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Forums > Social Discussion > Dangerous Stunts and Youngin's

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Quick backstory...there is a 14 year old born into a family of Sideshow owners. He shows up at a convention of professionals and starts mimicking the stunts. Granny looks on with pride. People tell him "You know you can die from this?" His response..."So?"
He is not a performer, he is a show off. He has no clue of his own mortality, and because of his age, he shouldn't. However, the things the kid is tackling are far more dangerous than poi, and one of these (fire breathing) killed a 14 year old last year. He says "Yeah, well, he wasn't me."

Now I find out that he has been scheduled to perform at a showcase of professionals. I have been talking with alot of the other performers and even a documentarian scheduled to be there and they are all pissed. We feel it is wrong on many levels....
1) He is not a performer
2) If this were anyone else's child s/he would not be allowed to perform
3) The things he is planning on doing are really deadly, even for adults. To showcase a child doing such things, we feel, displays a lack of responsible presentation. What message is that sending to the audience, who does not know the family heritage?
4) He is not professional, nor does he act professionally on the stage, and so to be part of a professional showcase, we feel, is insulting.
5) If something goes wrong, and it in anyway effects the boy, then it will reflect on us all because we know the dangers and didn't do anything. I really can't stand the trickle down theory as it applies to performance/stunt accidents, but it is a fact. Can't be helped.

Now, if this were an amatuer showcase, I would have no problems, except for the obvious danger reasons. Then again, I have issues with anyone under 16 juggling fire and machete's..but that is a topic for another day.

So...what do ya'all think? AND how should we, the performers, approach this to the organizer? He is a great guy who is a tremendous asset to the community and we don't want to make him feel as if he has done anything wrong by booking the boy, we just want to bring to light the issues we have.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX

Total posts: 2014
Posted:I'd arrange a meeting with the organizer and several of the performers who have concerns about the child. I'd focus on what you said in your post. By expressing your concerns, you are not saying he made a bad decision, just showing him there may be issues he did not think of.

Did you have to audition to be in this showcase?

If so, you might ask him what he thought about the boys performance and why he was so interested in booking him.

If not, you could possibly have him require everyone to audition to perhaps show him why you thought the boy didn't quite live up to the standards of his professional showcase.

Good luck to you and this sticky situation. hug


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Burzaruka


enthusiast


Total posts: 233
Posted:A child he may be, but I am sure he knows of his own mortality. Yes he is cockey, perhaps he is also skilled enough to do some of the tricks. It would be very hard to grow up in America today especially at his age and not know how frail the human existance is.

Quote:
and one of these (fire breathing) killed a 14 year old last year.



Pele I have read your "Season in Hell" and it occours to me that you almost died due to a fire breathing mishap, does age really matter?

Quote:
4) He is not professional, nor does he act professionally on the stage, and so to be part of a professional showcase, we feel, is insulting.



This is your opinoin, Dennis Rodman, a professional basketball player... does he really act professional? Yet he plays (and makes a killing at it as well). Mike Tyson, do I really have to go into detail on him? Yet he is a professional boxer. Point being, your oppinoin of this child should not be brought against him. Horse Jumping (or whatever it is really called) a sport practised by many young people is still very dangerous and a fall can very easily be leathal or dehabilitating. It doesnt mean that a child shouldnt do it.

Quote:
3) The things he is planning on doing are really deadly, even for adults. To showcase a child doing such things, we feel, displays a lack of responsible presentation. What message is that sending to the audience, who does not know the family heritage?



Once again I turn to your own story about fire breathing, if it is dangerous for anyone to do a stunt, is it not a lack of responsible presentation to showcase such event?

Quote:
5) If something goes wrong, and it in anyway effects the boy, then it will reflect on us all because we know the dangers and didn't do anything. I really can't stand the trickle down theory as it applies to performance/stunt accidents, but it is a fact. Can't be helped.




