Monday, March 24, 2014

Not the Kind of "Thunder" We Want

It wasn't the kind of "Thunder" anyone was asking for. Staff had assumed he was a new cast member. The audience had assumed the show would go on as planned (and ultimately, it did). And we all assumed something like this wouldn't happen at a fun Strip show.

Yet it happened anyway. This time, shots were fired at Excalibur. And it happened in the "Thunder Down Under" locker room backstage.

Fortunately, the performers backstage thwarted Joey Kadmiri's attempted robbery. And fortunately, no one other than Kadmiri was seriously injured that night. Still, it's frightening to think something so violent could occur backstage from what's supposed to be "the ultimate girls'/grrlz' night out".

And once again, we're left to wonder how this could happen. After all, this isn't the first time when the Las Vegas Strip suddenly transformed into an armed battlefield. And this likely won't be the last time we see a Strip shooting.

But why? Why does this keep occurring on the Las Vegas Strip? The Strip is supposed to be all about fun & games. It's supposed to be the world's premiere "adult playground". It's supposed to provide an escape from everyday life. It's not supposed to be an armed battlefield where innocent people lose their lives.

Think about it. Like it or not, The Strip is the economic lifeblood of Nevada. What would happen if tourists no longer felt safe on The Strip? What would happen if tourists started canceling their Vegas Vacations because they don't want to become the next Strip shooting news story? What would happen if visitors stopped playing in our big "adult playground" because it's starting to look too damned bloody?

Have they ever thought about this? Have their staff ever briefed them on the dangerous ground we stand on? Or do Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NRA), Senator Dean Heller (R-NRA), and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NRA) still exude pride because they were "what stood in the way" in Carson City & DC between us and saner gun laws that can curb the kinds of frightening incidents that are becoming more frequent on The Strip.

Joey Kadmiri failed to show in court last December to respond to domestic violence charges filed against him. He used an unregistered gun to shoot at "Thunder Down Under" last week. And Kadmiri himself has said he's been struggling with mental health problems. How on earth was he able to obtain a firearm?

This is when a background check would have come in handy. Yet because the gun industry was too concerned about profit and G-O-TEA politicians were too concerned about their NRA ratings, legislation to expand background checks failed on the state & federal levels. When Joey Kadmiri first entered into the "Thunder Down Under" locker room, no one expected trouble. Perhaps the person(s) who provided Kadmiri with that handgun made the same assumption?

We can't assume "gut instinct" will do the trick. We can't assume everyone can thwart a shooting like the "Thunder Down Under" crew did. And we can't assume a "good guy with a gun" can always take care of a "bad guy with a gun". (Once again, that wasn't the case here.) You know what's said about the word "assume"?

There's too much at stake here for us to simply make assumptions. Our economy depends on tourists coming to The Strip and feeling safe enough to let loose. And our lives depend on the wrong weapons staying out of the wrong hands. Seriously, this is not the kind of "Thunder" we want.

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