In the city the most ordinary exercise in mundane futility can turn into near tragedy with a one second mistake. Drive through the city sometimes and actually watch what happens. People miss death and tragedy by seconds every day. Life in Sin City is built on near misses.

The Near Miss

guy sitting with bible versis

Taken with a cell because my camera is in the shop . This man can be seen from time to time on Las Vegas streets advertising his religion to the City of Sin. This is a little like arson kits to fire fighters but hey _ Royal Hopper

by Royal Hopper

As you drive down the busy Sin City byway, your brain on the blissful automatic setting that all city dwellers develop for the daily grind of life in the city you come to an intersection that should be safe.
The speed limit is slow on this street and there are many stop sings and traffic lights. It should be safe.


A photo of the neighbors Halloween decorations taken with my Alcatel because the camera is in the shop – Royal Hopper

As you pull to a stop at one normally peaceful and boring intersection on your way to the daily mortgage paying exercise you engage in by habit and necessity, your mind drifts away remembering the weird dream you had last night …the stupid thing you said at work because you haven’t slept worth a crap in weeks and the theme of the next blog you will write to keep your brain from turning to mush .
As the automatic part of your brain shifts gears looking up at the light to make sure it was still red …your eyes suddenly grow wide and your active brain screams to life with a surge of Adrenalin as one inattentive drivers creeps into the intersection to make an illegal turn and is stopped in its tracks by cars that jumped the light before it turned and are headed right towards it.
You draw a deep breath ready for the horrible sound of shreiking tires and the crash of metal on metal and the sirens of the fire and police and ambulance first responders that inevitably follow a tragedy in this city.
At the same time a cab driver ( a vegas cab driver mind you ) gets impatient at waiting at the intersection for the mini traffoc jam to clear up and floors it right at the time the car stuck in the intersection and for a second it seems a three car collission is unavoidable and right about that time a pedestrian jaywalks across the street behind the intersection and reaches the median just a a vehicle turns into the turn lane and looks for certain it is about to clip the pedestrian.

guy walking with cart

This is just a dude and his bike and his cart..Taken with my Alcatel because mu camera is in the shop…Photo by Royal Hopper

Reflexively you press your foot down on the break pedal and flinch turning your head away at the coming disaster …Then as you prepare to grab your phone and call EMS in case they somehow miss the inferno of mayhem that is about to happen ….turning your head and vberting your eyes but somehow unable to avoid watching …you see nothing ….
The impatient cab driver who seemed about to plow into the car stuck in the intersection missed them by inches veering slightly as he sped through the intersection. The car waiting to turn was finally able to turn and the car stuck between them crept across the intersection seemingly stunned by the close call . The pedestrian jumped up onto the median and stood waiting patiently for the light to turn ans perhaps regretting jay walking in a mixture of commuting casino workers and intoxicated tourists from Minnesota.

Just as quickly as it developed the near miss was over. No one even stayed around to flip the bird at the other motorists. They just went on their way to the next near miss.
You cant obsses about near misses and could have beens and almost was’s There are just to many of them to worry about each one. When near misses happens you suck in a breath of fresh air learn your lesson and move on… There is just to much to do
and if you thought to much about it you would never go outisde.

That is life in the City of Sin
Love you Sinners



I will depart from my usual stories about life in the City of Sin to look back at something that happened in a small town in Texas when I worked there at the hometown newspaper.


I remember standing on a street with the Chief of Police in a small Texas town waiting for a bomb to go off while a bomb squad flown in from Houston used a special piece of equipment to take it apart. The moral of this story is not what you would expect but this is how it started. What they found is what this blog is about. I have told this story before but it seems especially relevant today….

Orange Leader newspaper archives

Sometimes its a bomb and sometimes it isn’t

By Royal Hopper

One day while at my small dusty old desk at the Orange Leader one of the last real hometown newspapers in SE Texas sifting through piles of news releases. The paper (I don’t remember who got the call honestly) got a call from the office of the chief of police that there was a bomb threat at a local bank. Some genius whose name I don’t remember and wont mention even if I did had tried to rob a bank with what he said was a bomb.
When I stopped giggling I realized they were serious and grabbed a camera and a reporters notepad and jogged out to the parking lot.

I cant remember whether I walked or drove. The scene was a few blocks away from the 1964 vintage mold filled dusty neo modernist box of a news building the Leader occupied back then. When I got there the Orange Police Chief Sam Kittrell was there and the then Orange County Sheriff Mike White was somewhere around. ”


Just a random shot of a man and his phone

This guy had the misfortune of trying to rob a bank when police officers were nearby. He arrested the would be robber then took a look at the device he had used and decided it looked real. The departments leaders decided it looked real enough to call in an EOD team from Fort Polk an Army military base in nearby Louisiana. The EOD team arrived after a period of time and took a look at the device and decided it looked real enough that they should call in a certified police bomb squad from Pasadena, Texas a good 80 miles or so away.

