More than a week after the shooting in Las Vegas - State of Nevada producer Fred Wasser spent some time at McCarran Airport. Fred wanted to gauge the mood of visitors to our city.
He said the advertisements for shows that usually blare at full volume, were toned down. One advertisement at a time and it was much quieter than it normal.
He spoke with Krista Large from Scottsdale, Arizona. She was here with her boyfriend, who was here for work, for a couple of days:
Krista Large, from Scottsdale, Arizona: "I think just as anyone we’re exhausted with this becoming normal for us. And there’s no more surprise left, which is – it’s sad. We were in Oklahoma City this past week. And, it’s just strange that we were there when this happened because it just keeps happening, right? And that was too many years ago for people. But it’s an interesting thought: You can’t go to a city without there being some kind of tragic history there in some way, shape, or form."
He also spoke with Jamal Green from Lafayette, Louisiana whose flight and hotel was already paid for; he said there was never any thought of canceling the trip. For him – the allure of the Las Vegas Strip is strong.
(Fred) Can you tell me your name and where you’re from?
(Jamal) I’m Jamal Green from Lafayette, Louisiana.”
(Fred) Are you here for a vacation or for work?
(Jamal) Vacation. Sin City.
(Fred) There’s a big smile.
(Jamal) First time here. I’ll try to enjoy it and see what Vegas has to offer.
(Fred) Did you hesitate at all to come?
(Jamal) No. I jumped at the chance.
(Fred) Even with what happened this past week?
(Jamal) Yes sir. You shouldn’t let a tragedy like that stop you from traveling or going off – because it can happen anywhere. Even at home.
He then left the baggage area and later in the evening went upstairs to the USO, which is a 24-hour refuge for service men and women and their families along with veterans.
Wasser talked with Steven Wilkins of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Wilkins served in the Marines for ten years – Okinawa Japan, the Philippines, North Carolina, Missouri. Then he served in the Army National Guard – he was deployed twice to Iraq. He and his wife were here during the week following the shooting. They stayed at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, downtown.
Wilkins doesn't believe what happened last week in Las Vegas would prevent them from visiting Las Vegas in the future.
Steven Wilkins, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania: "I don’t think so. It was a random thing. It’s kind of like when you get deployed to Iraq or something. If someone wants to do something, they’re going to do it. If they have it in their head that they’re going to drive a car bomb through the street and blow something up, that’s what they’re going to do. You have to be a mind reader to stop it. That guy obviously had some issues. And he was going to do what he was going to do, unless somebody like a cleaning person came into the room and actually found something and reported it. It’s hard to stop a random thing like that.
Fred: Did you visit the site?
Wilkins: We were going to – but then it’s kind of like sacred ground now. So, we’re thinking we’re not going to go up there. We stopped at a couple of the memorials, you know, gave a little prayer for them - and, continued on.
A man named Rafael from Los Angeles told Wasser, “It’s Vegas, man. People are going to keep coming.”
Another visitor – Sarah Huston from Winston-Salem, North Carolina said: “Life has to go on.”
It’s her third or fourth visit to Las Vegas. She comes for the shows and to gamble. She says there’s a goldfish slot machine that she likes to play.
Fred Wasser, producer, Nevada Public Radio
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