Much ado has been made recently about Las Vegas dropping in the nation’s terrorism risk-factor ranking of cities, from 30th to 33rd, possibly costing us $1.8 million in Homeland Security funding. Thus, the thought of the Entertainment Capital of the World being blown to bits by terrorists with a suitcase nuke doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
But Vegas has always rolled with the punches to solve its problems. For example, in the 1940s and ’50s, major Mafia outfits in other cities had unwritten agreements to keep their ongoing violence out of our town. Why kill the desert goose that truly lays golden eggs? Everyone can benefit, those gangsters reasoned. And benefit they did — from New York to Cleveland, Chicago to Kansas City. By keeping the peace here. That’s why, some say, Bugsy was shot in Beverly Hills, in 1947. To keep the peace.
Stop and think for a minute, dear reader. If we’re so concerned about a terrorist threat here and now, perhaps we should invite some terrorists to build their own casinos on the Vegas Strip, a kind of “Dubai West.” Envision, if you can, a hotel/casino called The Pressure Cooker Palace — sporting high-class “suicide bomber” suites for special guests, and belly-dancer bars galore for tipsy tourists. Who would want to destroy such a glorious, secular mecca this far away from, well, Mecca?
As revealed in this column in 2009, our tax dollars have been going to support Afghani soldiers who, when off-duty, reportedly have lined up to take turns having sex with goats. And if the soldiers fighting for our side have been friskily fleecing beasts thusly, then one can imagine terrorists on the other side, under some “sheep shearia law,” doing the same thing. Hence, maybe we should supply complimentary sheep in The Pressure Cooker Palace Hotel, to keep terrorist tourists happy when vacationing here. That’d help keep the peace.
In Vegas, peace is always negotiable. A Mormon friend once told me her kissing cousins up in Salt Lake City used to look down on Mormons living in Sin City as “Jack Mormons” — until leaders from the mecca of Mormonism saw planeloads of cash being flown to their town regularly from Vegas, from the banking business and tithing here. That’s when the white, spiraled temple near Sunrise Mountain was finally built — to reportedly make peace with our Jack Mormons.
On another note, former local newspaper publisher Hank Greenspun, at one time, ran illegal guns to future Israelis in their fight for independence in Palestine during the 1940s. And who in Vegas today fears a terrorist attack from Israelis?
My point? Why not let our most feared terrorists have a piece of our action? If we can help fund them, as we have funded mobsters and religious enterprises in the past, perhaps we can create a Pax Las Vegas for these threatening times.
Hell, if the feds won’t protect us from getting blown to smithereens, let’s take care of it ourselves. Vegas rolls with the punches. Always has, always will. As history has shown, if we do business with the right people, they can go be as violent (or as zealous) as they wish elsewhere in the world. They can simply fund their efforts through the lucrative pipeline of our safe, beautiful town.
Because, in America, it’s now every city for itself.
CHIP MOSHER is a simple classroom teacher.