Let me start by saying that I’m heartbroken about what happened in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. I’m simply at a loss of words, other than saying that my thoughts are with the families and friends of anyone impacted by this, which is a lot of people.
My goal is to make this blog an “escape” from everyday news. Often people say “how can you not address that XYZ happened?” Just because I don’t write about something doesn’t mean I don’t care, but rather just that I’m just not sure posting about it on a travel blog adds much value.
In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, there’s something hotel related that I’ve been wondering about, which Reuters addressed in an article yesterday, and I wanted to share here. The Mandalay Bay has over 3,000 rooms, so what should they do with the room that was occupied by the shooter who killed 58 people and injured more than 500?
This isn’t the first murder to happen at a hotel, though it’s certainly the biggest hotel shooting we’ve seen in the US. In general when something “bad” happens in a hotel room, there are a few directions a hotel can go:
- They can restore the room to how it was, and go back to selling it
- They can just not sell the room, realizing that people wouldn’t want to stay in the room if they knew what happened there; however, if you do that, do you leave the room number on the door, do you take off the room number and even remove the door so it looks like it was never there?
- They could shut down the floor entirely, realizing that people might be uncomfortable being on the same floor at all, while others might specifically try to seek out this area
- They can try to repurpose the space, realizing that people won’t want to stay in a room where something happened, but if the space is changed up, maybe it would be different
- I doubt they’ll take this path, but they could set it up as a memorial that could be visited, but the logistics of that may be tough; it could be more practical to have a memorial elsewhere, in a more accessible area
Reuters shared what happened to some of the previous scenes of mass shootings, noting that the hotel hasn’t yet commented on their plan for the space:
Some of the venues have been dismantled completely. Others, like the San Bernardino, California community center where a husband and wife killed 14 people in December 2015, have reopened, with officials saying that getting back to work helping people was integral to healing.
The Orlando, Florida nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people in June 2016, remains closed, and the owner plans to turn it into a memorial.
Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in 2012, was demolished and rebuilt four years later.
While the loss of life is by far the worst aspect of this tragedy, there are also big implications for Mandalay Bay and MGM here. People come to Las Vegas to escape from reality, yet I think if I stayed at Mandalay Bay, this would always be in the back of my mind. I think this is a bit different than an elementary school or community center. Perhaps the closest parallel here would be Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, which will be turned into a memorial.
However, when we’re talking about a 3,000+ room hotel, that can’t quite as easily be shut down and turned into a memorial. I’m not sure there’s a right answer. While a memorial somewhere seems appropriate, do you just stop selling the room, stop selling the rooms right around it, shut down the whole floor, or what?
Personally I’m someone who is pretty “sensitive” when it comes to what rooms I’ll stay in, for reasons way less significant than this. That’s to say that I’ve asked to move rooms when I felt it had “bad juju,” and I’ve also avoided staying in a room in which a murder happened. However, what happened in Las Vegas is on a completely different level, and wouldn’t just make someone “sensitive” to this kind of stuff uncomfortable.
I’ll be curious to see what decision MGM makes. My thoughts continue to be with everyone impacted by this terrible tragedy.
What do you think the appropriate action is for the Mandalay Bay in a situation like this?