Old Fourth Ward residents and commuters awoke this morning to a scene of cordoning tape and flashing police lights that was emblematic of problems that have plagued the Boulevard corridor for generations.
Another common sighting: news coverage that ties the scene of the crime—a fatal overnight shooting via rifle, at a Citgo gas station on Boulevard, per police—to Ponce City Market a half mile away.
Headlines are a tricky business where brevity and authority are key. And breaking news doesn’t always allow for critical analysis of a headline’s possible implications.
A spate of unsettling gunplay resulting in several homicides this year alone suggests that problems with the drug trade, poverty, and gangs still persist on Old Fourth Ward’s northern edge.
And more often than not, the identifiable tourist attraction that is Ponce City Market has been featured prominently in news reports about the recent bloodshed:
“Murder investigation underway at gas station near Ponce City Market” [Today]
“Shooting blocks from Ponce City Market turns fatal” [September 8]
“Drive-By Shooting Near Midtown’s Ponce City Market Injures Six” [June 27]
“Two Dead In Midtown Shooting Near Ponce City Market” [April 8]
Chances are good that most readers in metro Atlanta would immediately have a general idea about the location each report is referring to.
But could consumers of the news get the wrong impression the 1926 landmark—formerly a Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution hub that played a significant role in building and clothing the South in the 20th century—casts a shadow on some kind of war zone?
Is that fair, if so?
Nobody’s boohooing for a constantly packed, globally known mega-redevelopment where sandwiches can cost $15 and apartments with 500-something square feet fetch nearly $2,000 per month.
But it’s food for thought in a rapidly changing section of Atlanta—and quite possibly an instance of landmark status being a detriment, at least momentarily.