I’m Not Afraid. I’m STILL Going to Las Vegas!


Michael James will not quit his Happy Place

I am going to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, domestic terrorism be damned.  One lone gunman, who at this point is believed to have acted alone with no confirmed motive, is not going to scare me out of a hard-earned vacation.

Sunday evening’s horrific shooting has been well covered by actual, real-life journalists.  It has also been commented on by people of all political persuasions, from the left, right, center, and so far to either side that there is a great risk of falling off.  This is not a journalistic nor political article (and any political comments of any nature will be swiftly removed, got that Meaghan?).  This article is about me trying to take my vacation back.

For many people, Las Vegas is a “happy place”.  Whether you are there for gambling (hand raised), shopping, attending shows, drinking or all of the above, you don’t go there looking for death.  You want a good time; making good memories with good friends.  But we live in a new era now.  The city of Las Vegas and Clark County are already in the process of installing metal bollards along The Strip and at Fremont Street entrances to ward off wayward drivers from (intentionally or not) jumping a curb and plowing down dozens of people enjoying their “happy place”.

There is a legitimate concern about what more can and should be done, however.  Where is the line between public safety and security becoming more terrorism?  If your favorite casino installs metal detectors at every entrance, will you feel put off about the process?  What if it is more than Security Theater (as is done at most professional sporting events) and approaches TSA-level? What if the line to enter a casino approaches 30 minutes because of the process?  How much of a “happy place” is it now? 

Or is that just a small price to pay for security, allowing you to be even happier once inside?  And would you continue to feel that way for each casino you enter, every day?

I have no inside knowledge of any stepped-up security measures, though it may be too early in the process for anything to be implemented.  But I can envision a check of your car’s trunk by security prior to entry onto a property (the back-ups on the street would be its own issue) than an area at each casino entrance for a full bag check.  It may be the only way to keep weapons out of the casinos and hotels.  On the other hand, it is quite impractical.

My point is that some may never be truly safe in that “happy place”, without enduring security screening that will make some less happy. 

I know that the Vegas Nerd Society is having their yearly Summit in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks (and many of those attendees will be reading this).  You guys, go and have a great time.  Blonde4ever is having a meet-up a few weeks after that.  Knock yourselves out, take lots of pictures and eat and drink well.  Conquer the Buffalo! for me.  Many others will also be traveling to Las Vegas for business or pleasure.  Have the time of your life.  Be happy.

Me?  In a little over two weeks, I’ll be playing poker, going to another casino to play poker, eating, playing more poker, then maybe sleeping for a few minutes.  I’ll wake up and repeat three more times.

And I can’t wait because I’ll be in my “happy place”.

About the Author

Michael James

Michael James is a true Vegas Nerd. First falling in love after hearing details of an aunt’s visit in the ’70s, and nurtured when the gambling bug hit as casinos started opening on every street corner across the country in the ’90s. When not reading Vegas blogs and message boards, he’s a metals buyer by day and a competitive bowler by night in Milwaukee.

28 Comments on "I’m Not Afraid. I’m STILL Going to Las Vegas!"

  1. Thank you for this. Was waiting for this post since the tragic incident. Going back on the 14th with a group of 6 ladies total. Some first timers. My 2 second time this year. My husband and I have been going to vegas every year for the past 7. I live in NYC, work near Grand Central, 3 blocks from Times Square and take the train every single day so I know why folks are nervous but as you have heard before “you cannot live in fear”

    Still looking forward to my trip!! Thoughts are with all of those affected.

    Thank you Vegas Bright for being a light even during a time like this.

    You guys are appreciated

  2. Ditto~ Great article.
    As Tom would say…..
    “I’ll stand my ground
    Won’t be turned around
    And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
    Gonna stand my ground”

  3. Great article. My feelings exactly. I’ll be going back to Vegas early next week to attend the first-ever regular season home game of the Vegas Golden Knights. I hope the tragic events of this past weekend won’t put too much of a damper on the festivities before and during the game, but I’m sure it will be on everyone’s minds. There will surely be stepped up security at that event. I’m personally not any more worried now about violence or terrorism than I was before this past Sunday’s incident since crazed individuals can strike virtually anywhere at anytime. It’s just the reality of the world we live in, unfortunately.

  4. DITTO, DITTO, Ditto!!!!

  5. keith d mcconnell | October 4, 2017 at 11:35 am |

    Taking my mom for her 70th bday next Tuesday we’ve been waiting months and wouldn’t give it a second thought!

  6. Well put. My wife and I are heading to Vegas Sunday for three nights in our Happy Place with some friends. There unfortunately are nuts everywhere in this world. I refuse to live in terror, although I do have to admit unfortunately that last January I did find myself scanning for out of control trucks and whatnot on the strip (at least when I was sober)

  7. Just Passing By | October 4, 2017 at 1:45 pm |

    Ill be there on Oct 20 for 3 days. No way in hell a nut job will deter my Vacation. I think more people should go to Vegas to show support. I sent donations to Religious Groups, Not Religious Groups, GoFundme, every group who is currently helping on the ground. Vegas is my second home, you cannot live in fear.

