NOTE: If you’re here VIA PZ’s link, I’ve replied to his post: http://theredda.com/2012/06/18/accidental-genius-or-common-sense/
I meant to blog about this sooner, but I have been busy. I recently watched the item below thanks to Travis Roy, a Skeptic and Scientific Naturalist in the community. It’s a video chat hosted by Roy between Emery Emery and Wendell of the Atheist community. It’s an extremely good debate with a lot of strong points brought up.
In my opinion, Emery completely own’s the space 99% of the time.
EDIT: This is part of a previous blog post I made, in reference to everyone ACTING like adults, because we’re all adults here, aren’t we? and we should all be able to handle difficult situations, yes?
(((To sum it up, essentially some words were had and some blame was thrown, but what it now boils down to is the organization “Skepchicks” is now essentially boycotting TAM and saying it is “unsafe for women.” But why is it unsafe you ask?
Harassment and apparently DjG’s “inability” to solve the problem.
I support DjG, from CFI all the way to TAM and JREF. If you do not, shame on you. And if you are a skepchick and you are boycotting as well, then shame on you too. Why? Here is why…:
I attend TAM, am an attractive woman and have NEVER had harassment issues. That said, I’m not saying it doesn’t occur because hey, we’re human, we’ve all experienced the “real world” and there’s no way to avoid it. But honestly, blowing the situation out of proportion the way that it has been, and calling it a “sex” issue, is appalling and infuriates me, especially since I am a female. (The boob bearing kind).
I think my short lived conversation with a local Feminist/Atheist expresses my feelings completely:
Me: Anyone heading to TAM this year? I am, but currently there seems to be drama surrounding the event due to the skepchicks. Personally, I think they can all suck it. More science for me!
JB: Skepchicks’ web site is awesome. They are HELPING women get to TAM.
Me: Yea, they’re actually boycotting tam. So not so much. Theyre saying that tam isnt a safe environment for women. I go every year, and have never been harassed or felt uncomfortable. The whole front that skepchicks is putting out is unreasonable and aimed at being a “sex” related issue. Im a female, and its disgusting imo. So anyone who supports skepchicks is no better then a child pouting in a candy store. Get over yourself and dont ruin it for the rest of us “chicks”
JB: I’ll be the kind of Feminist I want to, thanks. Just because you weren’t harassed doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to anyone.
Me: First of all, feminists blow my mind at how bias they see the world these days. Its not 1940, things have change for the most part. Second, I’m pretty sure TAM doesn’t allow children. And if your old enough to be an adult, be an “out” atheist, and be at a convention of science, reason, and free thought, I’m pretty sure that you can handle any situation you might find yourself in, and if you cant, maybe you shouldn’t be there.
JB: OK, have your opinion of Feminism, that is fine, but it’s not how I define it. But it sounds like you went form saying harassment didn’t happen to saying that if it does, each person can handle it herself. I think it should be dealt with in a larger way. I’ll let the Skepchick website speak for itself; I am done.
Me: Im saying flat out, if you have your big girl pants on and your at a non-religious, furthermore anti-religious engagement, maybe you should learn to handle difficult situations a little better then blowing it out of proportion into a full on “tam is not safe for women” epidemic. Alot of females resent having this put out as a sex issue when lets face it, we’re all adults, we all fight for freedom from social standards and morals set by religious institutions and yet when something out of the ordinary or “uncomfortable” happens it automatically becomes harassment and grounds for unsafe territory. Lets not forget what side of the fence we are standing on, and pit our own people against each other because someone couldn’t remove the “ages 4-6″ label from their atheist edition of monopoly.
Clearly, there are some things that need to be addressed when “harassment” happens. But i’m sorry, the bottom line is if you’re a woman and you’re an Atheist and you’re attending a conference such as TAM, NECESS, RR, etc, then you should grow a backbone and have a thick enough skin to handle any given situation. Clearly you decided to be at the conference for a reason and chances are, you’ve probably faced quite a bit of stigma and social spite for being an Atheist by now anyway (unless you’re still in the closet, at which point you should probably stay in there if you are over 18 and living in the United States). So if you can handle that and still show up for one of these gatherings, then please… act like an adult and learn to either take an invite from a swinger as a flattering gesture, or simply say: “no thank you.” Furthermore, don’t act surprised. Remember, this is a “non-religious, non-conservative, free thought environment” and if you aren’t willing to tolerate some things and conduct yourself like an ADULT, then maybe you belong in a church, with all the other little children, who are safe, “for the bible tells them so.” ))) END OF EDIT
That said, there is a “security” issue brought up in the debate. Clearly, is it TAM’s responsibility to ensure the security of individuals there, or is it the hotels responsibility?
