It all started with one nutjob with an army’s worth of guns in a hotel suite.
In those moments there was panic amongst the crowds at the concert venue. Those of us outdoors around the Mandalay Bay were completely confused. Were those fireworks? Was that fake gunfire from some nearby filming or show?
The sound of fully automatic gunfire just kept coming. Nobody knew whether to go inside or stay outside. Even the police had no idea. Some officers were running around with guns drawn, shotguns in their hand. Initially all I could do was stand there at the Bus Lobby on the south side of the hotel. Just five minutes previously I was walking down Las Vegas Blvd. across from the concert venue without a care in the world.
But that fear… that feeling of helplessness and chaos… I felt in those moments is not what I’m going to carry with me going forward. Because what I saw in the minutes and hours that followed was nothing short of amazing. What I saw was an entire major American city pull up its pants and start getting back to work and making sure everybody was safe.
A small cluster of us wound up outside the McDonald’s across the street from the Mandalay. We were outside on the patio, still unsure of exactly what we just saw and experienced. We were sharing information as we knew it. We watched every police officer within 50 miles speed north on the Boulevard towards Tropicana Ave, which became the defacto incident center. And we stayed there until the police told us to start walking, and keep walking, south as far as we can go.