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Why Is There No Law in Slab City

If my life ever turns completely crap and I manage to get on SSDI, I`d probably get my hands on an old bus and lug it there and just be a full-time crazy guy. Hit wood, it will never come to that! However, emergency services in surrounding cities will respond to emergencies in Slab City. The town of Perma-Burning Man was once a U.S. Navy camp. However, the abandoned land, located about 140 miles east of San Diego, is now a refuge for lawlessness. No one pays rent. No one enforces the rules. That evening, there was a concert in the Range, the famous open stage in the middle. We had passed earlier that day on our way in, but we hadn`t even noticed.

At night, it comes alive, with mainly local artists, but also one or another well-known group here and there. Local bands played that night. Some good, some not so good, some absolutely terrible. But that wasn`t the goal, it was the small audience that supported all those who dared to get on this stage and perform. You drink your beer, smoke your stuff and applaud. Always. As I sat on one of these wooden benches, I wondered what it was like in winter with thousands of people. Under the unforgiving sun of the Colorado desert in Southern California lies Slab City, a community of squatters, artists, snowbirds, migrants, survivalists and homeless people. Described by some as the “last free place” and by others as an “enclave of anarchy,” Slab City is also the end of the street for many.

Without electricity, running water, sewage or garbage collection, the people of Slab City live without law enforcement, taxes or administration. Built on the concrete slabs of Camp Dunlap, an abandoned naval training base, the colony maintains its off-grid aspirations within the remaining military boundaries and the site`s gridded layout. The off-grid is really in the network. In this book, architect Charlie Hailey and photographer Donovan Wylie explore the contradictions of Slab City. I`ve never been there, but there was a Reddit thread a while ago where a guy decided to go and people tried to steal his stuff and he was chased by people. So yes, there is crime in Slab City and I`m sure there are people who have done bad things in their lives. But did you feel unsafe? For me, that wasn`t the case for the short time we were there. In the words of a longtime slabber: Hailey: Since Slab City was a relatively large military facility, I`m impressed with the size of the infrastructure.

Although it no longer functions as a base, the infrastructure of a functional city is still there – or at least some of the remnants – and yet it is completely off-grid in almost every aspect of services, but [the layout] is a grid. Ultimately, the plates themselves are the autonomous infrastructure that gave it its name. We were fascinated by the idea of concrete on sand. Concrete is architecturally durable, and yet [the slabs] float on the sand. These are really invitations to the Rules of Procedure. They provide a floor and add some stability to an incredibly ephemeral place. Here is another accidental discovery in the city. I think that really sums up how you can do almost anything you want here. It`s an amazing place for artists to make art for art`s sake.

Like any city, it has its problems, but for the most part, slabbers live and let live. Slab City is unlike any other city in the United States. Its residents — a term loosely used to describe a group of people who have little in common other than their physical location in Slab City — call it “the last free place in America.” Outsiders may ask, “What is Slab City?” Slab City residents live on the former military site in their tents, cars, buses and RVs. And now, Slab City`s freedoms are threatened not only by criminals who exploit the city`s lawlessness, but also by the fact that California wants to sell Slab City and threatens nomads and homeless people who have found a home in the often hot and beautiful scorched garbage city without rules. After spending 24 hours in Slab City, I felt inspired, educated, and happy to have finally seen this place. And even though I`ll probably never live there, one winter day I`ll be back and who knows, maybe next time I`ll stay at least a little longer. We didn`t intend to interview the residents, we were really interested in the boundaries and structures and how and why Slab City was made. It`s not that we didn`t want to talk to them, but it wasn`t our explicit goal. It was interesting to have informal conversations with residents, but we were mostly ignored. Some people thought we were from the county and doing surveys, and others were not necessarily happy with our presence.

There has been a whole series of reactions. To be honest, when I was there, I was fascinated by everything. I loved the idea of just being able to build a house there. A place you can create on your own, that doesn`t have to follow rules and regulations. Although I`m not an artist, I`ve always been drawn to the creative side, and seeing what some people have built has really inspired me. But on the other hand, do I really want to live in the middle of the desert? Could I even do it since I come from another country? Shortly after we left, I realized that while there`s something magical about this place, it`s probably not for me. But it inspired me to one day live in a community with like-minded people, where you grow up together, share and build a life away from big cities and social rules. Other posters talked about it.

As far as I know, it is more of a commune than anything else. On the contrary, some degree of self-regulation is likely to occur on the idea that if something really ugly fell, “the law” would interfere (which nobody wants there). I recently saw Into the Wild and they visited this place and the nearby Salvation Mountain. Looks like it`s full of hippies and hikers. District or state police would go there if a significant crime was reported. Approximately 150 permanent residents who live in “The Slabs” year-round. Some of these “slabbers” derive their livelihoods from government programs and have been pushed by poverty to “The Slads”. Others moved to “The Slabs” to learn how to live off the grid and be left alone. Still others have moved there to stretch their retirement income. Drug use is completely tolerated. That`s ok. But remember, among the junkies who are there, few of them work or have money, and therefore theft and theft are common.

Rich Snowbirds all tend to smoke pot. Money in general is not a big deal in Slab City. Most people don`t have money. They have meal vouchers and rely on sharing and bartering within the community. But that doesn`t mean everyone in Slab City is poor. We were told about a European veterinarian who has lived there for years.

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