Personally I feel that this is the only lagitamate reason to bring anything up to the organiser. I think that you should avoid personal feelings and opinoins when dealing with this situation. Voice your concerns but don't do it in such a way that will cast the child in a bad light, or even children preformers, professional or not.

This is just my little opinion and I know that I am so far away from being pro or ever doing a show but perhaps a differnt view point might help you a bit. smile


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted:
How about printing off what you wrote above, getting those performers who agree with it to sign it, and give it to the organiser?

What you say makes sense, you say the organiser is a decent guy- I don't see why he should be offended.

I think that a lot of people simply don't realise the dangers of these kind of activities, here on HOP there's been a lot of discussion so we have an advantage, but most people out there have no conception of how many have been damaged by dangerous fire acts.

He might be grateful for the insight, it's certainly not in his best interests to have the kid mess up at his event.

Also, seeing as the young one is not responding to reason, maybe being excluded from the show on the grounds of being unprofessional and arrogant, could get him to reflect on his attitude, which would serve him well in the future.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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MillenniuM
GOLD Member since Jul 2003

MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck


Total posts: 595
Posted:You make many great points, but keep in mind, Pele's "Season of Hell" is an account of a very careful fire performer who knows all of the risks associated with fire breathing still having something go wrong. This boy is obviously someone who has no idea what the risks are, probably (I'm only assuming here, don't bite me) doesn't have proper form or know a good amount of tips not to hurt himself, and sets a bad example to other kids.

When Dennis Rodman plays basketball, it isn't assumed by the general public that all basketball players act the same way he does. Unfortunately, the same is not true for fire performers. Finding a gig in the US is *MUCH* harder than it was a few years ago after the Great White incident. The boy and his parents are the one that should take responsibility for HiS health, but since the rest of us are in danger of losing credibility as well, it becomes more of an issue.

Pele, if I were you, I'd call the fire department and ask them to investigate. I doubt a 14 year old boy has fire performer's insurance, I can't think of any company that would provide it to such a young minor. If that doesn't work, might you want to call child protection services? I mean, this kid is in danger, you really might want to help him.

Before all that you should obviously speak with his parents about the issue. No need to make a drastic situation out of something that could be solved simply by a 5 minute chat.


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Burzaruka


enthusiast


Total posts: 233
Posted:Ohh MillenniuM has a very good point with the insurance thing.

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Dom
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:A child doing stunts that normally only adults do is a gimic, and so books. But it's not safe and there are laws to stop children doing more obvious unsafe things.



So you probably should approach the organiser with your concerns because I think they're valid. Approaching any reasonably person openly and honestly should not be a problem or affect your professional relationship with them.



Also to respond to Burzaruka

1 - does age really matter? - The law says yes when it comes to making potentially harmful life choices (smoking, drinking, driving, sex, marriage, etc...)

2 - The child is not a professional performer and if that is so it means he does act like a professional on stage, so he shouldn't be in a pro event. Dennis Rodman acts like a professional basketball player on court, doesn't matter how is off court.


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:There are so many things on here that help, thank you.

I had not concidered the insurance or the child protective services. Thank you for those suggestions.

For the record, these are not just fire stunts he is doing but also others that are far more dangerous (sword swallowing, for an example).

14 year olds tend to not have a sense of mortality in the way that an adult does. The 14 year old who died last year was on his first try of fire breathing under the supervision of a professional. I had done it literally thousands of times. Part of the reason I recovered I was told was because I had extremely developed lungs from years of breathing exercises related to other things I do. No 14 year old has that. For that I will say, I had a definate advantage. My article, if anything, is in support of why he SHOULD NOT be able to do this.

I have to say the parents are his biggest supporters and fans, as they themselves were brought up in the stunt business and his grandparents were respected show owners. But they are also notoriously unsafe in their practices, which is why I said, if it were anyone else...the child would be turned away but because of parentage, the show organizer thought it was alright. Approaching his mother would do no good at all.

