People living under the strip won’t get my pity.


Steve and Kathryn

As many as a secret community of 700 people are living in the dark and dirty flood tunnels below the strip! This is quite disturbing to me.  Despite the unsanitary living conditions, poisonous spiders and diseases, they have to worry about being washed away when occasionally there is rain.  There are 350 miles of flood channels running under Las Vegas filled with muck, and garbage, and dirty syringes.  It’s not a home, it’s as flood tunnel.  There have been 20 drownings reported.

Steven and girlfriend Kathryn’s base – under Caesar’s Palace casino – is one of the most elaborate. They even have a kettle and a makeshift shower fabricated out of an office drinking water dispenser.  They don’t work.  They loiter in casinos and take slot credits left behind by drunk patrons.   A lot of their belongings, including their bed are on crates to keep it from getting wet.  They even have a “tunnel” art gallery.  Interesting, maybe I will take a trip down there to try to find it.  Would anybody like to come along with me?

Under Caesar’s is one of the creepier areas of the storm drain system. Very remote, wet … extremely dark.  This is the perfect environment . . . to make a heroin addict.

Steven moved into the tunnels two years ago after he lost his hotel front-desk job due to a heroin problem he claims he kicked in January.

“We work our way down the strip. The most I’ve ever found is 997 dollars on one machine. I’ve found about $500 a few times. But normally $20 or so is enough to call it a night.”  This is actually illegal and casinos will stop you and have you arrested for stealing now.

The illusion many of these drug users and mentally unstable “ground dwellers” create are unhealthy.  They’re recluses that deny help or any social services, and won’t accept help with their drug addictions, which is the main reason most of the people are living down there.  It gives a whole new definition to rock bottom.   Emerging from the tunnel can be intimidating.   Most of them are previously, or currently alcohol and drug abusers.  Cops don’t go down there because it’s too dangerous.  Out of sight out of mind?  Choosing to ignore it is wrong.  We don’t ignore dangerous terrorists.  What this reminds me of (in an extreme way) is the Hawaii Police force pushing the homeless to the ends of the island.   Once they’re there they don’t really care what they do.  These people like living down here because they are free to do what they want, and they feel a false sense of invincibility from the law.

Most people would think it’s sad, but I think they choose to live this way. It’s the “American Dream” to live in America.  There are limited social programs that can help with food and housing, and you can still live in a section 8 housing.  I have known drug users to prefer hustling $20 just to feed their drug habit  and never eat.  And sleep on the sidewalk.  They chose to never have the responsibility of a job, pay taxes, or work hard for that dollar.  So they unfortunately never get to live the “American Dream.”  As a recovered drug user, I understand what it feels like to encapsulate yourself in fantasy to justify some kind of reason in your mind, but this is just too extreme.  These people don’t have my pity, they chose to live their lives like this.  They’ve cleaned up other cities with similar problems like New Yorkers in the Subway System, and tunnels in LA as well.  I think they should clean it out and require these people get mental treatment.  Living under there can’t be healthy for your mental wellness.

Hey! I’m going to move to “Storm Drain Casablanca,” who’s coming with me!

“And last time I was down there, I actually saw some blankets and teddy bears and stuff, which gave me the impression that a young kid was living down in there.” That is horrible!  A parent should never submit their child to these types of living conditions.  And if there is a teddy bear down there and no child living down there, I don’t even want to know why!  This reminds me of Final Fantasy XI when all the people live underground. LOL!  It must smell like a sewer.

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day”.-Frank Sinatra

xoxo

Kristie Manning

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