Opinion: Please keep the peace and celebrate safely this holiday weekend

ajc.com

OUR VIEW

As the nation celebrates its independence this weekend with fireworks and cookouts, it is time, yet again, to plead for calm.

It’s the same appeal we made just before Memorial Day, when we urged everyone to celebrate this summer without violence.

Apparently, that commonsense request fell on deaf ears.

Case in point:

It’s a hot Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. At a sub shop downtown, an angry customer pulls out a gun. When the shots end, one employee is killed, another seriously injured – all because of an argument over the amount of mayonnaise on a sandwich. A suspect arrested was free on bond when the shooting happened.

Another senseless tragedy.

Another grim statistic.

Another disturbing reminder that the city once too busy to hate is now held hostage by a horrifying spike in violent crime.

“It breaks my heart to know that someone has the audacity to point a weapon and shoot someone for as little as too much mayonnaise on a sandwich,” said Willie Glenn, the co-owner of the Subway shop where the shooting took place.

That is why we’re appealing – once again – to you.

As we wrote before the Memorial Day weekend, please do what you can to ensure cooler heads prevail, even when tempers flare and temperatures soar.

Please use words – and not bullets – to resolve disagreements.

Darin Schierbaum, Atlanta’s interim police chief, put it this way: “We need individuals to talk out their disputes, walk away and do not pick up guns.”

At the sub shop, zig-zagged in crime scene tape, where the deadly shooting took place, he added: “We can take down drug operations that breed violent crime; we can dismantle gang organizations that breed violent crime; we can stop robbery crews that breed violent crime. We cannot stop someone who is mad because there is too much mayonnaise on their sandwich.”

He’s right.

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that arguments are the leading cause of the homicides investigated by APD this year.

Which is why we said it at the start of the Memorial Day weekend – and why we’re saying it again, today:

Please relearn the fine art of walking away from heated arguments.

Please allow slights to pass without repercussion.

As you hit the roads or head to the lakes this holiday weekend, please be safe, wherever you are.

The Editorial Board.