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Knee-jerk reaction to bar problems - Greg Gelpi

Some people are horrible drivers, so let's ban driving. Let's rip their driver's licenses right out of their hands.

The move will immediately transform earth into utopia. Hunger will end. Pain will cease. Life will be perfect.

Makes sense, right?

That's similar to the logic being used to rationalize closing bars earlier in parts of Atlanta.

Because of a few let's punish the lot. A quick signing of a law will destroy hate and violence. The world will suddenly be a wonderful place, free of violence.

Criminals by definition commit crimes. I'm the constant optimist, but I don't see people with the passion and anger to kill or commit violent crime saying "Oops it's 2 a.m. I better not break the law."

I understand the urgency of taking some action, but a knee-jerk response such as this won't address the problem.

The easiest solution isn't necessarily the best solution.

And in this case, the proposed time change fails to even address the problem.

How would two hours of less socializing and partying reduce violence? Will guns suddenly disappear after 2 a.m., or will victims become invincible at that magic time?

It reminds me of back home, when the parish initiated a curfew for teens. It amazed me. Lawmakers established the law because of juvenile delinquents committing senseless acts of vandalism and violent acts.

If these criminals feel no sense of legal or social responsibility to obey more serious laws, then why would they obey the curfew law?

The same holds true for closing bars early in Atlanta.

I'm not a wild man, hopping from bar to bar, so this doesn't affect me directly. The economic impact, though, does affect many.

The time change hits the nightlife scene at its heart. Few go out and party at lunchtime. They wait until after work and well into the night.

The proposal would also hurt some workers, including local artists. For instance, musicians rely on playing these venues all hours of the night.

As part of the Metro Atlanta region, all of the counties in and around Atlanta have a vested interest in the safety and economics of the city.

Unfortunately, I don't have the answer, but I do know that this isn't it. This is the classic red herring. Rally support behind this cause, touting it as the solution to all of the world's problems, all the while the real problem is never directly addressed.

Greg Gelpi covers educational issues for the News Daily and can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247 or at ggelpi@news-daily.com.