Nobody wins a war against Internet commenters. And I’m not going to try. Be as big of a jerk as you like. Troll your dark heart out. But I have one request: Lay off the tourists.
Last week, a 34-year-old California man died from apparent heat exhaustion at Electric Daisy Carnival. This was a private citizen who, had he survived, would have attended the music festival and returned home in complete anonymity. Instead, an accidental tragedy struck, turning his young wife into a widow and him into a public whipping post.
Did you know the phrase R.I.P. stands for “rest in peace?” If you posted one of the many self-righteous condemnations, I’m guessing you didn’t. Or you didn’t care. Either way, ease up on those trigger fingers, little buckaroo.
No matter who you are or what you do, your first duty as a citizen of Las Vegas is to be a good host. More than 42 million guests arrive at our house each year, and we must be nice to them. It’ll keep your mom happy, and if boring old morality won’t convince you, consider this: Tourists keep our lights on. Even if you don’t work in the tourism industry, your fate is tied to our tourist economy. Kicking the graves of our unluckiest visitors is simply bad business.
Las Vegas sells ourselves as a safe space for bad behavior. And even with the best of precautions, accidents happen. Overindulging, skimping on water, doing drugs or attending a dance music festival doesn’t warrant a death sentence. And just because you went to the same party and left unscathed doesn’t make you morally superior. The sour politics of bootstrap winner-take-all capitalism has rotted out our ability to experience empathy. Or barring that, to just keep our mouths shut. In the words of one ancient left-wing radical, who among us has not sinned?
I leave you with a success story. Tourists used to die every year walking across Las Vegas Boulevard. We could have blasted the dead for not looking both ways. Instead, we built gorgeous pedestrian bridges. They save lives, ease traffic flow and offer great views of the Strip.