Bring Las Vegas Home

They say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But not this time.

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock killed, at current count, 58 people and wounded another 515 from the isolated safety of his hotel room window.


It’s infuriating to watch senseless violence.

It’s repulsive to see publicity whores seize this moment to vomit their agenda on a traumatized nation. Can’t we wait a day or two to evaluate the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino? Do we need to tweet about divisive issues like gun control while some may still be dying?

There’s compassion as well. Parents, spouses, children, friends, and relatives of the victims have gaping holes in their hearts. 

Las Vegas is over 2,000 miles from my home in Central Pennsylvania. But the tragedy is on my mind as I work. Lives ended. Hearts feel crushed. For many, life has changed forever. As I reflect, something personal is nagging me.

Life at a distance is sterile and safe.

It reminds me of a James Taylor concert I attended. A member of the audience yelled, “I love you James.” James replied, “I think it helps that we don’t know each other.”

Life in close proximity is messy.

Anger and compassion from a distance are appropriate, but how might leaders bring the tragedy of Las Vegas home?

Applying distant events to daily life makes distant events matter more.

Bring Las Vegas home:

Think of what you might do, if you were in Vegas. 

  1. Show compassion. Hug and cry.
  2. Watch for danger.
  3. Treat others with respect.
  4. Find a pressing need to meet. Provide a meal, turn a listening ear, say a prayer.
  5. Strengthen the community by supporting others.
  6. Listen carefully while people tell their story.
  7. Inspire courage by making the best of a hellish situation.

But what if you’re not in Vegas?

Make Vegas matter by being the person you would be in Vegas – to people you can touch right now. Life is less sterile and more impactful when we think about being our Vegas-selves with people within our reach.

Being my Vegas-self makes me feel less helpless.

I’m not suggesting we forget the tragedy of Vegas. I’m saying, make it matter more. Bring Las Vegas into daily life. Bring Las Vegas home.