Having lived in Las Vegas for 5 years and having worked in Casino Security and surveillance, It’s easy for me to say
“Hey, GUESS WHAT!” – “I have a SOLUTION to the TAM-FEMALE SECURITY-issue!”
Holy Shit, no way? Really? For Reals? Is it possible?
yes, yes it is.
Since I’ve worked in Casino Security in Las Vegas, I can shed some clear light on this situation.
If you have an issue, report it. Not to TAM staff, but directly to hotel security. Whether it’s “I lost my underwear at the black jack table” or “someone tried to rape me in an elevator” it is the responsibility of CASINO SECURITY to handle all complaints and concerns about the activity being conducted on casino property. This includes the parking garages, walkways, conference areas, and even the landscaping. This is what security is here for. Not necessarily to protect the individuals in the casino (even though that is in the job description) but to take action on any matter brought to them in the interest of protecting the company.
“Security officers aren’t real cops, so they can’t do anything”
No, Security officers are NOT POLICE. That said, they are legally allowed to protect the assets and interests of the company they work for including but not limited to the handling of money, people, and materials. This means that Security officers can take physical evidence, including photographs of individuals involved, can escort you off property, evict you from hotel rooms, physically detain you within a holding cell in the BOH, conduct a “wellness check” on individuals who may seem suspicious, and even conduct full room searches (“tossing”) if needed. I have done all of these things PERSONALLY. Casino security and surveillance will do whatever it takes to make sure that the conduct of the establishment remains in good welfare. Which essentially means, no monkey business.
Lets give some examples, shall we?
I’m Adam. I’m a card counter and I play blackjack because it’s the best odds in the house. But I count cards on double deck tables because it’s harder to track.
*Buzz* WRONG. surveillance is trained to watch patterns and be able to identify when someone is cheating and when someone is just “lucky.” An individual that consistently bets a certain amount through say, 3/4 of a deck and then doubles theirs bets all of a sudden, is making it obvious to the trained eye that they have an ideal high/low count based on face cards and low value cards that have already turned, and are now at a large advantage against the house. Ever wonder why the dealer shuffles the cards more often then not and before they’re completely out of them?
So Adam gets approached by security and is pulled away from the table and security is now addressing the issue. Awesome, that said, it’s the job of security officers to then pull the pit boss on duty aside and say “would you like this gentleman removed from the tables, or banned from them permanently?” At this point, the pit boss usually says to ask them to leave for the night, and the incident is over. That said, I have escorted out card counters several times, had them return, and eventually had to redbook them and ban them from the property entirely for “conduct frowned upon.”
Why not call the police and have them arrested? Because LEGALLY, they didn’t do anything wrong. Card counting is not “Illegal” its just EXTREMELY frowned upon, and very likely to get you banned from the tables in the casino permanently (because they still want your money in slots and alcohol), if not banned from the property period. Once that individual is banned from the property by personnel, if they return, then it’s considered an illegal trespass, and the individual can be detained and held for police.
I’m in an elevator and someone solicits me, what do I do?
You contact hotel security as soon as you get out of the elevator. let them know the situation, and this is literally how it happens:
1) The officer responds, while surveillance follows the officer on camera and while the officer asks for your information and the nature of your problem.
