Going through some old notes this morning looking for something, I found this bit from three years ago. I’m happy to see that the Albany community is in a much better place now than when I wrote this in exasperation. My thanks to those on the BoD who have worked this improvement and to those in the community who have supported the change.
Especially after C2K, I’m looking forward to what three more years might bring.
I know none of us are lawyers, but I’ve got one in the family for what that’s worth (nothing…). One thing that really worries me about our stance on the legality of our demos is the assertions that 1) Our demos are breaking laws (I don’t believe that most of them do, but for sake of argument assume they do), 2) That Albany area law enforcement would take an enforcement interest in what we do, and 3) That by holding our demos in non-public locations we’re protecting ourselves legally from that LEO interest.
Not to put too fine a point on it, legally speaking that idea is INSANE.
If in fact we’re breaking laws and if LEO cares about the laws we’re breaking (adultery is illegal in many places, but not something that’s prosecuted frequently), then the venue where we hold our events has no bearing at all on whether we’ll have legal trouble or not. Sufficient details as to what activities are planned to get a warrant are posted on all of our event announcements. If Albany is so small that the police feel the need to prosecute consensual BDSM activities between adults, then there’s nothing at all barring them from getting a warrant and busting up a private party. The “private” location is one subpoena away (and for the record, I’d personally comply with any such location served to me in a heartbeat), and a warrant could easily follow that based on what’s in our public event descriptions.
I truly don’t believe that Albany’s police or the DA care. They have real crimes to worry about. I’ve witnessed things in Rocks that go far beyond anything we have planned for a demo in terms of the level of sexual activity, and as far as I know Rocks hasn’t been busted up, and their plans for downstairs are increasing the level of activity, not curtailing it.
There’s no reason we can’t run events “legit” in Albany. By legit I mean hotel management aware that a private function is in progress and staff refilling water etc. isn’t necessary or acceptable, local police & fire consulted and signed off (if only verbally) that everything we’re doing is okay with them, and any permits, etc secured (not that I anticipate needing any for the one-night hotel stuff we do). All if that is in line with NCSF’s recommendations.
If we can’t at this point in time manage that in the capital of New York State, then why are we even wasting our time trying to put on events? If Smalbany really is that small, it’s just a matter of time until we’re all arrested for something anyways.
We need to expunge APeX of the concept that any of the secrecy we try to maintain is protecting us at all legally. Let’s start with us taking a look at our legal exposure and realistically assessing what we can do to protect ourselves and how effective those protections really are. Once APeX’s leadership can face the realities of our legal position and our status in Albany, then we can have a frank dialog with our membership about what they risk by participating in our events, what steps we can take to protect them, and what ineffective steps we can avoid that would otherwise harm us.