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(Left to Right) Peter Tarlow, Chris Jones, Carolyn Goodman, Paul Goldenberg, Tod Story and Salam Al Marayati discuss the possibility of terrorism in Las Vegas. (Photo by Stephanie Santana)
(Left to Right) Peter Tarlow, Chris Jones, Carolyn Goodman, Paul Goldenberg, Tod Story and Salam Al Marayati discuss the possibility of terrorism in Las Vegas. (Photo by Stephanie Santana)

UNLV Hosts Town Hall Discussing Counter-Terrorism in Las Vegas

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“There’s nothing worse than living in fear,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said March 10 at a Town Hall event about terrorism in Las Vegas.

The event was hosted by commentator Mark Hyman and broadcast live on KSNV from UNLV. A panel of experts talked about the potential for a terrorism event locally, and the community’s readiness for such an emergency.

“Las Vegas is an international symbol,” says Peter Tarlow, founder of the international security firm Tourism and More. “It would not only cause major damage to the city, but to the whole nation if a potential attack happens.”

Other panelists included Mayor Goodman, Metropolitan Police Capt. Chris Jones, American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story, Muslim Public Affairs Council President Salam Al Marayati and Secure Community Network of the Jewish Federations of North America Director Paul Goldenberg.

The “See Something, Say Something” program was highly recommended by these panelists to practice not only by locals but also by tourists.

Hyman stated that one definition of terrorism is threat, but with this program the panelists hope that citizens feel that their voice is important and will be a great help.“It’s about empowerment, not fear,” says Goldenberg.

Technology plays a big role in a person’s way of life and in the security of Las Vegas. It definitely plays a big role in the surveillance of this city. The idea of security cameras watching your every move might sound a little over the top but this can also make someone feel secure. According to Goldenberg, surveillance should start at home. He encourages parents to watch their kids and also to teach them the idea of “see something, say something.”

Although funding for the homeland protection of the city is a little low, Jones and Goodman assured the audience that there is excellent manpower that will protect the city. “We have a very robust JTTF (Joint Tourism Task Force),” Jones stated. The panelists also stated that there is a good relationship between the federal and local task force when it comes to communicating about potential threats.

Jones also agreed with Marayati about how media plays a big role in society. It sensationalizes a lot of simple perceptions thus it can easily make or break a community. “I believe that would go a long way if they would start covering more of the good things that go on, rather than just when something bad happens,” says Jones.

“I thought there were some really knowledgeable people,” says audience member Howard Watts. He also states that he would love to have another town hall event that would focus more on local issues. As a UNLV alumni, he recommends students participate in these events. “I think it would be great to go to these things. It was very informative,” says Watts.

The emcee for the town hall was Sinclair Broadcast Group commentator Mark Hyman. It was held in Greenspun Hall as a collaborative effort with the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

 

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