Our Point of View
The MGM Grand fire occurred on November 21, 1980, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (now Bally’s Las Vegas) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fire killed 85 people, most through smoke inhalation.
The tragedy remains the worst disaster in Nevada history, and the third-worst hotel fire in modern U.S. history, after the 1946 Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta that killed 119 people and the San Juan (Puerto Rico) Dupont Plaza Hotel fire on December 31, 1986, in which 97 perished.
On Feb. 10, 1981, just 90 days after the devastating MGM Grand Hotel fire, Clark County Firefighters rolled out to see flames 22 stories high: the Las Vegas Hilton was burning. The blaze broke out Saturday evening, shortly after 8 p.m.; firefighters, employing the knowledge they had learned from the MGM fire, used local television news to
notify people to stay in their rooms and not go out to the halls and stairwells. In part because of the lessons learned, significantly fewer people died or suffered injuries compared with the MGM Grand fire. Still, eight people died and more than 200 were injured in the Las Vegas Hilton fire.
It could be all in our minds or it could be that we are all cold-blooded individuals, but no one on our staff can remember the city, the county, or the state making such a fuss on any of the first or other anniversaries of either of those events.
The bodies of the victims were still warm and on the ground of the Mandalay Bay when our sheriff and the then-Chair of the County Commissioners, now our Nevada Governor, were on television collecting money for the victims.
Most venues that allow events on their premises make sure that the promoters and/or those organizing the events have insurance for cases such as those similar to the October First event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino owned by the MGM Grand and protected by well-known and retired U.S. Senator Harry Reid and his Democrat friends.
The September 11 attacks, also called the 9/11 attacks, were a series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism.
Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, four times the amount of people lost at the October 1st shooting. 184 people lost their lives at the Pentagon attack, making three times more life lost than at the Mandalay Bay shooting, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the
plane); all 19 terrorists died (see Researcher’s Note: September 11 attacks). Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed. The Mandalay Bay shooting did not lose any of the Las Vegas Police members, first
responders or firefighters.
Last Monday, October 1, on the second anniversary of the shooting at the Mandalay Bay, visitors and residents of Las Vegas alike were subjected to an all-day-long recap of the events, memories, and services that commemorated that fateful day.
The events were more likely a political campaign and a way to put the candidates’ names out to the public. In every place where they “remembered” the victims of the October 1st shooting, one could find all the elected and wannabe elected candidates.
Las Vegas is a tourist city and maybe that is the reason that the majority of the victims were from out of town: California, Utah, Minneapolis, West Virginia, Tennessee, Canada, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Colorado, making many wonder if the hometowns of those victims were remembering them as strongly as the County of Clark was raising money for them, which begs the question of how much money has been raised and where the money has gone.
Only four Las Vegas residents were counted among the victims of such a despicable act and that is what we base our question on: How much money was collected and where does that collected money go?
It was most definitely a very atrocious event, but those types of criminal acts are taking place in many cities and at many events all over the country. We believe that every city and every state should remember their own, and every city should collect money for their own victims.
But if we want to be generous no matter what, let’s count the money we collect and know exactly where that money goes.
We don’t want to be used as a patsy just because of the tragedies we’ve suffered in this one-of-a-kind city!