Despite What Happened, I Still Intend to Go to Las Vegas

In what is being considered one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, at least 59 people are dead and 527 more people sustained injuries after Stephen Paddock — who was 64 years of age — launched rampant consecutive rounds of gunfire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas hotel last night.

Despite What Happened, I Still Intend to Go to Las Vegas

When I first heard the news of the massacre which occurred just after Jason Aldean — a country music singer who hails from Macon in Georgia — took the stage and started performing one of his songs at the Route 91 Harvest Festival diagonally across Las Vegas Boulevard, never did the thought come to my mind that I should change my plans; nor did I experience any fear.

Tropicana Road in Las Vegas

This is Tropicana Road in Las Vegas, looking towards the east — just north of where the massacre occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

I walked past that spot back in September of 2014 multiple times. No, the music festival was nowhere near anything resembling a Route 91. Knives, sticks, bats, clubs, box cutters, razors or weapons of any kind are amongst the plethora of items which were not allowed to be brought by attendees to the sold-out event, which was cranking up on the last of three days in the open desert air — but that did not stop Paddock from concocting what can only be described as a premeditated plan to wreak havoc, cause mayhem…

…and kill innocent people.

Paddock had to scope out where to carry out his nefarious plan. He needed weapons — at least 20 rifles, two of which were mounted on tripods — and hundreds of rounds of ammunition which would be powerful enough to reach their intended victims. He timed his actions precisely to coincide with when thousands of people would congregate in one area to enjoy a night of country music and have a good time. He even broke holes through two windows of the room so that he would have clear shots at his targets.

The fun for members of the crowd, however, quickly morphed into panic; the thousands of people who thought they heard fireworks suddenly trampled over each other in attempting to escape what they realized was actually relentless gunfire when the music abruptly stopped.

The Mandalay Bay Las Vegas hotel property was still on partial lockdown through Monday morning, October 2, 2017 — leaving shaken guests stranded in the hotel.

As for Paddock: the resident of Mesquite — a town located in Nevada near the border with Arizona — killed himself before police and special weapons and tactics teams arrived at his room.

Travel Waivers

Airlines are currently offering travel waivers as a result of this incident. If you have a flight scheduled, you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are eight airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of the incident in Las Vegas:

  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Friday, October 6, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Friday, October 6, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Friday, October 6, 2017; and Friday, October 13, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Alaska Airlines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Sunday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Sunday, October 8, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Saturday, October 7, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Friday, October 6, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Sun Country Airlines has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas for Monday, October 2, 2017 through Tuesday, October 3, 2017; and Friday, October 6, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Allegiant Air has issued a travel alert for Las Vegas with which the airline will reacommodate Las Vegas travelers upon request without change fees throughout the week. For assistance, please contact Customer Care at 702-505-8888.

Summary

There is already talk on ways with which the lodging industry can increase security to prevent a similar occurrence from happening ever again — but although the risks could always be mitigated, I am doubtful that they can be eliminated in what is considered to be a free society. I personally do not believe that security measures similar to those enforced by the Transportation Security Administration would serve any useful purpose; and I simply do not support the establishment of body scanners to screen any guests or visitors — such as the ones I have seen at hotels such as the Hilton Nairobi.

For only the second time in my life, I actually want to go to Las Vegas; and I plan to be there soon — and not because I want to gamble or take in a show. I already have meetings scheduled for conducting business…

…but the reasons are now because I want to show that I am not afraid to travel despite the actions of some lunatic, as I have repeatedly said in the past that I refuse to allow terrorism and violence to deter me from traveling — and because I want to show support and solidarity for the victims and their families, friends and colleagues of this senseless tragedy, as my thoughts and prayers are with them.

All photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Despite What Happened, I Still Intend to Go to Las Vegas”

  1. Bill says:

    Yes, and there was an accident on the freeway today, yet I intend to drive to work in the morning.
    This was a horrific event and my heart goes out to those effected, and their friends and family, but your post stating “I want to show that I am not afraid to travel despite the actions of some lunatic” seems a bit much.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Your comment has only proven a point which I have been discussing for years in past articles, Bill — here is the latest one from August 30, 2017…

      http://thegate.boardingarea.com/your-odds-of-dying-in-an-airplane-crash-revisited/

      …and we are actually in agreement.

      People generally fear traveling when an incident such as this happens — Las Vegas, Orlando, Barcelona as three of many examples — but typically do not think twice about stepping into a car; and that is despite the fact that the odds of being killed in an automobile accident are significantly greater than being killed in a massacre…

      …and the intense attention of the media only seems to exacerbate this issue.

      Now THAT seems a bit much, don’t you think?!?

  2. Bill says:

    Apologies, I had no intention of proving your point. I could have just as well said it rained last week, but I still intend to go outside.
    My point is that there is virtually zero risk in you going to Las Vegas and becoming a victim of a madman firing from the Mandalay, or any other hotel, but your post comes across as you thinking your trip is some act of courage and solidarity.
    I made a reservation for this November at The Cotton Hotel in Barcelona many months ago (thank you Marriott points and miles) and while it is three blocks from Las Ramblas, I didn’t cancel my reservation after the horrible attack, but I don’t consider that an act of courage or a show of solidarity.
    To do so would be, in my opinion, a bit much.

  3. DaninMCI says:

    Remember after 9-11 when terrorist fear destroyed the tourism and leasure flying market. Dont let it stop you. I travel frequently to las vegas for business and typically stay close to where this happened. Although im giving them a bit of space in the next week or so to let the media circus calm I’ll go back, even if my work doesnt make me. This guy was crazy and if hotels install scanners and other things it would not have stopped him from causing harm. Just like TSA security cant prevent terrorism.

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