There’s no doubt that we in Las Vegas can thank our lucky stars, as they say, for not being targeted by terrorists. No, our saying that is not going to put any ideas in any terrorists heads. Their plots and plans are well thought out and aren’t subject to the whim of the day. Although we have been safe so far does not mean that we should take our safety for granted. Having more police officers out on the road or on the Strip will not be the deterring factor, but it is possible that some people might feel safer if such would be the case.Sometimes all it takes to divert a would-be terrorist plot from being successful is for the average person on the street to be aware and to be quick enough in reporting any suspicious activity. Better to report something that turns out to be a false alarm than to just assume you’re mistaken, let it go, and have the unthinkable happen.We would imagine that if our behavior ever gave anyone pause, we would prefer a policeman come up to us and check us out to not only put their minds at ease, as well as the person who might have passed on the “tip,” but to clear our self from suspicion as soon as possible and maybe even educate us to what constitutes suspicious activity.There probably are some official guidelines written up somewhere regarding what does constitute suspicious activity, but we certainly don’t want to go overboard and point a finger at anyone and everyone who might be carrying a paper bag or a duffle bag, or taking pictures of a building on the street, or even because they just “look” suspicious because of their face or clothes, no matter what they are doing.Not everyone would automatically realize that if everyone is on guard against suspicious behavior, chances are way better that the next would-be terrorist wouldn’t be able to just slip into the crowd totally unnoticed. And if someone would be willing to stop you, for example, they would be willing to stop anyone – and that “anyone” could just be the person who needs stopping.A truly innocent person would feel a little miffed at first, but once he (or she) is told why he was being stopped or questioned, said person would realize that it is all to the good, show that all he had in the duffle bag was his dirty gym clothes or some library books, and then he’d be on his way, feeling safer that everyone is on the job.As we all probably know, outside of our own stereotyping of what a terrorist looks like or how he might act, terrorists are well trained to avoid looking like terrorists. No doubt part of their training tells them things like: Blend in. Speak English. Act friendly. Mingle. Dress contemporary. Keep on target and do not get distracted. Sometimes an ordinary kid in sagging pants and a message that you wouldn’t want your mother to read on his T-shirt can look more like a terrorist than an actual one. And chances are, stopping that kid will probably stir up his attitude. But you have to make the call.We believe that if the police can approach a person in the right way and give the impression that they assume the person is not a terrorist, but that they are just checking in the name of “safety first,” the person so approached will be understanding and cooperative. If said person has anything to hide – even if not a terrorist – giving the police a hard time will probably draw attention to the very thing that person would like to keep secret. We don’t need or want a hardcore police state, and we don’t want the police being viewed as the gestapo; and we certainly don’t want to fear going about our own business – which of course is exactly what terrorists wish for us.So far so good here in Las Vegas. People come here for fun and don’t often think about watching out for trouble. We like to think that they shouldn’t have to have that concern. But it only makes sense to be somewhat on guard wherever one goes. It isn’t just terrorists that can make an area unsafe. The unwary have their purses or wallets stolen by seasoned or even first-time opportunist thieves; cars are stolen when keys are carelessly left in them for the unscrupulous to dismantle the vehicle for parts or to enjoy a little unauthorized ride; packages disappear from the front or back seats simply because they were sitting there in plain sight.All in all, we live here because we like it better than all other places; and people come here to see what makes Las Vegas what it is. The least we can do is just be aware. We may never have such a situation here, but it can never hurt to educate ourselves in how to keep Las Vegas safe from terrorists.May God bless us all and keep us safe.
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