I just spent a few days in Las Vegas with Paul for a convention. This was my second time there. I don’t mean to insult anyone who “loves” Vegas but, seriously, I feel like I need to have a two-hour bath in Holy Water to get the spiritual grime off.
True, there is some pretty impressive architecture. The hotels are mouth-dropping (in more ways than one), the food is delectable, and there are many really cool places to discover.
My big “however” is that the place is a cesspool of debauchery. It seems like, among other things, there is this thick spirit of anti-shame there. It dulls the mind and makes people feel NOTHING. Regular guys who, in their own environment, might be respectful to women and even feel compelled to protect a young girl who is obviously being exploited, gawked at, groped at, and ultimately torn apart by a culture of greed, disrespect, and general lewdness—actually join in on the “fun”.
It feels as though you are surrounded by people who have been moonblinked (reference: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.)
Businessmen getting on the plane to depart Sin City seem to have lost their God-given drive to protect and instead are openly looking at female flight attendants and passengers like they’re commodities. Candy. Worthless.
When I go into places like this, I want to be a light in the darkness. I often feel like a candle trying to burn in a room that has no oxygen.
We walked the streets on Monday night, just the two of us. A teenaged girl dressed in next-to-nothing stood on a sidewalk, offering to have her picture taken next to any man who wanted to stand next to her—put his arm around her—maybe cop a feel. Her mother stood to the side with a jar for payment.
A middle-aged woman, with faded makeup and grown-out roots, sat to the side of a glass-walled bridge with a cardboard sign saying, “Help me.”
And then another. And then another.
I want to take them all home.
I want to rescue them. Embrace them. Remind them of who they were once. Who they still are, somewhere deep inside.
I want to feed them. I want to give them water and safety. I want to give them love like they have never encountered.
And there are thousands of them.