Some misconceptions about Las Vegas

Posted on Facebook on 10/3/2017 and edited to add new information.

So I’m seeing a lot of comments are posts/articles about the Vegas mass murder that want to know why this guy wasn’t seen on cameras, wasn’t noted by staff, and how he managed to get so many weapons into the hotel without being seen and my anti-bullshit gene just can’t take it. I’ve spent a good portion of my life in emergency services (Fire and Ambulance) and like most in emergency services, until about 2009, I’ve have had at least 2-3 jobs at a time, with one of them always being sort of an “Event Security Specialist” (as I was referred to recently). I’ve done everything from being a Bouncer at clubs and bars for special events, running Motor Sports race track security teams, working outdoor fairs and festivals such as the Renaissance and Dickens Fairs, and the L.A. Bicentennial; to concerts and music “happenings” like Day on the Green, Willie Nelson’s Sunday Break, and Symbiosis (Burning Man after party), etc. Part of my “training” for this was working as a Hotel-Casino security officer in Stateline (Lake Tahoe) Nevada. I’ve also been given (partial) tours of other casino security operations as sort of “professional courtesy” while working for special events held on casino property, so I know a bit about how they work.

Believe it or not, most hotel-casinos, in fact, most casinos are flat out hell-holes behind the scenes. They are dingy, cheap and full of old gear that often is broken or less than “state of the art”. Casinos are designed for one thing and one thing only, to separate you from your money as painlessly and as seemingly voluntarily as possible while spending as little money as they absolutely have to, and behind the scenes they don’t have to. They do not spend any more than they need to off of the casino floor and this includes on security and security systems. While they will spend a fortune to make sure they are not being ripped off in any way, the security in the hotel portion is minimal at best. At the most, they are looking to prevent room burglaries and little else. While some hotels do have a lot more (many in Vegas and Reno have facial recognition set up in the casinos and at the front desk but they are more looking for “Whales and Sharks” ie: people that drop a lot of money in casinos, like the shooter; or people looking to cheat the system somehow) most only have 2-3 Cameras on each floor and they are ALL usually being only “watched” by 1-2 people who may have other jobs (like security dispatcher or Shift Sgt) and not the folks that monitor the casino cameras. They would have been lucky to even have seen anything more than a known “whale” ( He was report known to drop relatively big money at cards so would have been a preferred guest and it’s reported that the room was comp’d because of this) going to his room. There was no reason to see anything different, if they even saw anything at all.

“Well, but how did he get all those guns ALL THE WAY up to his room, huh?”… Elevator and a hotel provided luggage cart… It’s not like he was trying to carry armloads of guns through the lobby dropping ammo everywhere. Anyone who’s been in the military can tell you that you can quickly and easily, without tools, break down every military light weapon into small component parts. You can easily fit at least 2-3 military style semi-autos into any decent sized suitcase and if you’ve seen any shoot-‘em-up movie, you will know you can stuff 5-6 or more in a duffle bag! These hotels are so used to trade shows, conventions and even private business deals involving larger items going on in the hotel that someone with a luggage cart full of boxes or cases of some kind wouldn’t have even rated a second look even from a porter helping him (if there was one). It’s reported that he had upwards of 23 weapons in his room. The 10 suitcases being reported would have been more than enough for all the weapons, ammo, tools and more. He checked in several days earlier so had plenty of time to get ready for this. One “fake news” meme going around has him with “6,000” lbs of guns and ammo. That is flat out bullshit. Lets just say for argument’s sake that he had nothing but 7.62x39mm FMG rounds (it’s believed that he had this and lighter) and that he had 10,000 rounds (we don’t know what he had in the room but it’s believed to been less than this but lets use it as a round number). At 3.63lbs per hundred, that’s 363lbs. 23 guns at an average of 17lbs each (AK47 weighs just over 8lbs and a 240B some claim he owned weighs 27lbs) is another 393. Toss in another 30lbs for mags, the mini-sledge that he used to break out the windows and other sundry items and that comes to just under 800lbs, and that’s a high end estimate as he likely had a mix of ammo and less than used here. Yes that’s a lot of weight for one guy to move but not with a luggage cart and 3 days to move it. And as was said before, being a high roller, and a frequent guest, he knew the hotel and no one likely paid any attention to what he was doing. He checks in with a cart full of suitcases like every other guest then takes his time getting the rest.

Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and he was set. Yeah, it’s that easy… Scary huh?


R.I.P. Craig Hunt

In the U.S. fire service there is a tradition based around the old dispatch “box” telegraph system of the 1800’s. When there was a fire, someone would run to the nearest corner and pull the handle on the fire alarm box. This tripped a clockwork mechanism that relayed the number of the box to “Central”. Central then looked up who was going to “catch” the “job” or call and would put corresponding disks on a telegraph relay (pre-radio) that would alert the stations that there was a fire at that box number. That box number would ring at the station houses that were “catching the job”. The “watch” or “duty” officer in a multi-rig station usually knew the box numbers by heart but if not would look them up then pull the levers to release the horses to their rigs and alert the station. This box system is still used today in many cities except now it’s “plectron” tones and computer aided dispatch.

The system was also used to pass on certain news such as the passing of a firefighter. Depending on the municipality a service of 3-4 sets of 3 or 5 bells would be toned out signalling the passing of a firefighter. The same series of 3 or 5 would then be repeated at the funeral, often from the bell of the firefighters “mushine” but today usually from a stand-mounted bell.

With that in mind:

Attention all stations, Randy’s Reliable Updates signals box 5-5-5-5. Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt was memorialized today in San Jose.

The last box has been struck, you’ve caught your last call, your job is done and you are released, we’ve got it from here.