Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh Atlanta!

No, I'm not referring to the Little Feat song of the same name (although it is on my all time list of good tunes) but to something a little less pleasant. Make that a lot less.

I love the Atlanta area and have spent my entire 44 years living here, splitting my time evenly between residing in-town and dwelling in the northwestern suburbs. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Like most other large metropolitan areas, Atlanta has its problems with traffic congestion, crime, and an ever-growing population, but the great weather, generally low tax rates, and, for the most part, pretty nice people combine to make this a pretty pleasant place to live.

Commuting here can be an adventure, as the traffic congestion can rival that of Los Angeles at times. I have had some pretty brutal commutes myself, one of which entailed a 1.5 to 3 hours it required to make the 22 mile trip home every afternoon, depending on the number of accidents you had to navigate around. Needless to say, the secret to quality of life here is to live as close to your employer as you possibly can. Still, life is pretty good here in Hotlanta.

Metropolitan Atlanta has historically been a swift-growing area, and construction projects have been a fact of life here as far back as I can remember. If it isn't roads, its schools, residential and commercial subdivisions, apartment complexes, condos, shopping malls, and the occasional sports arena. Most of the time, it is all of the above. Most natives long ago learned to live with it. For many newcomers, it takes a while to adjust.

Like most growing areas around the nation, we have had an influx of illegal aliens, as the construction industry and its related employment opportunities have, up until recently, been rather plentiful. I started noticing it in my area around 2003, when my morning stops at my local QuikTrip to fill my 24 oz. stainless steel coffee mug with their excellent steaming-hot Colombian brew began to remind me of defending the line at the Alamo. It seems to have reached its peak in 2007, as there appears to be fewer of them around these days, as much of the construction in this area has dried up for the time being.

To be honest, I am not the consumer of local news that I once was. I stopped reading the Atlanta Journal-Constitution back in the mid 1990's, as it had truly become the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation by that time, that when it wasn't trying to be the Al Jazeera Urinal-Constipation.

I have also drifted away from local TV news coverage. I mean, just how many gruesome murders, bodies found floating in the 'hooch (that's the Chattahoochee River for those of you who aren't from here) and apartment fires can one take in a lifetime? I bagged my limit about five years ago.

Yesterday, a story came out in USA Today that caught me a little off guard. In fact, I wasn't even aware of it until I heard Mark Levin discussing it on his radio show. Color me embarrassed.

The majority of the Mexicans that have "immigrated" here over the years are decent, hard working people looking to earn an "honest" living (even though they are by definition, criminals.) However, it appears some who have snuck into our country along with their fellow Mexicans did so for a very different reason-the drug trade, and surprisingly have set up shop here in Atlanta.

Rival drug cartels, the same violent groups warring in Mexico for control of routes to lucrative U.S. markets, have established Atlanta as the principal distribution center for the entire eastern U.S., according to the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center.

You can read the entire USA Today report here.

Pretty scary stuff.

Of course, this would not be a growing problem here in Atlanta, or anywhere else, if our federal government would do more than just pay lip-service to enforcing our immigration laws. Sadly, it appears neither party is willing to do that.

Once word of this spreads, I expect the local firearms dealers are about to see yet another boost in sales, as if they weren't busy enough as it is.

Looks like, once again, I am in the wrong business.

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When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson