My 2015 has sucked…like seriously sucked. Yes, it could have been worse, but it has been one of the worst years of my life. That is one reason why I haven’t posted much on here. I don’t want to always come across as unhappy or ungrateful…or as a complainer. But something happened last night that I just have to post, because it’s something you’ll never see on the news – at least not in Las Vegas.
Let me preface this by saying that Las Vegas is a dangerous place. People who believe in the inerrant nature of statistics (cough, cough, I’m not one of them), like to tell me Vegas is the safest its ever been. Most of these people are transplants, not natives like me who have been around for 34 years and have seen the decline. I would never let my kids roam the city the way I did. I was never home until the street lights came on, and there were no parameters as to how far and wide I could go. As a thirteen-year-old, I rode the bus eight miles away to the mall and back several times a month, even more around Christmas time, and all by myself during the day and night. At fifteen, I walked four miles a day to and from the restaurant where I worked and sometimes got off late at night. I never had a cell phone during any of these years for my parents to reach me. But I made it home every night, and we were all secure that I would.
Now, however, deadly or violent home invasions are an every day occurrence; pedestrians are being mowed over on an almost daily basis; shootings; stabbings; homicides; car fatalities – every day I hear and see this shit. And all of this is off the STRIP, where there is an unwritten gag order on all violent activity that isn’t witnessed by more than a hundred eyes. Imagine how the statistics would be skewed if the “action” down on the STRIP was reported. I have family and friends who work in those lavish casinos who have told me about suicides, rapes, murders, shootouts in the STRIP that employees are not allowed to mention upon threat of losing their jobs. Those acts of violence simply don’t exist, for what would it do to the Las Vegas image? My own sister was held down by a police officer during a shootout. She cowered in fear while bullets whizzed overhead, only to be told by upper management an hour later, “It was just fireworks. Someone set off some firecrackers. There was NO shootout, comprende?”
Anyway, I digress.
On Facebook, there is a yard sale page for my particular area of town. I’ve bought and sold things on this page over the past year, and met probably four people in personal exchanges. Last night, one of the members of the group posted a picture of her son along with a desperate plea for help. He’d gone missing, last seen riding his scooter around the neighborhood an hour previously. He was ten. She described what he was wearing and asked if anybody in the neighborhood saw him to contact her because she couldn’t find him. Police had been called.
Well, within minutes, the streets were swarmed with hundreds of nameless neighbors, all from this group, looking for this boy. People went on foot, on bike and in their cars, combing the parks, the stores, a construction site nearby. Even the construction workers stopped their building and began looking for this boy. He’d been traced to a gas station and nobody knew where he went beyond that. The trail simply vanished. I watched my newsfeed explode as I sat on my bed, playing board games with my nine-year-old son. People were all over the area, telling where they were and if they’d found anything. A massive online coordinating effort was underway. I could hear police helicopters whirring over my house and see their spotlights moving in and out of my backyard, all the while praying they’d find this little boy.
Well, they did. It took two hours of flooding the area with good Samaritans, good neighbors, but the boy was found sleeping under a bush, and he was found by one of the members of my FB group. When the boy was finally roused, he couldn’t remember where he was or how he’d gotten there. I haven’t received any more information other than he made it home safe and sound, and that is perhaps why this story never made the news.
But I have to wonder: did this massive show of community thwart a deadly crime? Was this boy in the clutches of some evildoer who panicked at the sheer volume of people out and about searching, and so ditched a drugged little boy beneath a bush and took off? Or did the boy just fall asleep beneath a bush for no reason and lie about it after he was found to avoid trouble? One can only imagine. What I don’t have to imagine, however, is what that boy’s family would have been going through had he not come home last night.
I’ll admit my faith in humanity has dwindled hugely as of late. Even people I’m close to have disappointed me greatly. But last night, seeing everyone come together like that, man it really filled my heart with hope. I just wanted to share that story, because you’ll never see a story like that on the news.