A certainty, and some speculations and opinions about last Sunday eveningBy Jeffrey Compton, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 7, 2017 at 1:00 pmAs almost everyone knows, the CDC Gaming Reports editorial team and I were chest-deep at G2E last week, but that did not prevent me from continually reading, hearing, watching and thinking about the tragedy of Sunday evening on the south Strip. I did not know anyone who was killed or hurt, thankfully, though a good friend was at the concert. I can’t begin to fathom her experience.The following morning when I met with the team – all safe, thank God – I stressed it was not our job to cover the actual tragedy. Other news organizations would do that. Our job was to cover G2E – and, when appropriate, how the show and its participants were affected (which occurred in many ways). But we couldn’t help thinking and talking about it, especially considering we were sharing a media room with the best news writers from a variety of news organizations. I did not come away from those discussions with an overwhelming conclusion, but instead an assortment of certainty, mixed with some speculation and opinion.Certainty: At this time in the United States, it is perfectly legal and relatively simple for someone, who may have undiagnosed mental illness or a yet-to-be detected affiliation to terrorist organizations, to purchase a large cadre of dangerous weapons and ammunition in a very short time.I don’t think that anyone in America disagrees with the above statement, but say it in a bar or post it on Facebook and you get the same tired reactions. From the left, the tone is roughly: “As long as the NRA is run by crazies who want to kill everyone they don’t like, especially minorities, nothing can be done.” From the right, it’s usually some variation on: “America would all be safer if we all carried firearms! The first thing the Nazis did was take away their citizens’ guns!”There is the problem. Both sides look at each other through stereotypes (Coastal Elites vs. Middle American Rednecks), neither side trusts one another, and thus they are incapable of discussing how to address the above certainty without fear of losing something important. And there is always the slippery slope argument, an asinine defense used by both the right and the left.Those of us in the middle are stuck waiting for the next tragedy. I am a single male with a strong family history of mental illness – more on that later – so I choose not to own a gun. But I do realize that many good people own firearms for reasons of protection, for hunting, as a hobby or even something as relatively milquetoast as historical interest. Guns are a part of their lives, as much as theatre and classical music are a part of my life, or watching sports is part of my best friend’s life. And the vast, vast majority of gun owners have never hurt anyone.Speculation: Las Vegas will survive this incident intact – but not a second incident.Several news organizations have commented that Las Vegas appears to have bounced back. Maybe it has. Personally, I think it’s way too soon to tell. But it will not survive a second incident without a serious visitation and economic downturn. We have read, and CDC has posted, several stories about increased security and other actions by the individual resorts, even though their options are limited. No service establishment – no restaurant or hotel, and certainly not a large casino resort – can be expected to make mental health assumptions of their guests, and then deny services or choices (such as a room on a high floor overlooking a concert venue) to those guests based on those assumptions.There are, however, some glimmers of silver in this dark cloud. Nevada was founded (and is still substantially populated) by rural citizens. It is also home to the largest hospitality industry in the country. We are in a good place to address viable legal solutions to this threat. Forty years ago, Las Vegas led the country in addressing hotel safety after two deadly fires. No industry is more familiar with identifying and assisting customers in trouble more than the gaming industry.Opinion: In trying to answer an impossible question, the media has come to incorrect conclusions regarding the shooter’s gambling habits and his introverted lifestyle.(In discussing this thought, I confer considerable information about my personal and family mental health history. This is not to gather sympathy, but to validate a perspective as well as offer a basis for my conclusions.)Anyone who was close to a suicide victim knows that you will never completely answer the question “why?” Those left behind will never know what, if anything, they could have done to prevent it. I have had two suicides in my family, both step-brothers, over the past twenty years, and I do not think that even suicide victims could completely answer those questions. But in a competitive effort to answer the unanswerable, the media has come to some bad conclusions: because he played a great deal of high-stakes video poker and kept to himself (didn’t have a lot of friends or close relations with his family) those around him, including casino staff and management, and society as a whole should have seen this tragedy coming.In a recent interview in New York magazine, my colleague Anthony Curtis drove a stake through the theory that this tragedy was associated with compulsive gambling, so I will tackle the equally spurious “loner” theory.I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Although there are many levels, varieties, and shadings of Asperger’s, two of the most frequent indicators are a limited social arena (we may have a few close friends, but do not enjoy large groups or parties) and limited, but deep, interests. I could identify all the US states at 4, recite the Presidents of the United States in chronological order at ten, and the Kings of England, dating back to William the Conqueror, at 14. I have seen over 2,000 arts performances in my life and visited more than a hundred art museums, but I have no idea what a tight end does in football. I am spending my weekend-after-G2E alone – by choice – watching Britbox and loving every minute of it. Asperger’s is not a handicap, it is a variation. And that variation has never caused anyone to commit mass murder on the Las Vegas Strip or anywhere else.However, my late brother Bill, an internationally known mental health advocate, had schizophrenia. Oversimplified, he heard voices. Drawing on what I know about my brother’s experiences, and the knowledge he passed on to me, I think that the shooter may have been schizophrenic. According to his girlfriend, the shooter would lie in bed moaning and screaming, and I have also heard from several valid Las Vegas casino sources that the shooter was a heavy drinker (many untreated schizophrenics self-medicate using alcohol or drugs).This is complete conjecture on my part, I’ll admit, and we will never know exactly, but it does appear to me that the shooter (my refusal to type his name is intentional) had un-diagnosed mental illness, which brings me back to my only certainty: At this time in the United States, it is perfectly legal and relatively simple for someone, who may have undiagnosed mental illness or a yet-to-be-determined affiliation to terrorist organizations, to purchase a large cadre of dangerous weapons and ammunition in a very short time.In recent American history, millions of lives have been saved due to unified actions to decrease smoking and drunken driving. Yes, some people lives were inconvenienced, and yes, some freedoms were taken away, and yes, some businesses (especially in Nevada) were hurt – but we got through it, and today’s benefits far outweigh yesterday’s downside.Can’t the United States do it again with the issue of guns and mass murder?As the song says in my favorite musical, Ragtime: We’ll never get to heaven till we reach that day!