And B. comparing stunt performers to athletes in a professional capacity is apples to oranges. The day I hear that a basketball player stand in the middle of the court and say "Don't try this at home because it will kill you." I will accept the comparison. Until then, what we do requires a protocal on the stage, strict safety measures and an approach that this child doesn't care to learn. He is not a professional, he is not a performer and he should not take the stage....

And as for my not allowing my opinion to sway whether or not he should perform, please read what I said. It is not only my opinion, but many others, and is backed up by alot of fact...therefore it has every validity in getting him safely off the stage. If he sets fire to the stage, if he punctures his esophogeal tract, if he chokes on something every freakin' newscaster in a 100 mile radius will be there fawning over this "Poor Baby Story" with a "Why didn't anyone stop him?" attitude and it will make it even harder for the rest of us to get work...again. We have to protect ourselves.

And B. for the record, I won't even teach anyone under the age 18 and even they need to sign a liability/indemnification waiver. It's all a part of safety and that is something I am extremely hardarsed about.

Thanks all for the thoughts and opinions. The insurance and CPS is especially helpful!
I will keep you posted as to what happens.
Kindest Regards,
Pele


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:You can send some photos and an unsigned letter to CPS. Heck, you could probably even get some promo material and then send that.

Of course, CPS can only legally act after the child is dead and the news has run more than one story on the dead child. wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Burzaruka


enthusiast


Total posts: 233
Posted:I had no idea you were talking sword swallowing! Yeah I totally retract all statments about how age shouldnt matter about doing something a bit dangerous. As far as Dom's reply, the law does give parents the power to grant a minor permission to do danterous activities, horse back riding, martial arts, football (US type) wrestling and the list goes on.

If the child doesnt care to learn about the safty requierments of preforming then he shouldnt do it. Even a basketball player streatches before each game, sure in a way they are apples and oranges, but safty is safty no matter what you are doing.

I agree that you have to protect yourself, as a preformer that uses this as a means of making a livlyhood, you have to watch the whole area of your world. And you have to protect it. I am all well and good with that, my only intent was that [ I think ] it should be done in such a way that would encourge the child to continue learning their art, but not going 100% yet. Very much like practice poi, though I dont know of a way to do sword swallowing in such a way.


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MillenniuM
GOLD Member since Jul 2003

MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck


Total posts: 595
Posted:Glad I could help... this kind of stuff effects ALL spinners. Although I'm only 16, I realize that I'm young and stupid and foolhardy at times and haven't gotten in to any fire arts further than poi and staff. I find them relatively safe, as compared to samoan fire knives, fire breathing, and fire eating/tracing. I will when I'm older and understand my limitations a bit more, and have developed a greater sense of fear that I currently don't have. I suppose the only difference between myself and that 14 year old making the bad decisions is 2 years an understanding of the words "limitations" and "later".

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands

Total posts: 7263
Posted:I think enough advice has been posted about presenting your opinions to the organisers but if all fails I think you should do the only reasonable thing (presuming he's actually not as skilled as he needs to be to be safe regardless of attitude before/after the performance) to suit your true feelings and protest with your feet....publicly!
Refuse to perform.
Ensure it's recorded (although I guess this threads doin that job!) and don't do it if he's doing it. If the organiser won't listen that may be the last thing available. Of course I hope it doesn't have to come to this.


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Reading through i'm a bit confused...is the problem purely his age, or are you concerned about unprofessional or dangerous behaviour?

i'm really confused by your statement he "isn't a performer". What do you mean by that?

And i think he may well have a point in saying that he isn't dead yet, seeing as he's probably been practising and performing this stuff for quite a while. If there are safety issues about his performance what are they exactly? You haven't stated anything about him that makes me think he is any different to any other performer, except his age.

if the problem is purely his age, and his family and the organiser are both happy that he is competent, then however much you or others may disapprove you must accept that your subjective opinion that he is "too young" is irrelevant.

