Free-Fire Zone: Atlanta

Six attacks in two months.  Cars stolen, people shot and neighborhoods living in constant fear of attack.

Baghdad?  Sri Lanka?  Zimbabwe?

Not hardly.

At and near the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, students and local residents have been dealing with muggings and robberies for months.  Despite an increased police presence in the area, the Georgia Tech campus has become a haven for criminal activity.  In the past, Georgia State students (who study just blocks from the state Capitol) faced attacks from panhandlers, muggers and robbing crews.

UPDATED: WSB Radio is reporting more violence last night, even as Atlanta PD makes a show of force and after several arrests.  Two masked men attacked a student and demanded his cell phone, also took his bag and laptop.

The Atlanta City and Fulton County governments, desperate to control their 2009 budgets, cut funding for emergency services by cutting police hours and closing fire departments, who are now being asked to tackle and stop the attacks.  Locals have been shot near the campus.  Arrests have been made and yet the attacks continue.

It’s not hard to figure out why: Georgia, like most states, prohibits the carrying of weapons (including guns) by anyone but police on college and other educational campuses.  This leaves the students defenseless against those for whom the law is merely something to be dealt with after being arrested.  Thousands of students are protected by a few dozen police officers who, though capable, can’t be everywhere at once.

Georgia Tech, it would seem, has become a free-fire zone.

The reason for all of this is simple:  Muggers, robbers and carjackers aren’t looking to shoot people.  Criminals are inherently lazy:  They want an easy target.  Shooting is only required if the victim fights back, and otherwise generally happens by accident or if the criminal is just a sociopath.  So the criminals go someplace where they know the people will be unarmed: College campuses, where law-abiding citizens refrain from carrying or even possessing guns.

The criminals don’t care about the law.  They only care about taking something that rightfully belongs to somebody else.

Gun-free zones simply don’t work.  They didn’t work in Paducah.  They didn’t work in Columbine.  They didn’t work at Virginia Tech and the don’t work now at Georgia Tech.