[Noisebridge-discuss] Advisory about recent thefts at Noisebridge.

Ken Adler ken.adler at gmail.com
Mon Jul 11 14:16:12 PDT 2011


Liz:

The nuances in your detailed response reminds me of how much I love the
NoiseBridge community.

I pray that the "root cause" of the current situation is what you posited
that it might be:

<snip>

I'm not sure, but it seems like part of what was going on that night
(and over the last few days) was that Philip looks for homeless people
in difficulty to take back to his place so that he can provide them
"therapy",
</snip>


I don't (think I) know Philip, but it sounds as his heart is in the right
place.  Hopefully he can be approached and have your following paragraph
explained to him:

<snip>
If people want to make Noisebridge into a community soup kitchen,
resource center, and squat, and invite people in off the street, that
will radically change the nature of the space and the problems it faces
and who wants to come here and why.
</snip>


I hope that he can understand that this activity fits into that fuzzy gray
area between "Do-ocracy" and an activity that needs "consensus".  No foul
for accidentally stepping over the line as long as he respects the results
of a "call for consensus" arrived at the Tuesday meeting.

If we are lucky enough that this is truly the root cause of the uptick, then
hopefully, we can mitigate the situation without having to go into lockdown
mode with video cameras, booby traps, and alligator pits.   All we will need
to do is 1) stop having new "therapy patients" being introduced into the
space, 2) do whatever is needed to be done to make sure sure that those
"non-member former patients" know that they are not welcome and do not
attempt to enter anymore, and 3) pray that the "word on the street" that NB
is a great squat fades away.

Yes, call me the eternal optimist.

Ken "Max's Dad" Adler.



On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Liz Henry <liz at bookmaniac.org> wrote:

> On 7/9/11 9:31 AM, Quinn Norton wrote:
> > I'm confused. Did they actually do anything wrong besides make you
> uncomfortable?
> >
>
>
> Good question and thanks for asking. I'll try to answer thoroughly,
> though it is a bit tl;dr.  It was my personal judgment from fairly brief
> contact, and yet I had a fairly sharp worry about the person's being in
> Noisebridge. It's important to discuss in public how we might form that
> kind of judgment and expose our possibly wrong/biased standards for
> criticism.
>
> The guy I thought should not be allowed in wasn't the main guy who later
> that night got into the fight though I think he was involved. I was
> worried about leaving the space as he arrived, from my conversation with
> him and the drunk girl who brought him in. He was drunk or high and also
> seemed a bit incoherent, hard to understand, and out of touch with
> reality. He explained that people call him The Angel Gabriel and then
> began talking about the Bible. He refused a tour or explanation of the
> space. He was not particularly clean and was dressed in camo. I had a
> further snap reaction to him that was kind of like "Okay... you're a
> person who has been in prison... more than once." So a sketchy dude who
> on first sight I think has been in jail or prison, crazy, babbling about
> the Bible, drunk, etc.
>
> None of those things alone would lead me to be uncomfortable enough with
> a person to say "You should not come in and in fact you should leave"
> but all in combination, along with it being late at night when there
> were not many people in the building to keep an eye on the situation,
> and the drunk girl much younger than him who I didn't think had very
> good judgment, concerned me. What I said was not anything reasonable but
> was a huge eyeroll and sarcastic "Oh fuck... GREAT...."  I came back
> with Danny after about an hour to make sure things were calm, and they
> seemed to be. So I did nothing and left. Not my finest moment.
>
> That afternoon I had just had encounters with several homeless and
> apparently mentally ill people in Noisebridge whose situations worried
> me, one of them Philip who could not manage to respect boundaries and
> who Danny escorted out.  Another of them was the lady with white hair
> who is running for mayor and believes the FBI put her in SF General
> psych ward, erased her tape recorder, and is following her; she
> desperately asked me for help that I didn't know how to provide. So I
> also didn't say anything to The Angel Gabriel because I worried I was
> being overly uptight and freaked out from my earlier stressful encounters.
>
> I'm not sure, but it seems like part of what was going on that night
> (and over the last few days) was that Philip looks for homeless people
> in difficulty to take back to his place so that he can provide them
> "therapy", and kind of hangs out in other open or community spaces to do
> that, and has added NB to his list of hangouts.  You might need to talk
> with Philip for a while yourself in order to decide whether you think
> that's a praiseworthy thing on his part or whether it is kind of
> disturbing.
>
> I think at NB we have many people who might be called non-neurotypical
> in various ways and we might all vary also in our level of comfort with
> that. So for example when someone has a bit of delusions of grandeur,
> fine and dandy as long as they aren't harming anyone. If they think the
> FBI reads their email because of their theories about economics, fine, a
> bit tin foil hat IMHO but also not doing much harm. I'm not talking
> about people who might be a little rambly or awkward or annoying.  I
> guess it is when people seem really unpredictable, or predatory,
> incoherent, and plus are not already part of our community, then I
> think, why let them in the door at all?
>
> The bit about it being late at night and not many people in the space, I
> also have some worries that the very people who were left in the space
> who might be the ones who did not feel safe because of their own life
> situations and who have been turning to others in the space to ask them
> to behave as "authorities". During the day more people are around to
> decide together what to do. That's part of why in retrospect I wish I'd
> just asked The Angel Gabriel to leave immediately. He seemed like a risk
> that people there might not be able to cope with. So it was not just
> about my personal comfort level or some abstract idea of safe space or
> politeness or bourgeois respectability. I'm not sure what actually
> happened that night later on, but it sounds like there was a fight, the
> guy sleeping on the couch was forcibly ejected, and *then* the police
> were called.
>
> Something felt really "off" about the space and part of that is people
> not very strongly connected to NB and who don't know each other well
> either, letting each other in, late at night.
>
> I think there is also increasing class tension as more of the people
> coming in are completely homeless and lack many resources and lack a
> network of people who have access to those resources, while others of us
> are comparatively privileged, with marketable skills, shelter, food,
> jobs, emotional stability, and friends who have all of the above
> resources and more. Homeless not like "temporarily homeless hacker" but
> like "crazy person who has been on the streets for years and has just
> randomly showed up here."   We have to figure out how to talk openly
> about those issues amongst ourselves without stigmatizing poverty,
> homelessness, or mental illness.
>
> Obviously I'm no expert in this.
>
> If people want to make Noisebridge into a community soup kitchen,
> resource center, and squat, and invite people in off the street, that
> will radically change the nature of the space and the problems it faces
> and who wants to come here and why.
>
> I don't want to do that, though I help people out individually in the
> community where I live.
>
> So I am not talking about Banning People but I think there is room in
> our community to speak as individuals to tell people "I'm uncomfortable
> with you because of X, Y, Z behavior" or "because I don't trust you not
> to steal stuff".  That's what I'm going to say to people when I'm
> thinking it, in future. It will be interesting to see what answers I get.
>
> Other people can decide what approach they will take individually or
> collectively. I realize some may totally disagree with me that there is
> a problem. See what you think when you meet some of these folks.
>
>
>
> - Liz
>
>
>
>
> --
> Liz Henry
> lizhenry at gmail.com
> http://bookmaniac.org
> http://badgermama.com
> _______________________________________________
> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
>



-- 
Ken Adler
510-290-5806 (cell)
Ken at adler.net
----
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