We don't live in a society where we can stop people from doing things just because we don't like it, unless they are breaking specific laws. Admittedly that doesn't always apply to minors, but in this case he has parental backing.

The possibility that he could damage the reputation of your profession if he hurts himself is nowhere near being reasonable grounds for stopping him.

The only legitimate reason i can see for stopping him is if he is performing in a way that unacceptably endangers the safety of his audience.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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MillenniuM
GOLD Member since Jul 2003

MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck


Total posts: 595
Posted:Simian, part of the problem might just be his attitude about the whole thing. From what I've read it seems like he's doing it to show how much of a tough guy he is. That's not the right attitude for a performer. I'd write more but I have to go to the beach for a fire spin weavesmiley

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Burzaruka


enthusiast


Total posts: 233
Posted:Attitudes towards safty are very important. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. (wow one of those lame posters they hung up all over school actually came in handy... trippy)

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Quote:
I had no idea you were talking sword swallowing! Yeah I totally retract all statments about how age shouldnt matter about doing something a bit dangerous



Ok, but breathing fire is OK?

So let's talk about posterior mediastinitis for a moment:

The risk from sword swallowing is rupturing the esophagus, which can spill bacteria into the chest cavity. The center of the chest is called the "mediastinum" (meed-ee-uh-stine-uhm). This is the region bordered by the sternum in front, the lungs to the sides, the diaphragm to the bottom, and the vertebral column (the spine) in back.

The mediastinum is important because a number of very important structures pass through it.

These structures include:
-The great vessels
a) the superior vena cava, which carries all blood from above the heart back to the heart
b) the inferior vena cava, which carries all the rest of the blood from the body back to the heart
c) the pulmonary arteries and veins, which carry all the blood from the heart to the lungs and back.
d) the aorta, which is the main artery coming off the heart. The aorta carries 100% of the blood that the heart pumps...and under high pressure.
(Note, the blood flow through the pulmonary arteries and veins is equal to the flow through the aorta, but the pressure is lower)

-The esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach)
-The trachea (the windpipe)
-The heart (which most people agree is a pretty important organ)

When the esophagus is ruptured (by, say, sword swalloing), bacteria from the esophagus spill into the mediastinum, which causes a condition called mediastinitis. I forget the exact numbers, but the mortality is worse than 50%. Without very high-dose antibiotics the mortality is essentially 100%.

Those HUGE blood vessels are carrying a liter of blood per minute. If you get an abscess back there that eats through one of them, you die. Quickly. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it because there's no way to have you on an operating table with your chest open within the 2-3 minutes that it will take you to die. And although I've never bled to death by rupturing a great vessel into my mediastinum, I can't imagine the last few moments of consciousness are very pleasant. Especially the futile attempt to rescussitate you, where they break your ribs while doing chest compressions.

Now, is sword swallowing more dangerous than fire breathing? I have no idea. But the mortality of ARDS (see my thread about "firebreather's lung") is about 50%, as well.

Badness, folks. Supreme badness. frown


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Oh, one more thing:

The left atrium of the heart, which is a pretty delicate structure, lies against the esophagus. So if you manage to rupture the esophagus with a sword in just the right spot, you won't get posterior mediastinitis.

Instead, you'll also rupture the left atrium, which is handling about a liter of blood a minute (same as the rest of the central cardiovascular system) and bleed out into your esophagus. Again, death in 2-3 minutes. And there's not much that can be done to fix that problem, either.

Oh! And I just thought of another thing! If the sword goes forward, rather than backwards, then it can rupture the esophagus and poke into the trachea, which spills all sorts of nastiness into both the trachea and the mediastinum. So now you get a severe bacterial pneumonia (ARDS) and mediastinitis.

I don't know that such a case has ever been reported, but I can't imagine that the mortality from such a combo would be less than 90%.

And, of course, the aorta runs right next to the esophagus starting at the level of the 5th thoracic vertebra. There's another structure you can nick. We already talked about what happens if you make that mistake.

