The Atlanta metro area suffered a siege led by a guy named Sherman back in the mid-‘60s. That’s 1860s. This time the “siege” is a massive new crime wave. Back then, the criminals all wore blue uniforms. Today, you’re more likely to see criminals in oversized T-shirts, pants down below their butt crack, and baseball caps on askew.
Every day’s news is filled with stories of car-jackings, daring daylight burglaries of homes, bank robberies and drive-by shootings. And Atlanta-after-dark is even more exciting. Murders are becoming so common that they are not the lead story on the evening news. Oh, no. The news directors think that gangs of thugs smashing through the front door of a blue jeans boutique and carrying out the inventory is more horrific than the loss of life. That probably has to do with the fact that there is security camera footage of the robbery, which can be shown on TV. Whereas, even footage of a murder would not be shown on TV. A visual medium will always default to a visual story.
It’s gotten to the point that it’s not safe to go to a gas station or through a fast-food drive-thru any more, as criminals are car-jacking people as they wait for their gas or food.
This past week, the CBS TV affiliate here in Atlanta has led its 6:00 newscast each night with the headline story, “Atlanta: A City Under Siege.” They stuck their microphones and cameras in the faces of Mayor Shirley Franklin and Police Chief Richard Pennington and demanded to know what THEY were going to do about this crime wave.
One of the big concerns voiced by the politicians is that Atlanta was going to become known as an unsafe city, which would affect the convention business negatively.
Really. That seemed to be their big worry.
The mayor and police chief have stated “No Comment” about this issue. The city of Atlanta is facing monstrous deficits and are cutting services and laying off workers at a dizzying pace. That includes police and fire personnel. The city has closed police and fire stations city-wide. Then, a couple weeks ago, the city council voted to increase property taxes by about 40% to generate some revenue. Even with the added revenue, Atlanta will not double its police force. And doubling the force would not make Atlantans more safe.
I’ve watched the media coverage of this crime wave pretty carefully. In nearly every incident, the criminals strike at unarmed targets. Rarely is there a story about a crime victim who is armed and either thwarts the crime, or shoots the perpetrator.
The TV stations seem to expect the city fathers to flood the streets with police officers, which is their stated solution to “protect us.”
One of the TV stations compared New York’s police presence with Atlanta’s force. Generally, there are 300 cops in New York for every 100,000 persons. Atlanta has about 150 per 100,000. This was supposed to bolster their assertion that more cops on the streets would make Atlanta safe.
But, as most thinking people know, police don’t protect the citizenry. They sometimes investigate crimes that have already occurred. The rest of the police seem to prey on the citizens in an effort to write tickets and raise money for the city.
The TV stations are not really serious about the safety of the metro area. But they are serious about the perception of a police presence that is supposed to make us believe we are more safe. The reason I can say this is that the TV talking heads NEVER recommend to viewers that they buy a gun and become proficient in its use. On the contrary. They want to see less firearms, not more.
However, forget the gun laws for a moment and just switch over to common sense and basic human action. If you are a person who has the intent to either steal from or assault another person, whom are you most likely to pick…an armed person or an unarmed person? Except in rare cases, the perpetrator will choose an unarmed person.
The greatest public service that the TV stations could do for the safety of the entire Atlanta metro area, some 5 million souls…is to vigorously promote gun ownership and responsible use of firearms. Criminals watch TV too. It would not take too long to change the perception of criminals that people are easy targets.
Advertising is advertising. If you see my message to buy a product often enough, it will change your perception about it. Coca-Cola knows this. McDonalds knows this. Likewise about firearms for protection.
What I would like to see is as many public service spots about firearms use for protection as we saw for the Congress-forced switchover to digital TV. After a while, honest citizens would change and so would criminals.
More guns in the hands of honest citizens would cause the crime surge to plummet.