A Weapon of Mass Destruction. He Was Different. Atlanta, a Football Town.
Originally designed to allow the disabled to fire weapons with little effort, the “bump-fire stock” became a weapon of mass destruction last Sunday night. We can talk about the Constitution and gun control from now until eternity but the reality of Sunday night dictates that some higher level of regulation is needed, and needed now. While I am in full support of our right to bear arms, the ability to acquire weapons or accessories to turn firearms into automatic weapons needs to be controlled by federal and state authorities. I realize that sick human beings cannot be stopped from doing deadly damage but why give them relatively easy ways to fire automatic weapons? I don’t have the answers but some type of regulation can only help to stop these sad events from happening. It just so happened that after taking a look at other concert venues Stephen Paddock selected the annual country music festival that sets up behind the MGM Grand hotel. His motive was to kill as many people as possible, using various high-powered rifles with the “bump-fire stock” accessory allowing him to spray the crowd with continuous and automatic rapid fire. Though he selected Las Vegas, this tragedy could have happened anywhere.
He was not a mainstream musician nor was he a pretty-boy, hairband superstar. He was a talented musician who brought a different but very consistent sound to worldwide audiences. Tom Petty passing away last week was unfortunately swept under the media rug due to the Las Vegas tragedy, but all of us salute a man whose music was clearly unique, yielding admiration from most of his peers. Voted into the Music Hall of Fame in 2002, Tom Petty and his various bands will be missed. While a good bit of music can be replicated, it will be extremely difficult for anyone to match up to the various musical talents of Tom Petty. RIP.
Atlanta, in the past, has been called a disenfranchised city, divided by the poor, the middle class, and the wealthy. There seems to be a sentiment of division, with the allusion of “being north of I-20 or south of I-20”. There are the Buckhead and Alpharetta elite, the bedroom communities of Milton and East Cobb, and the blight in some areas of southwest and southeast Atlanta. The millennials have quickly amassed in the corridors of Midtown, Buckhead, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs due to the incredible amount of job opportunities provided by startups and technology positions from companies including NCR. Sports in Atlanta have never had the grassroots followers of franchises like the Packers, Islanders, Phillies and Celtics, with the media often alluding to Atlanta’s ‘fair-weather fans’. Along comes Atlanta United, a Major League Soccer franchise with no pedigree or legacy of a fan base. The process started with an incredible amount of hard work to research prospective fan bases and the effort to engage the millennials via social media and promotion. With the owner, Mr. Blank, provided the funding to support the required infrastructure, staff and player pool, Atlanta United has, for many reasons, become a thread of convergence for all communities of Atlanta. The sport, the event, and the team has “gone viral” and has quickly become a discussion not only with Atlanta’s media, but with worldwide news and sports outlets. Atlanta United announced that the October 22 match against league-leading Toronto will be sold out at with a Major League Soccer record attendance of 73,000. United’s combined home attendance, near 750,000, will top those for every National Football League team (note: NFL teams, to be clear, play half the number of home games). To put it in another perspective, United’s home attendance will exceed those of more than half the NBA and NHL teams. I have spoken to many people, many first-timers to watch Atlanta United and everyone has commented about the fun experience, the emotional tie-in to this team, and the many friends they have made at the game. Jersey sales lead the MLS and whoever thought wearing scarves in the warm weather of Atlanta was ridiculous was 100% wrong. From the head coach, who is a very tough, demanding manager, to the mix of players who quickly realized that if they didn’t work hard they would not play, to the fan experience staff who puts in long hours to ensure everyone has fun, this franchise has now turned the heads of the City and it’s media. Darren Eales and his staff are the sports executives of the year with every professional soccer club trying to figure out their business model that has led to United’s unprecedented success. Atlanta is now a football town – both footballs. Best case scenario for Atlanta sports fans: United makes it to the MLS final in early December….the Falcons get the Super Bowl in early February….and then we only have to wait a few weeks before the 2018 MLS season kicks off.
Adios and have a Funday Sunday!