    I dont mind the extra security presence at the casinos. It can deter some people who are looking to cause harm.

  8. Thank you. You’ve given voice to so many of the thoughts I’ve had the last couple of days… Vegas is my Happy Place too, and fear of crazy people with anger issues (or whatever was wrong with that guy) will never keep me away. I love Las Vegas deeply, and am making plans to return early next year. (I confess, I kind of want to just hop a flight and go there now.) My only hope out of all this is that the feeling of freedom in Vegas doesn’t wilt in the shadow of overzealous security measures. Do I want to feel safe? Of course. Do I want to go through a TSA checkpoint at the Clark County line? I’ll pass on that, thanks.

    Whether gambling or just living everyday life, it’s all about risk versus reward, and I like to think Vegas understands that better than just about anyplace, so my hope remains. See you on the Strip. (Or downtown, love it too.)

  9. …good one Blonde4ever

  10. I still plan on going October 19th. very few if any domestics travelers will cancel because of this.
    I did read somewhere, that they are more concerned about international travelers canceling. I can understand that.

  11. Speaking for my mom and my girlfriend, no one is going to keep us from our happy place.
    See you in May Vegas! Sending prayers and best wishes to everyone.

  12. Greg Garrett | October 4, 2017 at 8:40 pm |

    Im coming back in march for the college basketball playoffs. I will not stay away because of one person. Even if they up the security at the casinos it isn’t going to keep me away. I have nothing t hide from a guard. Thank you for writing this piece today

  13. Amen. Thanks for the support. Those of us who live here, and are in the tourism business, are still in shock.

  14. ChrisinNashville | October 5, 2017 at 8:10 am |

    Going December 12-15 for work. Will eat at the Burger Bar (a Vegas MUST for me) and play at the MB. Senseless violence is happening everywhere. You can’t hide under the covers at home and not live life. Viva Las Vegas! I love you.

  15. My Sincere Sympathy to many Familys ” and for others that are critical ,I wish you well ” . I’ll never stop going to Vegas “, been going there since 1971 . Its ” Awesome and Fun “, whether its just Relaxing , Do a little Gambling , Eat some really awesome Food ” , have some good Cocktails , Dancing , Fremont Street ” , Shoppen ” , whatever it is You like , keep doing it “. If there is Stepped up Security , Good ” , Its for Everyone’s Saftey , its not against You personally ” . Their ALL great People out there wanting to make Your Stay a Happy Memorable one ” . If You run into a Stinker “, ” Heeey ” , WE all have a bad day now and then ” . Have an ” AWESOME HAPPY TRIP ” .

  16. I shall be there next Thursday from across the pond for 2 weeks. This is my happy place and it’s our 17th time. Vegas stay strong. ♥️

  17. JaDubya Swaggy | October 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm |

    Um..I’m not sure how I feel about going back anytime soon. For me, it feels like Vegas lost some mojo with this tragedy.

    Maybe it hits too close to home for me. We’ve stayed in nice suites at Mandalay Bay several times and I’ve played in the high limit room too.

    Not worried about our safety or the additional security. Vegas is just…different now.

    I’d like to hear what paperposter thinks about all this. I tend to run into familiar faces in high limit. I wonder if paperposter ran into Paddock.

  18. I leave for Las Vegas Monday morning for 7 days…staying across the street at Excalibur. I know that it will be a somber moment when we arrive but will make the week the best it can be.

  19. Tony Crawford | October 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm |

    I am going to Vegas January 1 – 5 to scout neighborhoods. I intend to move there in June 2018.

  20. Greg Larson | October 5, 2017 at 4:38 pm |

    I’m going back and I was at the concert, will be back in November. I felt safe at the concert and have always felt safe on the strip, this will not stop me from visiting Vegas.

  21. Bet your azz. I’m going out tomorrow with my folks for their 50th anniversary.

  22. Vegas is a special place to me. There’s no way I’m letting the crazies ruin it for me.

    What happened in Vegas could happen anywhere. I refuse to live my life scared.

  23. Minnesotaphats89 | October 6, 2017 at 6:39 pm |

    Good article.
    Vegas is also one of our “Happy Places”.
    This event will not stop us from returning to Vegas or
    Lollapalooza ( Chicago) which I understand was another of his targets.
    Stay strong.

  24. I will not allow the murderous act of a clearly mentally ill man to colour my view of the city I love. I love you, Vegas, I have always loved you and I will go on loving you.

  25. Vegas is one of my happy places. I live in WI and every time my Wife and I arrive, we feel like we’re coming home. I refuse to let this ruin that for us and I refuse to let it drive people away from the great people who live and work in Vegas. As Whitney Houston used to sing, “I will always love you.”

  26. MysteryDate | October 13, 2017 at 8:05 am |

    Not a doubt or second thought — Vegas will ALWAYS be my Happy Place! (Married at the Sign 01/26/2014.)

  27. Thanks for writing this. I will be back in November. Th only way to respond is to do exactly what we would do if it didn’t happen.

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