EDITORIAL: Where is the leadership, the respect, the post 9-11 security infrastructure?

America’s pleasuredome has been attacked. And America is waiting for answers.

It has been over a decade since an apparent terror attack has hit U.S. soil. Today, it appears we may have another one.

Where is the State Department and the Secretary of State and where is the entire security infrastructure that was established beginning on Sept. 12, 2001 at a cost of trillions of dollars, thousands of military lives and millions of American jobs as we prepared to fight terror if it ever again landed on our shores?

The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and even the president who finally killed Osama Bin Laden have been more concerned with the Mike Skapes issue and securing the border with Mexico that with Las Vegas, when there is no evidence that anything in Las Vegas had anything to do with Mexico?

Missing is any practical instruction to the people of the West on the  steps to take for personal safety, any information on the deployment of the billions of dollars worth of Homeland Security-funded equipment that is standing at the ready in cities across the nation or any announcement of what this attack means or who is behind it.

Is this a Vegas-style Timothy McVeigh, mad at the way the cards fell in “The Office” at the Bellagio one night? Is this the Western strategy of Al-Quaida, finally enacted 11 years after the Los Angeles targets were scrapped? Is this a Russian mafia-backed attack? Why, despite the coincidence of an attack on the same day in Acapulco, Mexico, is Las Vegas open? Are the attacks connected? Who are the suspicious drivers that are being sought?

We have a Homeland Security agency established to answer these questions and coordinate efforts between FBI, CIA, FEMA, states and other assets and still the people of Las Vegas have no answers.  In the next two weeks, 57,000 Americans are scheduled to visit conventions in Las Vegas (if they have not been cancelled already). So this is an attack on the Bellagio, America’s playground, and as such, an attack on the 50 states.

In this case, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” is not the answer. We need leadership, information and action behind what we have built as our alleged “Homeland Security” bulwark.

The President, the Secretary of State, the leadership of the Department of Defense are either not engaging their responsibility or in fact, reaching in where they have no responsibility. The Las Vegas police, who capably handled the MGM Grand Fire on Nov. 21, 1980, can handle a hotel fire with a body count of about 100. Is there even a Homeland Security crisis in Vegas or should we call the reach-in?

And this raises the question of the position into which the Department of Homeland Security has placed every Spanish speaker and Latino within 150 miles of Las Vegas. In Las Vegas alone, 30 percent of the 564,484 residents are Latino or Hispanic, according to Census data.

That’s 169,573 “suspicious drivers” within a 0-mile ratio of the city… not to mention who happens to be 45 miles down the Amboy Road.

And as Los Angeles, 9.8 million people strong, just 266 miles from Las Vegas, is 47 percent Latino, the 10 should be at a standstill as the potential Bellagio bombers try to get to the mall or the movies and are stopped.

A total of 15.1 percent of the entire U.S. population fits the bill of a suspicious driver with the information we have, a flimsy eyewitness report that the Bellagio gunmen were speaking Spanish and the fact that two gunmen killed were Americans from Texas with Latin surnames has the border on watch, the National Guard nationalized and every brown-skinned person west of the Mississippi staying home in fear.

This is not what we paid trillions for. It is not what we went to Afghanistan and then Iraq for. It is not what Marines have done six tours for. This is not what we bear up under The Patriot Act in a filthy Hobbesian bargain for the safe underbelly of Leviathan that keeps us from jumping from the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center for.

Bellagio was built on the site of The Dunes, one of the largest and most famous hotels on the Vegas Strip, built with money from the Outfit, co-owned by Howard Hughes, home away from home to Frank Sinatra. Today it stands in ruins, its cash cages charred, stoked with burning Benjamins, its fountains running pink with blood and our nation without an answer, advice or a call to action.

President Obama, it is time be the Chairman of the Board.


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