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Subscribe now to keep reading. You've exhausted the 0 articles available. If you'd like to keep reading, click below. Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than others, a figure that would later be revised to to encompass not only victims of gunshot wounds but those injured from shrapnel, trampling, and attempts to scale barbed-wire and chain-link fences while fleeing. It was, as we would hear in the coming days, the worst mass shooting in modern American history. They are holding tiny, flickering white votive candles, the kind sold by the bag at discount stores, and have come to mourn the victims, the injured, and the city they call home. This disparity gets to the heart of why the mass shooting was, for those who live in Las Vegas, at once heartbreaking and strange: Everyone has dispersed, but a floating anguish remains. The students have built a makeshift shrine of flowers, handwritten posters, and more candles: The students sway and wave their glowing cellphones in response. Sunday night, a week after the October 1 massacre: The Strip, I find myself thinking, is not the glorious shiny bauble it appears to be — at both ends it degrades quickly. The south end, the more middlebrow end where Mandalay Bay is located, has less margin to weather a downturn than the fancier precincts where the Wynn, the Encore, the Venetian, and the Bellagio are located. Las Vegas purports to be democratic, but it, too, has a class system. Passing the scene of the shooting, I am shocked by the distance between the open-air concert venue and the hotel suite from which Paddock fired. His motive remains hazy, mysterious, but his methods are clear. Everything he did was plotted, calculated, with the fastidiousness of the accountant he was, to maximize fatalities: On Las Vegas Boulevard, which used to be called U. Route 91, people are leaving bouquets of roses in plastic sleeves on the median. This is as close as one can get to the acre venue, which is cordoned off with yellow crime tape and strewn with debris. Fifty-eight white wooden crosses — carved and driven cross-country by a retired carpenter from Illinois — stand elegant and mournful. They feel at once ancient and futuristic, like those alien white windmills in the Palm Springs desert. At the base of the Las Vegas sign, a giant snowdrift of mementos has gathered with smaller mounds accumulating around each cross. The whole scene is tacky and ad hoc yet utterly sincere and affecting. A site where tourists take selfies has become a de facto shrine to the dead. In books, in movies, as a destination for bachelor parties and boxing matches — there it is, glittering and louche. But because visitors rarely leave the Strip, the city is widely misunderstood. The decadent vacation rhythms of the tourist are not the workaday rhythms of the people who reside and work here full time: Like any place with a dominant industry Washington, D. Many of my students work on the Strip: Nearly everyone I know, though they might complain the Strip is pricey, also goes there to eat, to attend concerts, to meet up with visitors from out of town. Yet unlike most cities, Las Vegas is also a metaphor, an idea. The country takes pleasure in this fantasy — in participating in it and mocking it, both — and the casino industry sells it, promotes it, depends on it. But the shooting altered the equation: How to live in a city, how to view it, to talk about it, think about it, when the metaphor has not only quite visibly detached itself from reality but is in fact jarringly, painfully at odds with it? This was the clever trick of Las Vegas: Now, it seems, the city is unsafe in ways no one had anticipated. The attack aimed at the most Vegas situation of all, which also happens to be the most American situation of all: A few days after my visit to the Strip, I interview a man whose year-old daughter has been shot in the head, just above her right eye. We are sitting on a bench outside Sunrise Hospital, where he is waiting to hear whether the airlift that will take her home to the East Coast is going to be scheduled for that day. She will need intensive rehab for a year, maybe longer, and a series of surgeries to replace her eye and remove shrapnel from her brain and sinuses. An internal video I was given lays out the light-speed response on the part of those responsible for protecting the Las Vegas image: Thank you for being there for us now. It flashed on digital marquees at the airport and the hotels. It was on the flanks of ambulances and fire trucks. It was on bumper stickers peeled off and stuck on seemingly every car. There were, and still are, enormous red VegasStrong banners in the courtyard on campus. It is on a billboard across from Mandalay Bay, by the cash register at my local sandwich shop, on the letter board outside a florist, on the side of a CVS. Its ubiquity left no doubt that Paddock had not only attacked a city but a brand. It was shorthand for everyone who had guided people to safety, driven victims to the hospital, given blood, donated food and money and time, or let strangers into their businesses and homes in the chaotic hours when the Strip was cordoned off and it was believed there were multiple shooters on the loose. But it was also a marketing tactic. Many people I know cringed at the attempt to reduce a tragedy to a slogan; it felt glib and premature. The city, they said, bypassed all the expected emotions to pivot to strength. In the months that followed the shooting, many festival survivors would tell me that as the horror unfolded, they witnessed people tying — or that they themselves tied — homemade tourniquets in an attempt to stanch the wounds of fellow concertgoers. The demographics of this country music concert were such that numerous attendees were firemen, policemen, EMTs, or had served in the military and thus were trained in first aid. If so many people had not had this training, I hear it said repeatedly, there would have been far more fatalities. This stays with me; I would not have known what to do. Stop the Bleed strikes me as