Monday, October 2, 2017

Case closed

Will you believe me now? That there's no such thing as coincidence? Or at least that it's a regular, everyday, perfectly normal occurrence and very far from something to be gasped at as if it's a kind of marvel?

Of course, the horrific events in Las Vegas, still unfolding as I write, are also very far from marvellous. Is it a good thing, or not, having been to the scene of a crime, so that it's that much more vivid and awful?

When I was last in the city, three years ago - which I was only writing about in my previous post, ie yesterday - I stayed at the Mandalay Bay hotel, behind those golden windows. I walked dutifully all over the property, not much interested in the casino but diverted by the Lazy River and the beach. I ate complimentary striped chocolate strawberries in my room (which was on the 32nd floor, where the shooter fired from), was a bit sad about the fish in the Shark Reef aquarium, and started on the tasting menu downstairs in Aureole with great gusto but was soon overwhelmed, although it was delicious. It was a very pleasant hotel, and I was pleased to be staying there. I wonder how this ghastly event will affect future business?
I was in Vegas to write a story about Kiwi entrepreneurs succeeding there, and, as I wrote yesterday, one was Ed Mumm, who started Dig This - which has begun operations in Invercargill just today - and another was Genghis Cohen (real name) who is now working with Ed but then had a separate business. Which is called Machine Guns Vegas, where you can go and work through the whole gamut of firearms in his indoor range, shooting at paper targets with real bullets. Here is a bit of what I wrote about it:

For me it’s the Sauer pistol first, black and sinister. It’s unnerving to hold a real gun, loaded with real bullets, and point at the life-sized outline of a person, but I’m still pleased to get all of my 10 bullets through its chest. A 410 shotgun is next, chosen for its low recoil, and I rip large holes through the heart of the green man plus one through his head for good measure. I’m a bit more haphazard with the spray of bullets from the M4 machine gun, but all of the holes from the seriously military SAW — Squad Assault Weapon — are contained within the incongruously pink figure of my last target.

Jackie, who’s been at my shoulder with advice and encouragement, nods with satisfaction. “Right on the money,” she says, and I glow with pride. If ever I need to defend myself with a pre-loaded weapon against a paper person less than 10 metres away, I now know that I have what it takes...

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