At Burning Man
Sometimes it’s hard for us to see police officers as fellow human beings. Their presence is most often seen as a negative thing. This is overwhelmingly true at an event like a music festival. And of all the music festivals, Burning Man seems like a place where attendees would be especially uncomfortable with their presence. What business would they have in Black Rock City? A caravan of cop cars in such a place would certainly signify some type of raid, right? You’d think so, but at Burning Man last week this theory was proven completely false. In fact, the exact opposite happened. As one police officer after the next pulled up blasting their sirens and surrounding the temple at the playa, festival goers expected the worst. Instead, they were witnesses to an incredibly touching event. A fallen officer who had been a passionate member of the Burning Man community was being honored at a place he considered home. There’s no way I could do this story justice, so I will let someone who took part in the ceremony tell it in his words. Thank you Steve Gorman for sharing this incredible story with us.
“On Thursday afternoon out at the temple, I suddenly heard police sirens and then saw scores of police vehicles with lights flashing heading down the promenade towards the temple. It looked like at that moment every LEO on the playa was descending on the temple. Many of us stood stunned, not knowing what was happening, as these law enforcement vehicles slowly arrived and fanned out around the temple, as officers got out of each car. It looked like some kind of planned raid, perhaps a drug enforcement spot check. As they all got out of their cars and lined up on either side of the entrance to the temple, they took off their hats. Soon, a woman was being escorted down the path towards the temple, accompanied by someone holding a plaque. It became apparent that a fallen officer was being honored here at the temple, and that his family members were being escorted inside for a ceremony and placing of the plaque. As the officers went inside, crowds of burners followed, and everyone stood in respectful silence as the eulogy was read, and the plaque placed on the alter. Gongs quietly rang in the background, as desert dust gently blew through the temple. The capacity crowd stood in rapt silence. Afterwards, the crowd erupted in applause as the speaker finished up, and the assembled officers and family members filed out of the temple. It was an emotional and unifying scene, and though different people have had varying experiences with police on and off the playa, in that moment we were all part of the same shared experience.”