I Heart SCV
Heated Crowds
August, 2019 - Issue #179
Summer reigns unrivaled as Santa Clarita's grossest season. At the end of each day, Claritans one and all are covered in a film of sweat, smog and varying parts barbecue and wildfire ash. Even worse, this is the time of year when we are expected to assemble in crowds for a host of ungodly reasons. Tourists throng SoCal destinations and locals mass at park concerts and pools. It's no wonder that tempers flare and tensions boil over. All that friction, both literal and figurative, makes trouble in summer crowds. Where people gather, you're bound to feel the heat.

"The property had apparently been SET UP to make butane honey oil, and multiple agencies responded to deal with the party and some potentially flammable or explosive materials."
Brews or Bruise?
There are, apparently, people who like country music. Thousands of them recently gathered for "Boots and Brews," an afternoon festival full of music, dancing and beer at Central Park. Soon after, local news outlets and social media buzzed with an account of three women violently attacking others in a racially-motivated but otherwise random fashion. One "Bosco Boscorelli" on the uber-popular Santa Clarita Community Facebook group (22,000+ members) summarized the various stories. He wrote that three Hispanic women savaged multiple blonde, white women, suggesting, "It's possible they were targeted for this reason."

The already sensational account went further still when he reported that someone "physically threw two of the three attackers over a fence," but they came back to attack yet more women. Despite what sounds like quite the rampage in front of a huge crowd, no footage of any attack emerged. Two women filed police reports, one after being chest-bumped and another after hitting the ground in a crowd being kicked. No ambulances were called. So perhaps there were some heated tempers among the boozy festival-goers, but hard evidence supporting the racist narrative remains non-existent. Unfortunately, that fact hasn't spread as fast as the rumors did.

Sparks can fly when people panic in a crowd, but sometimes it's very real sparks that make the crowd panic. That was the case at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor when the so-called Sky Fire crept uncomfortably close to the amusement parks. Beginning at noon near the 5 freeway, the blaze spread quickly through the dry grass and brush. Before it was fully extinguished, the blaze consumed almost 50 acres.

Officials could have done a better job in handling the anxious crowd of thousands. An evacuation order was made, and then orders to shelter-in-place came just 10 minutes later. The Los Angeles Times quoted a fire dispatcher who stated that Six Flags began the evacuation and were "doing it on their own." That could explain the mixed messages. In any case, the smoke was heavy enough to sting eyes and bring on coughs, and flames were visible to patrons from the coasters. Exit roads were temporarily closed so that a mass exodus wouldn't interfere with fire-fighting efforts. The fire never got close enough to be an imminent danger to either park, but I imagine the crowd trapped at Hurricane Harbor must have felt the safest - more water there.

Party Over
If you don't want to end up in hot water, don't invite a big crowd to party at your illegal marijuana production facility. That's the lesson that three young people learned recently. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station became aware that a big party with over 150 people was taking place at a large, abandoned property on a secluded hill in Canyon Country. Deputies went to investigate in the early evening, before there could be too much trouble. The crowd was dispersed and didn't create any major problems.

More concerning was the evidence that authorities found of unlicensed cannabis production. The property had apparently been set up to make butane honey oil, and multiple agencies responded to deal with the party and some potentially flammable or explosive materials. The three individuals who were arrested during the incident all hail from the Antelope Valley. Had it not been for the big boisterous party, the operation might have gone unnoticed. Not all crowds mean trouble, and you'd be missing out on some of the best parts of the Claritan summer if you avoided them altogether. So to fully heart the SCV summertime, join the crowd - just stay near an exit.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author
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