And now a Facepalm all the way from my hometown. Growing up in Las Vegas, you learn quickly that trashiness flows as freely as yard-long margaritas, and Parke Injury Law Firm’s billboard is no exception. “Injured while searching for dead bodies at Lake Mead? Demand Compensation!” If that doesn’t inspire confidence in your attorney, I don’t know what will.
So, let’s take a step back and dive a little deeper into the much shallower Lake Mead. America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead was created by the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. The dam provides hydroelectric power and water for much of the Southwest, and the lake offered a lovely recreation oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert. But for the last two decades, Lake Mead has been the most visible victim of a megadrought that has plagued the region and has dropped to a record-low 27% capacity. One scientist called this climate change-fueled draught a “slow-motion trainwreck” and the worst drought to hit the area in 1,200 years. For the 40 million people who depend on Lake Mead for power and water, this is grim. In fact, scientists believe that if the drought continues, the lake will reach “dead pool status.” This ominous term means that the water level will be too low to flow downstream and therefore unable to power the generators of Hoover Dam.
With the dramatic recession of the shoreline, many sunken treasures have surfaced from the inky depths – speedboats, ghost towns, and of course, dead bodies. To pile on to the all-you-can-eat buffet of craziness that is Vegas, at least five sets of human remains have been discovered since the great dry-up began, and authorities believe at least one was likely a Mafia hit. This poor soul was killed sometime in the 70s or 80s, stuffed in a 50-gallon drum, and dumped into the water.
Now, back to our tongue-in-cheek attorney. Steven Parke says his billboard was meant to be ironic, a poke at “the idea of the greedy attorney mixed with the person who doesn’t want to accept any responsibility for anything they’ve done…which is very timely today.” Many have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure at the Billboard, pointing out that Parke looks exactly like the sleazy, Saul Goodman-esque ambulance chaser he is trying to parody. Perhaps what Mr. Parke has forgotten in his attempt at humor was that these “dead bodies” are people who have been missed by their families for decades. But really, this story is about more than just one attorney ironically not seeing the irony in his own irony – it’s about the giddiness of distraction from the real issues. Climate change and drought have dropped Lake Mead to levels of impending catastrophe. Any chuckles we get out of that now won’t seem so funny when the power is out on the Las Vegas Strip.
And that’s a facepalm for all of us.