Random Thoughts About Las Vegas Mass Shooting from a Local

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This is the first time I’ve written anything at-length publicly about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I wrote something to a close friend from high school today. She encouraged it out of me and it felt good to release the emotion. I thought that publishing a blog post on it would also help me, as well as others.

I was at Plaza when I found out about the attack. I check Twitter from time to time while I’m out. I was interacting with followers after the Colts blew a huge ATS lead on Sunday Night Football.

My Twitter feed started to show concerns about what was going on at Mandalay Bay around 10:20pm. This was through retweets from accounts I didn’t recognize so I thought little of it. It was not long before credible sources started confirming the report of a mass shooting that was still active.

I decided that Plaza needed to be aware of the situation. I found the slot supervisor and told her. She alerted the security staff. They were apparently finding out about it at the same time.

I texted my wife at home and asked her to turn on local news around 10:30pm. This was about the time that there was no doubt that something catastrophic happened on the south end of the Strip. The reports were still vague at that time.

Should I stay or should I go?

My wife and I talked and we decided that at this point it was probably best for me to stay put. We didn’t know the magnitude of what happened and it seemed driving home when it was clear that emergency vehicles would be everywhere seemed like a hindrance to the situation.

During the next hour or so, Twitter was full of false information. There were tweets about multiple shooters at different Strip resorts and downtown. This all turned out to be inaccurate.

It was hard to determine what was real and what was false in the panic. I saw little value in hanging out in a downtown casino. At the same time, my wife asked that I come home, and I did. The number of patrons on the Plaza casino floor had noticeably decreased, and security seemed more involved. That may have just been the hour though.

I got to the parking deck gate at Plaza and the security guard alerted me to fact that the Strip was closed at Stratosphere. I told him I was a local headed to Summerlin and that ended the discussion.

I took Bonneville to MLK. There is a police precinct near that intersection. Emergency vehicles were flying down MLK. I went north towards US 95 and more were coming off the highway. Some included military-looking vehicles, which may have been SWAT. Many of these vehicles were unmarked. I believe the interstate was closed at this point so this may have been the quickest way to get to the Strip.

Many Las Vegas radio stations were streaming audio from local news on my way home. It sounded worse than even the grim early reports, but official numbers at that time were that only two people died. Witness after witness described this number as too low.

I got home and gave my wife a hug and kiss. We had a drink and watched the horrifying news for a while. She is a school teacher that gets up about 5:30am. She decided to get a few hours of sleep around 2am.

We did not know if there would be school the next day and she wanted to prepare, even though she was obviously shaken by the attack, just as I was. CCSD ended up having school. All absences were considered excused.

I could not sleep. I stayed up all night. My wife awakened in the morning hoping that it was all a bad dream. Sadly, it wasn’t.

We wanted to tell our children about the massacre before school. We felt that it was important that they absorb it at home, not to mention that the whole thing sounded unbelievable. We didn’t want them to think it was a hoax when told by a friend at school.

Both of our kids, aged 11 and 18, showed little emotion. I worried that it was because such a thing has become too normal.

I took a short nap around 9am and woke up around noon. Getting back to sleep was impossible.

It hit the older child later in the day. He is a high school senior. He said that his school has been lethargic and speechless the last two days.

I was finally able to sleep last night. I got a full night’s rest.

The last two days seem like a week, maybe even a month. It’s been emotional. It’s incomprehensible that this could have ever happened. Tourists come here to forget about the world’s troubles, not be a part of it.

Locals live here because of all the great things the city offers. We’re proud of our town. It feels like everyone knows each other. It may be the largest small town in the world.

This was an attack on all of us. We’ve cried. We’ve comforted others. There were so many volunteers for blood and supplies that they are being turned away.

Resorts opened their hotel rooms up to those affected. Airlines offered free flights and waived cancellation and rebooking fees.

Several casino companies put up $1 million or more. An anonymous individual donated $500,000. A local GoFundMe has generated more than $4 million. The goal keeps increasing.

Special recognition deserved for emergency workers

There is no training in the world that can completely prepare someone for the emergency that our local police, fire and medical professionals rushed to on Sunday night. They put their lives on the line at the scene of the shootings, as well as the hotel room where the murdered died. There are no words that can show the level of gratitude we have for them. The entire city feels this way. They saved lives.

No amount of time can remove the memory of the chaos of blood and gore those first responders witnessed. Many of these public servants put in 18 to 24-hour days in grim circumstances. They deserve a mountain of recognition for all their hard work. They probably need someone to talk to now about the last two days.

Write about your feelings

I find that writing is therapeutic. Las Vegas is full of emotion due to the violence. There’s no reason to keep it in. If you don’t know anyone here to talk to, write to me. I will consider anything you send me to be confidential unless you explicitly say otherwise. I promise I won’t share it on any level, even anonymously.

I’m sure we can relate in some ways and can learn in others. Email me at johnmehaffeylv@gmail.com if you need to share what’s going on in your head. Send it from an anonymous email address if you need.

Las Vegas media covered event flawlessly and responsibly, with one exception

Las Vegas media outlets covered the attack on a high level. Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Rachel Crosby pulled an all-nighter to get accurate information to readers. She had sources that gave her credible data before it was official.

Crosby wasn’t the only Review-Journal reporter that worked hard on this story. The newspaper should be proud of all its coverage. They did a fine job.

Local TV stations also proved that they are reliable when the time is needed for extensive coverage. They stayed on live overnight into Monday morning and well into the next day. Extended coverage is still ongoing. They were very careful about not spreading unconfirmed reports amid the hysteria. All showed how human they were with emotional discussions.

Now to the media loser of the group

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Wayne Allyn Root reported some of the most racist, misinformed garbage of the night. While Las Vegans were trying to determine if they were safe, Root tweeted trash like this:

Shooting victims everywhere. Shots fired at Mandalay, Trop, Bellagio, NYNY, Luxor, Hooters, Stratosphere. This is real thing. Muslim terror.

False statements like this are what get people trampled or falsely accused of crimes by vigilantes. This could have very well put people in these resorts in danger. That was not his only repugnant conspiracy theory nonsense in the hours after the attack, all of which was quickly debunked by officials.

Washington Post article about the Review-Journal coverage

An article in the Washington Post shows what went into the covering of the attack at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It is a positive story for the news organization. One that’s well deserved for this coverage.

It also notes that Editor in Chief Keith Moyer didn’t seem to like Root’s comments. The article states that he “distanced his news staff” from Root’s comments.

We’ll see if the Review-Journal ever prints another word of Root’s again. They shouldn’t. If they do, I’ll consider that an endorsement of his behavior. Las Vegas deserves better than giving someone like that any credibility.

 

John
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