For the last 48 hours, while my beloved hometown has been reeling from the tragedy, I’ve had the opportunity to defend our incredible casino security personnel during dozens of radio and TV interviews all over the world.

Far too many so-called “experts” on cable TV, some of whom clearly have never been to Vegas, have opined that we need more metal detectors at every entrance and we need to search everyone’s luggage, like the TSA. That is ludicrous.

For those who haven’t been here, let me paint the picture. Every casino has several entrances, from parking garages and also from the street. Some have entrances that actually connect with other resorts.

One of the best things about Las Vegas is the ability of pedestrians to walk unimpeded from casino to casino, overpriced drink in hand, and either walk or stagger back to your room safely. Unless you get drunk and jaywalk or make other stupid decisions based on alcohol, Las Vegas is a pretty safe place to visit.

Most crime here occurs because people let their guard down and go places they shouldn’t, or pick up hookers or strangers and take them back to their rooms.

The hotels all have great security teams, some run by former law enforcement officials. They keep the 40 million people a year who visit Las Vegas safe and they do a damn good job.

The public doesn’t hear about 90% of the problems they prevent, nor should they. I hear about them because I have so many friends in the business.

Many casinos don’t have uniformed personnel, so you might not realize they are everywhere, but trust me, they are. The Vegas shooter slipped through the cracks because a 64-year-old white guy is usually not the one they’re looking for. Those guys usually shoot up an office after they get fired.

We don’t have all the details yet about how much luggage the shooter had or how he got it to his room. He may have brought it up himself with a cart, bit-by-bit from his car, we just don’t know yet.

But Vegas prides itself on respecting privacy and trust me, you don’t wanna know what people have in their luggage here. If people felt it was going to be searched or sent through some type of machine, that would kill tourism faster than any shooter ever could.

This tragedy will change many things in Las Vegas. We have numerous outdoor events because our weather is so great much of the year, and security on the ground is usually tight, but many of those venues are surrounded by high rise hotels. There aren’t enough indoor arenas even IF we wanted to move more events indoors. Everything will be scrutinized more throughly now.

We in media are looking for the lesson in all of this, looking for signs that were missed. In the days and weeks to follow, more information will come out, and I’m certain we will find someone who knew he was planning something. If my husband had 40 guns and a bad temper, I’d know about it.

As a local, I have been heartened by the many stories of heroism that have come to light, and the unity we’ve seen as a community. There was an eight hour wait to give blood and last I checked, the GoFundMe account had $8 million in it! Take THAT, JJ Watt!

I know several people who were at the concert that night, cops and civilians, all of whom made it.

It was terrible, but it could have been so much worse. We are saddened but resolute. We are #VegasStrong


Heidi Harris is a longtime radio host and frequent television commentator living in Las Vegas.


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