The Pasadena squad was flown in….took a look at the device and decided it looked real enough that they needed a special piece of equipment from their offices in Pasadena. One designed to tear apart and disarm a bomb with a jet of high pressure water without setting it off.


Just a random shot of a Las Vegas sunrise – Royal Hopper

One of the Orange County Assistant DAs was a licensed pilot and owned or had access to a small plane. He flew one of the bomb squad back to Pasadena got the equipment and flew them back to Orange with this huge piece of machinery weighing down the small plane.

They landed got the equipment to the scene disarmed the bomb with a jet of high pressure water from a distance and then gathered round to see the results of their work see what exactly what this would be robber had threatened the bank in this Southeaast Texas berg with.

What they saw made a lot of people gasp >>>>sigh >>>>> and then perhaps giggle a little ..It was a can of spam with wires attached ..about as dangerous as lunch at a cheap diner….

This robber had committed a federal crime with lunch meat, a few dollars worth of wire and tape and an old tote bag….


This is not intended as sarcasm or politics just to make a point. The people I describe here are professional men and women who are intelligent, courageous, good at their jobs …They did the right thing. Thy were cautious and used the resources at hand to disarm what might have been a tragic o at least dangerous outcome.


This is a random shot of people on a Las Vegas street in 2014 ..or is it ??? _ Royal Hopper

I have told this story before but it seems especially relevant right now…. Sometimes the object the bad man has could be a can of spam with some wires attached to it and sometimes it could be a bomb …

That’s life
Love You Sinners

The City of Sin is in mourning. It is impossible to express the shock felt by the various communities in this city. Heartfelt empathy to the victims of Sunday’s mass murder and condolences to their families. Tears for those that are lost. Respect to the men and women of law enforcement in this city and a promise to those they protect . We are there for each other.
Blood banks turned away people from their doors becaue so many had volunteered . People donated water and food to survivors. This city has a heart…Dont doubt it for a minute…and it has big brass you know whats too.
There has beenĀ  much debate as to why this man did what he did but know this in the end the least of our citizens ..the poorest man on the street is better than this murderous evil ass who had money in the bank _ much more than most ….

cityscape (2).JPG

Sometimes things are not what they seem and sometimes they are……

by Royal Hopper

You see a lot of things in the city of sin if you pay attention
Driving down the street on your way to work you see two people standing by the road way one bending around closely examining something in his cupped hands while concealing it from passersby. His companion looks at him with confidence then smiles as the man bends back around facing her and holds the cupped item in his hands. She takes the item continuing to conceal it and turns her back to the traffic to conceal it and takes something else from her pockets and hands it back to the man who smiles and continues to conceal the item looking at it intently before concealing it in a coat pocket and hands the woman something ..perhaps money and concludes the deal with a surreptitious hand shake.

cave grafitti

110 year old graffiti in a cave in northern Nevada – Royal Hopper

The two seem pleased with themselves and stand unconcerned by the side of a busy Las Vegas commuter road ..until two of the City’s finest drive by in a clearly marked squad car.. The two scatter as the PD drives by being careful not to panic ans run so as to attract the attention of the PD…
Every day in the City of Sin you see players and wannabe players doing things they should not be and pretending to be angels or tourists flaunting the rules of a civilized society with every move they make.

homeless guy looking out at city

A homeless man with nothing is still a better man than the psycho who killed so many in Vegas Sunday – Royal Hopper

Sometimes you have to look twice at woman you are talking to because he might not be what she seems. The smiling purveyor who employs the woman you seek to rent for the night may be the one who robs you in the morning. A woman walks up to you at work and asks you where the lady’s room is .. Her or rather her voice is deep and she needs a shave..She is a dude…
You have to make sure your doors are closed .. When you go to bed because there are teams of thieves who do nothing but push on doors looking to steal your stuff …Everything is a hustle in the city and even the honest people are out to get your money ….
But !!!!!downtown from highway.JPG
Even in the City of Sin there are rules…rules to live by and one of the cardinal rules is everyone is here to have a good time .. you keep the game between the dont bring the game to innocents and you dont kill 60 innocents and wound 500 because you are pissed or depressed or for any reason….
I have never been a truly religious man Im not sure if there is a place where evil people go to be punished after deah …..but if somehow there is a place called hell.. If there is a place where the evil go to be punished then surely this evil POS in there ..reliving the horror he put all those people in from there point of view over and over again…Sometimes things are not what they seem and sometimes they are

That is life, death and tragedy and survival in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners stay strong .. We are not done by a long shot

mountain in utah.JPG