It’s hard to imagine a time when Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor returns to normal lodging in Las Vegas — nor should people want to forget the site of the worst mass shooting in American history or its victims.
But the hotel portion of the Mandalay Bay resort has 3,309 rooms and continues to operate. At some stage, the fate of room 32-135, where the shooter holed up with his arsenal and fired from windows he shattered, must be determined.
"The hotel might want to consider sealing up Room 32-135, or even the entire floor, to avoid becoming a destination site for gawkers fascinated by its macabre history, some experts have suggested,” according to Reuters. “Officials facing similar decisions at the schools, churches and other places where mass shootings have taken place in recent years have gone in a variety of directions."
Reuters noted that some venues where horrific crimes occurred have been dismantled altogether, such as the San Bernardino, California community center where a husband and wife killed 14 in 2015. Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, where a shooter murdered 49 in 2016, remains closed and its owner has announced plans to turn it into a memorial. Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in 2012, was demolished and rebuilt. Mandalay Bay did not comment on its plans for the Reuters report.
One Mile at a Time blogger Ben Schlappig noted a variety of options available to the hotel: restore the room and return to selling it; not sell the room, and possibly even remove its number and seal it up; shut down the entire floor, recognizing it as a site that could either horrify or titillate; or perhaps repurpose the space for a new function.
As well, the Schlapping notes, “I doubt they’ll take this path, but they could set it up as a memorial that could be visited, but the logistics of that may be tough; it could be more practical to have a memorial elsewhere, in a more accessible area.”
He noted that turning a massive hotel into a memorial is a different prospect than doing so at the site of a nightclub.
“When we’re talking about a 3,000-plus room hotel, that can’t quite as easily be shut down and turned into a memorial. I’m not sure there’s a right answer,” he notes. “Personally I’m someone who is pretty 'sensitive' when it comes to what rooms I’ll stay in, for reasons way less significant than this… However, what happened in Las Vegas is on a completely different level, and wouldn’t just make someone 'sensitive' to this kind of stuff uncomfortable. I’ll be curious to see what decision MGM makes."
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