As We See It

Sand! Hands! Action!

Real activism on a fake beach in Vegas

Hands Across the Sand at the Rio “beach”
Photo: Pete Dronkers

Hey, there was sand and there was water. Of course it counts.

Most of the other 700 groups who participated in “Hands Across the Sand,” a national weekend protest in the wake of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, gathered at actual beaches to hold hands for 15 minutes. Not to be left out, Las Vegas organized its own gathering last Saturday at the Rio’s “beach,” a sandy area near the pool. It was awkward—I’m pretty sure no other gathering had a pool attendant asking you if you were there for “the sand event”—but organizers seemed happy with the turnout of about 60, not bad by Vegas political-rally standards. (Although thousands turned up for the Miami Beach event, and even Lake Michigan got 75.)

In a nice touch, a microphone was passed among the participants during the hand-holding session: “Events like this can be the beginning of the end [for Big Oil].” Buddy, if only that were true. “We can all feel the energy of the sun today. Let’s use it.” Yes! “Get involved politically. Vote.” Absolutely! “Go vegan!” Well, let’s not get carried away ...

The overriding message of the day was “stop offshore oil drilling” and “support alternative energy,” but not all agreed on how quickly that should happen. Robin Vircsik, a Las Vegas kindergarten teacher who was born in Alabama and knows the economic situation in the South, says, “If we just stop drilling, how are all those people down there going to eat?”

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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