Las Vegas strip to go dark to Honor the Victims.
On Monday, one year will have passed since the mass shooting in Las Vegas: one year since Stephen Paddock, an alienated former postal worker and tax auditor who liked to play video poker on the Strip, opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds.
On the surface, it seems like an odd custom to mark the anniversary of a horror. Why not just let time quietly slip on?
But tragedies, particularly mass tragedies, are a reminder of the contingency and arbitrariness of life. To set aside a day to remember a disaster we never could have predicted is to attempt some mastery over the chaos it brought. Chaos that, for those with injuries physical and mental, for those still feeling their way along the long, dark corridor of grief, continues, even a year later.
Marking an anniversary of awfulness — and there are so many now — feels strange but necessary.
Las Vegas will commemorate Oct. 1 with a series of events, among them a 5K run, a blood drive, a silent auction, a candlelight vigil and a sunrise service that will include 58 seconds of silence, one for each of the dead. On the Strip — Paddock shot into the Route 91 concert from a corner suite at Mandalay Bay — the illuminated resort marquees, including the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, will go dark, as they did one week after the shooting.
I will never forget the eerie, impotent feel of the Strip at that moment. It was as though all the hope in the universe had been snuffed out.
At the Clark County Museum, items from a memorial that sprang up around the Las Vegas sign — flags, artificial flowers, rosaries, stuffed animals, signs, letters and candles — will be on display in a temporary exhibit.