The Buck Stops Where? 14-Year-Old Dies at New Mexico State Fair Rave

A 14-year-old girl dies tragically at a rave at the New Mexico State Fair replete with operational failures including non-existent security that did not check IDs or conduct pat down searches. Hannah Bruch’s father has reported to the Santa Fe New Mexican, that he believes that Hannah’s death may be related to the use of Ecstasy, which can cause the body temperature to escalate to fatal levels.

Ecstasy use is not exactly a secret at raves. It is so widely known that even the US Department of Justice has produced guidelines for ensuring the safety of minors at raves. “If there are to be raves for juveniles, they should be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that illegal drugs are not available to the juveniles.” Too bad New Mexico State Fair Manager Dan Mourning didn’t bother to read the materials. The operational failure that included a lack of security falls squarely on Mourning’s shoulders.

Yet, State Fair Manager Dan Mourning still has a job. He shouldn’t.

In Missouri, the head of the Missouri State Fair resigned because of the outcry over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask. Yet, in Governor Susana Martinez administration, a death of a young teenager produces no such accountability. Martinez eliminated oversight from the state fair by weakening the state fair commission because some commissioners opposed her rigging the bidding process for a lucrative racino contract that was predetermined to go to her contributors.

Martinez took away the state fair’s oversight of Mourning, believing that the state fair commission should rubber stamp her actions and not question operational problems, “and if they disagree with the Governor’s agenda, then, quite frankly, they should do the right, respectable thing and resign their post(s).”

The state fair commission has the statutory authority to select and oversee the state fair’s management. But, it was Susana Martinez’s top advisor, Jay McCleskey, who along with Darren White chose Dan Mourning for the job. Why?

Not for experience. Mourning managed a small and unimpressive restaurant before being tapped to run the state fair. Clearly, Mourning had no relevant experience.

However, Mourning was hired to ensure that the Dirty Downs deal made it through and Martinez’s contributors got the contract.

Martinez, a former prosecutor, has been silent about the death of a life just beginning. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Hannah, a high school sophomore, wanted to be a biologist.

Would Hannah Bruch still be alive if the state fair had been managed by a professional, rather than an administration crony willing to engage in bid rigging? Maybe.

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