a kind of grim pragmatism in the absence of tighter gun laws, an attempt to prepare citizens for the mass shootings that are sure to keep happening. Fraser learned about Stop the Bleed at a medical conference and brought the program to Las Vegas last spring. Cassandra Trummel, the registered nurse who runs the program, says that since October 1, they have taught more than classes and trained at least 4, people. On a bright, warm winter afternoon, a group of 16 people have convened in a small conference room with industrial gray carpeting and hospital-gown-green chairs. The first part of the class consists of an instructional slideshow illustrated with graphic images: The latter half of the class is hands-on. We practice twisting the tourniquets as tightly as possible and stuffing gauze into faux wounds on a flesh-colored rubber cylinder. It occupies that creepy uncanny valley between utterly fake and revoltingly real. There are two cavernous holes on it, and we take turns pushing the gauze dressing into them. A woman at another table asks what to do if you encounter someone who has been shot in the abdomen. When you decide to apply direct pressure to a bleeding wound, you have a responsibility to that person. This, I think darkly, is an anti-metaphor for Las Vegas, the opposite of a weekend devoid of commitments. They have gathered around three tables, where they will catalog, photograph, label, and bag the stuffed animals, flags, fake flowers, rosaries, clothing, candles, hand-painted rocks, and all manner of other trinkets that mourners have left. These are not just offerings to honor the dead, they are also fragments shorn against our impotence, a way of doing something when there is nothing to do. Such memorials are hardly a new phenomenon, but the problem of how to maintain them and contend with them after they have served their somber purpose is a relatively new challenge, one that archivists and museum curators have been thinking about at least since the Columbine massacre. Candlewax melts and hardens; cards and posters and stuffed animals can molder or go up in flames. It was Schwartz who emailed local curators, including Cynthia Sanford, the archivist who is leading the Las Vegas effort, to warn them that they were about to face an onslaught of objects. Even before the crosses came down, city workers were bringing a foot trailer full of items twice a week. The process is not quick; Sanford estimates that the entire project will take two to three years to complete. When they complete the bouquet, they measure the tiny sign and then move on to a new group of flowers, which are white with pearl stamens. From there the items are handed to two women at the next station, who place them in a lightbox and photograph them. Pink flowers against a black background, white flowers against a white background. Linda, who has short feathered gray hair and talks quickly, arranges each item in the lightbox. After a while, the pair starts on painted rocks. I look over at Lynn, who is doing the photographing. Her face is wet with tears. In , the city saw a 1. A woman with tattooed arms and a long burgundy dress is saying something about her breasts to a friend, who is wearing a black jumpsuit; she cups her hands around them when she talks. The bar fills up until all the seats are taken. At the House of Blues, whose entrance is nearby on the casino floor, concertgoers are lining up to see Santana. It could be any night before the shooting. From the casino, which has dark red oriental carpeting and ornate filigree moldings, I take an escalator up to The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, where, at a store called Bay Essentials, a mini-mart of sorts, the clerk tells me what I have already gathered: The Strip kept on rolling like water through a turbine in a dam. An amiable elderly woman wearing a large silver cross around her neck is the only one working. I ask her how business has been. Has it been slow since the shooting? After a bit, the woman begins to share what many thousands of people in America now have: You can tell he feels far away from whatever he does in his daylight hours. I am suddenly overcome by sadness, which happens to me so often in the months after the shooting that it ceases to surprise me. Everything looks the same, but the double consciousness of knowing a massacre was orchestrated in the same building casts a shadow over it all. A different publicist emails with a quote from another executive: Mandalay Bay is as vibrant, inviting and busy as ever. Flesh showgirls san bernardino

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6 Comments

  1. How does a city that bills itself as a place of abandon commemorate a tragedy? The mementos hanging from the remembrance wall are heartbreakingly specific.

  2. Sunday night, a week after the October 1 massacre: My driver, it turns out, is a conspiracy theorist, an avid reader of Reddit who tells me he suspects that the shooting was a false flag — i. Its ubiquity left no doubt that Paddock had not only attacked a city but a brand.

  3. An amiable elderly woman wearing a large silver cross around her neck is the only one working. How does a city that bills itself as a place of abandon commemorate a tragedy? The demographics of this country music concert were such that numerous attendees were firemen, policemen, EMTs, or had served in the military and thus were trained in first aid.

  4. Reason, thought, worries about sentimentality or taste — all of it is obliterated by the blunt force of emotion.

  5. It flashed on digital marquees at the airport and the hotels. There are two cavernous holes on it, and we take turns pushing the gauze dressing into them.

  6. These are not just offerings to honor the dead, they are also fragments shorn against our impotence, a way of doing something when there is nothing to do. There are two cavernous holes on it, and we take turns pushing the gauze dressing into them. Dangling from the branches are heart-shaped ornaments, miniature American flags, bright paper daisies.

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