I know that you’ll all be shocked to hear that I find myself in a weird, bizarre situation. I genuinely do not know how to think, feel, or act. I’m lost.
I am typing this thirty minutes before I head to the airport. I am going to Las Vegas. Forty-eight hours after the worst mass shooting in the history of the modern world.
I love Las Vegas. I love it because it could not be more different from my daily life. I love the people watching, the shops, the shows, and the slot machines. I love the bling, and the lights. I have never had a bad time in Las Vegas. It is Disney for adults.
I cannot wrap my head around the numbers. Currently 59 dead, another 33 at least critical, and close to 500 more wounded. Six hundred people. Thousands more traumatized. Children lost their parents, and parents lost their children. God help us all.
I am meeting friends in Vegas; dear, dear friends. We have been planning this for six months. Yesterday, as the body count increased, I had to decide whether or not to go. Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. To go to Vegas looking for a good time really seems morally reprehensible, doesn’t it? But to cancel, as I’m sure many people have, at least for this week, doesn’t help anyone at all. The people who work there, the taxi drivers, the bell hops, the waiters – they all still need to feed their kids. To go, but to plan to be somber and not enjoy myself seems pretty ridiculous too.
I want to be clear – I am not afraid to go. The likelihood of another tragedy happening there this week is pretty slim. I’m more likely to get run over by a car at my mailbox as I am to find myself in an active shooter situation.
What bothered me yesterday and kept me up last night is…what is the protocol for traveling to a city that is literally reeling? What is the etiquette for arriving two days after a mass execution? Is this a case where “everything needs to get back to normal as soon as possible?” It is an absolute, disgusting shame that our society is getting to the point that we need a manual on coping with human created bloodshed. But, there it is. Nothing in my life has taught me how to think, feel, or act in this situation.
I clicked on a “Vegas trying to get back to business” article today, just to get a feel for what was going on. I was briefly physically ill when I read that Mandalay Bay (where the shooter fired from) had reopened early Monday morning (not even 12 hours), and that it was slowing filling up. But then the realization – when would it have been appropriate to reopen? Twenty-four hours later? A week? A month? When does it become ok again to go to Vegas and have fun?
So, I’m going. I’m going to have to follow the lead of the people there, and if there issomething that I can do to help someone during this hideous time, I will do that.