I'm sitting here with an anatomy textbook open in front of me. I'm almost having fun thinking up the nasty situations that you can get into with sword swallowing. eek

Now, all this is very rare. In fact, only one case of esophageal perforation in a sword swallower has been reported ( Case report) and that patient did quite well.

But again... badness.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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BurningByron


member
Location: Australia

Total posts: 340
Posted:This was taken out of the above case report...

Quote:
He had no chronic medical disorders. His past surgical history included a laparotomy in 1995 to remove glass fragments from his stomach after he had swallowed a light bulb as part of his circus act. He also reported a history of multiple extremity fractures requiring orthopedic repair, including a fracture of his right humerus that he had sustained after being mauled by a circus elephant.




hehehe


HOW TO FLY 101:
step 1. Throw your self at the ground.
step 2. Miss.

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GottaLoveIt


GottaLoveIt

Sponge
Location: Stevenage

Total posts: 883
Posted:If you feel that strongly about it you should definately speak to the organiser.
If you're friends or like/respect him enough take him out for a drink and have a chat, a petition might insult him (It would insult me) so I'd save that as a last resort if he doesn't get your point and empathise show him the support you have.

I see your point as a performer and wish you luck. I hope the boy/guy keeps safe


Monkeys monkeys and bananas

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MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG

Total posts: 3415
Posted:This is another of many points where age isnt a number, its a sum of life experience. Given that this lad was born into a family of performers, i'd say that he's been doing this sort of thing for a fair while. If that's the case, then i think it would be fair to say that he's had more experience than, say, a 25 year old that says 'hey, can i try that firebreathing thing you do?' (that happened to me last night. I left the house, and took my kero with me. I've aspirated all of three times, not long after reading the 'season of hell' on here, which sure as hell is not enough experience to teach someone to do it properly.)

Only recently, however, after reading around on here a fair bit, has the danger really sunk in. I dont doubt that i will firebreathe again, but i will be a lot more careful when i do it again.

Now, me, im 17, been spinning for about three weeks now, and lit up twice. As i said, ive firebreathed a total of three times, and will almost definitely do it again.

harumph. gotta get this away from talking about me.

I suppose the point im trying to get at is that maybe this performer has done it enough times to be confident in doing so. I might very well get flamed for this, but perhaps a small accident, certainly nothing so bad as a blowback or ASDS, but a small, light injury would make him think 'hey, i can get hurt doing this. there is the chance that it could get a lot worse.' It might not, though.

Everything we do in life is a risk. i could firebreathe hundreds, or thousands of times with no problems, then cross the road and get cleaned up by a truck. Same thing could happen to that young lad. Certainly, firebreathing, swordswallowing, and juggling chainsaws isnt safe. Its a risk that you take every time you step out on stage. Nothing, however, in this world is without risk. More people per year die of having a bath than do travelling on commercial airliners, yet almost no-one has qualms about taking a bath.

At the end of the day, the choice is up to the performer. If that performer is unable to make that decision responsibly, then it is up to the person that is responsible for that performer.

Unfortunately, its the rest of us that get tarred if he screws up.


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Quote:
I suppose the point im trying to get at is that maybe this performer has done it enough times to be confident in doing so. I might very well get flamed for this, but perhaps a small accident, certainly nothing so bad as a blowback or ASDS, but a small, light injury would make him think 'hey, i can get hurt doing this. there is the chance that it could get a lot worse.' It might not, though.




There's competence, confidence, and youthful cockiness.

I know 16-year-olds who are more mature than some of the 30-year-olds I know. But I also know 16-year-olds who are not nearly mature enough to be driving a car, in spite of what the law says they can do.

If you are truly educated on the dangers of firebreathing, then go right ahead. But I can't imagine that anyone, knowing what I know or what Pele knows (and I think that the two of us are the most knowledgable about the subject...she far more than I), would ever decide to breathe fire.

Ultimately, it's not my problem. It's yours.



-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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