I am a proud native of the ATL, but today, not so much.
My company had out-of-town guests today, including one who came all the way from the UK. They joined my associates this evening for dinner at a popular establishment on Virginia Avenue in College Park.
The experience was ruined by having all of their cars broken into. This happened in the establishment’s private parking lot. Our group had laptops stolen, and our guest from the UK had his luggage and travel documents stolen – everything he brought with him.
An employee of the restaurant commented that perhaps the warning signs need to be bigger. This comment, while sad and insulting, is also revealing of our mindset. We have come to accept and expect.
Ironically, I learned of this while waiting for my luggage at Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with the recorded message of our new mayor welcoming visitors to our wonderful city playing in the background.
We can build impressive stadiums and court the likes of Amazon and Mercedes Benz to come to our city. However, if our city is rotting behind the shiny facade, what are we really?
Luckily, none of our group encountered or con- fronted these thugs. As we all know, it could have ended much worse. We can debate the social causes of crime all day, but that is of little comfort to the nameless victims in the poor crime infested neighborhoods. It is of little comfort to the beautiful, vibrant and hard-working young woman whose life was taken at restaurant she managed. Unfortunately the list of those who would take little comfort is shamefully long.
I am an eternal optimist and love my city. However, the business communities, the political leaders and the citizens of “metro” Atlanta need come together. There needs to be a popular uprising to eradicate this horrible cancer. I don’t care how you might identify yourself in terms of political or social ideology – this affects us all.
We cannot accept this as normal.
-Ben Callaway Newnan