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Oscar Goodman's Wish: 'May Vegas stay Vegas' after shooting

Getting a pro team was one of Oscar Goodman's first priorities as a new mayor [Jeff Gillan | KSNV]

Few mayors in the country were identified by one name, and few cities in America were ever such a good fit for the person leading it.

On Wednesday, just ten days after the worst mass shooting in America a few miles away from his office, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman reflected on the massacre and what it means for the city he led for 12 years.

“My wife got the phone call. I'd heard her say 'oh my God,” Oscar told me.

His wife, Carolyn, succeeded Goodman in 2011.

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The shooting, which happened in the county, impacted her city, too. It was an earthquake for all of Southern Nevada.

“She spent the whole night out, going from hospital to hospital. She was amazed at how these trauma centers were working at all of these hospitals – UMC, Sunrise, Valley. Wherever she went, they were the best in the world,” he says.

Besides the 58 dead, the number of wounded approached 500. Virtually every ER in the valley swung into action that Sunday night.

Those doctors and nurses stopped the worst mass shooting in American history from getting even worse.

So did police, and ambulance drivers, and hotel security guards.

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Ordinary citizens stood for hours at blood banks, giving the nation a very different view of the place they call "Sin city."

“We always had to overcome that and had a bit of an inferiority complex because people looked at us because we are different, and I think we surprised them as to how kind, empathetic and decent we are,” Goodman says.

So now what?

Does Las Vegas change?

Do resorts become armed camps?

“I hope we don't change the way we do business. I think we do just fine here. We love life in Las Vegas. We love to celebrate in Las Vegas. We love to have fun in Las Vegas. And I don’t want to rob us because that would be what sick people like this guy (referring to shooter Stephen Paddock) want to happen,” says Goodman. “That’s what terrorists do: they make you change your lifestyle.”

Goodman says a security crackdown would be an overreaction.

And talk about now screening hotel guests?

“I hope not. I hope that there's no screening of guests really,” says the former mayor. “Look what 19 people did who were involved in 9/11. 19 people. Changed the whole way we do business: airports, TSA, just a different way of thinking about things. 19 people created that.”

Security experts say the shooting will force a reevaluation of how visitors and locals are kept safe, especially at big public events.

Given the fact the shooter was able to bring an arsenal into his Mandalay Bay hotel room, experts also say the shooting will force resorts to more carefully monitor and screen guests.

Goodman now has a job at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He’s an ambassador for the city, greeting guests, welcoming conventions and continuing to be a highly-recognized face of Las Vegas.

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“I know that the convention authority is critical at this point in time because we have to make sure the message gets out there to keep the tourists, which is the lifeblood to our economy, coming here. That’s critical,” says Goodman.

He does not think the shooting will keep conventions and tourism away.

He says evil happens anywhere.

His hope?

“Let's not let this one man ruin the beauty of Las Vegas. The freedom. The fact that we do have a good time and that we enjoy ourselves,” he says.

And that's Oscar's message: May Las Vegas, remain Las Vegas.

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