WhatHappensInLasVegasWhat happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. Catchy phrase with all that it implies.

I’m not a prude; I’ve traveled the world and witnessed man at his best, and at his worst. I’m alarmed, however, when I see the results of what Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once referred to as “defining deviancy down.” The public tolerance of intolerable behavior.

Thirty years ago I expended a weekend in Las Vegas. Won 22 cents at a penny slot machine and quit, determined to come home a true winner. Casinos don’t become palaces on the backs of winners.

I hadn’t returned until this year when Publisher Dan Case and I attended the Western Writers of America conference. Deviancy has definitely been defined down in “Sin City.”

Bumper to bumper traffic congests The Strip, interspersed among which are buses and giant “poster trailers” advertising Girls! Girls! Girls! Most of whom wear not much more than a come hither smile.

Lovely girls are waiting to meet YOU. Call 1-800. . .”

“Hot phone sex. 24 Hours. Call 1-800. . .”

It seems public video screens on nearly every corner previewing what goes on inside is enough to make even me blush—and I’m a former paratrooper who has seen sin dins all over the world.

Garish newsstands pedal “hook-up” publications and directions to the nearest “rabbit ranch.”

Hookers parade the streets. Drunks stagger from club to club and casino to casino. Throngs of people are laughing and reveling and having one hell of a good time. Which is absolutely fine. I’m not against a good time. I’m certainly not against beautiful women.

What prompts my rant, what compels me to consider how Western Civilization may indeed be on the decline is that Las Vegas, famously considered a getaway for adults, has become “a family destination.” Among the masses of people, the hookers, the nudie videos and displays, the drunks and dopers and chronic gamblers, among the detritus of what is affectionately called “Sin City” appear entire families. Mom and Dad pushing three-year-old Johnny in a stroller, followed by the rest of the brood like little ducks. Kids and families are everywhere in the middle of the Las Vegas night.

Okay. So adults come to Sin city. But why, why, would you bring your kids?

What happens in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas.

“It isn’t civility to remain silent; it’s cowardice. The disintegration of culture begins with conditioning people to accept everything in silence…” From Going Bonkers: The Wacky World of Cultural Madness, by Charles W. Sasser. Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.