It's Sunday night and I wake up to nurse our newborn many times during the night. My husband's phone keeps buzzing and I wonder why he has the news notifications on, or who is trying to reach him. When he wakes up in the morning I hear cursing. Our close relatives have been in the mass shooting at Las Vegas, where 59 people died on October 1st, 2017, and 489 got wounded. They had sent some group texts to the family to let everyone know that they are ok, and what had happened. Everyone is shocked. Las Vegas will never be the same for us.
I visited Las Vegas for the first time two months after I had met my husband. We drove there with our friends to celebrate New Years. Las Vegas is a very strange city. It is in the middle of nowhere, in a desert, but everyone around the world knows about it. It is unreal with its themed hotels, world class shows and casinos. Everyone knows that you can get married in Vegas by Elvis or just use the drive thru. Everyone has seen the Las Vegas sign which is at the beginning of the Strip, the main street. It welcomes people to this party town, and everyone of course likes to joke that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!"
Part of the attractions of Las Vegas are the hotels. They are all different, and each one is stranger than the next. The shooter was at the Mandalay Bay hotel where he could see straight to the concert area, but he never had to go through the strict security required at the concert. Right after this incident, people started talking about hotel safety and whether we should have a security check when checking into a hotel. Doing that would be extremely expensive and time consuming; not only in Vegas but all over the world. And how inconvenient it would be for the customers. Recent years have not been kind to Las Vegas businesses, and this of course, wont help.
Last year only, about 43 million tourists visited Las Vegas, and about 100 000 people were working in tourism. So this city lives by the travel industry. Among the gamblers, there are a lot of regular tourists who visit Las Vegas, and many companies organize conferences and meetings there. And of course there are the wedding couples and wedding parties. I even have few friends who have gotten married in Las Vegas. We will see how all this will be affected by recent events. At least casino stocks were going down right after the shooting.
For those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas has always been a party place for birthdays, bachelor parties or getaway -weekends. It is only an hour flight away, so it is an easy destination even for a shorter trip. However, if I was there at the moment, I don't think I would be in a partying mood. We will see how fast people forget the tragedy and return to "sin city". Before that, there is a lot of healing to be done in Vegas. We are so grateful that our family is fine, and at the same time extremely sad, that not everybody was as lucky as us.