2) Once that information is obtained, the officer asks what you’d like to do
3) if you choose to pursue the matter, the officers will ask you to show them where the incident occurred. NOW, this is the tricky part. Some hotels have cameras in the elevators, some do not. Most likely, they do. But, it’s all relative to what the security camera in being used for. For instance: the security cameras in the pit are not used to make sure that the dealers are safe, they are used to make sure the dealers are correctly paying out winning hands, depositing bills for chips, counting fills, and clearing their hands before exiting a table. The security cameras in a nightclub are used to watch the bartenders to make sure that liquor is being paid for and that no one but bar staff and cocktail servers are in designated areas. (other cameras are focused on entrances and exits, bathrooms, and FOH/BOH areas). Etc, Etc, Etc. Some cameras are fixed, some are not. “fixed” meaning that the angle and view of the camera cannot be changed. So in reality, you’re hoping that a camera is in the area you are. Seeing that it is, the officer and or surveillance will review the camera and see what happened, as well as track the individual’s current location in the casino, to see if he/she is bothering anyone else in a questionable manner. Once the tape is reviewed, the officer will tell you what was seen. If there is evidence that someone physically DID something to you or it’s blatantly obvious that something isn’t quite right, then you can choose to have the individual detained and to have charges pressed, you can ask that he/she be escorted out, or simply ask that he/she be removed from the gaming floor for the evening. You are notified when the decided task is completed, and permitted to continue on about your business. The officer is then required to write a full written report including any images, footage, or statements given by either individuals, the exact time, date, location, and even where the officer was patrolling when they were called to the “scene of the incident.” It’s always “what I observed when I arrived on scene” first, then the rest. this report is then logged for reference in the computer systems (usually ITRAK) systems, and is then available to ALL SISTER PROPERTIES immediately, in the off chance that the individual leaves and continues the same behavior at a sister property (ex: santa fe station and red rock station). If you do decide to press charges, providing that the evidence is sufficient enough (this usually occurs in sexual harassment cases, but most often in fights on the casino floor), then the individual is removed from the gaming floor and detained for police, who then file a separate report of their own with you and take it from there. AND, any report you are involved in directly, you can obtain a copy of, including your own statement for reference and/or documentation. If the incident goes to court, the officer and/or any witness may be called to stand for the duration of the trial.
This is done not only to protect you, but to protect the casino from having a lawsuit brought against them for “not protecting the interest of their guests.”
You go home, or go get drunk, or go cry to yourself about the incident, and everything is documented and taken care of.
If you choose not to do anything about it, then the officer(s) will still notify all others on duty of the description of the male/female in the event that someone matching that description is caught doing something suspicious or unwelcomed. A report will be filed containing all the information, and will be made available to all sister properties.
NOTE: Any incident reported, lost/found item, escort, money escort, break, or anything that an officer actually does and verbally calls in over the radio, is logged into a computer system with the date, time, and “zone” of the casino in which the action is occurring, as well as how long it takes the individual to complete said task. this system is used in order to assess what officers are free to take care of situations such as the elevator scandal, and to know where each officer is at what time in the casino, including calling in areas as “clear” of any problems or altercations.
So how does this relate to TAM?
Simple: If something happens, don’t bitch about what TAM staff isn’t doing, blame yourself for not reporting it to someone who has a responsibility to address the issue and furthermore gets PAID to take care of exactly that: your bullshit. Guess what, if you don’t report it, then no one knows, and no one can do anything to help you “feel safer.” But if you report it, the staff has an obligation to at the very least document the incident so that there is proof that it has been reported and addressed.
I have been to DEFCON several times. Again, all geeks, few females, etc. It is also held in Las Vegas every year, and ON the strip. They even have their own event security. But their security is not there to protect YOU. It’s there to protect THEM. The staff, the “private” space, and all the material items related to the CON. The only thing they will do is keep YOU out of THEIR restricted space, and maybe point you to the bathroom and comment you on your chuck’s, but what would I know? *snicker*
So maybe the next time someone gets harassed in an elevator, outside of the conference, on hotel property, they will actually report it to the security staff. Not the front desk, Not the internal maintenance people and not the individuals busting their asses to put on a good show for you. Do your part, report it. If i give you candy, and you don’t like it, your going to spit it out. Or are you really going to keep eating it and then publicly degrade me for giving you a less then favorable piece of candy, because clearly you like strawberry and all I had was a root beer barrell.
Don’t blame the staff of a conference for YOUR IGNORANCE. Don’t say THEY aren’t doing enough when YOU couldn’t even report it, especially if it has happened multiple times. Sexual harassment has nothing to do with TAM itself, regardless of whether it occurred there or not. It’s an issue PERIOD. It’s between the victim, offender, and the establishment that it occurs in, (the casino).
But then, If you HAD reported it, then you wouldn’t be getting this much publicity, would you?