Where Georgia Tech is located in Atlanta isn’t exactly the best of neighborhoods. It’s been years since I visited the campus for anything, but even back then the area around the school was best described as “sketchy.” Things have apparently not improved through the years.

Today, the school is finding itself inundated with a high number of off-campus shootings that have students more than a little worried.

Luckily, the school’s marksmanship team is stepping up to help.

Dozens of Georgia Tech students who participate in sports shooting are training fellow students on the use of firearms amid a spike in off-campus shootings around Atlanta, Ga.

There have been seven incidents involving a weapon in Atlanta neighborhoods surrounding the college since Jan. 10, according to local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV. Rob Montgomery, vice president of the Georgia Tech Marksmanship Club, told the station that he is upset thieves are trying to take advantage of college students by prowling the neighborhoods near the campus.

“What we really think is the best solution to these problems is to have people properly trained in the use of firearms,” he said.

The club’s website indicates it was formed “for education and training in firearms safety, discussion of and participation in the shooting sports and related hobbies, and for education and discussion regarding the legal and political aspects of responsible ownership and use of firearms.” The group meets once per month to plan out activities for memberships ranging from experienced to first-time shooters.

Frankly, this is probably one of the best ideas I’ve seen from a campus group, yet, to deal with crime.

All too often, schools and school groups put on classes that give the illusion of safety but rarely actually accomplish anything. They’ll teach people a couple of moves to help them if attacked, but they don’t account for the assailant actually countering those moves. They’re premised on the idea that the attacker will be too shocked at someone fighting back.

To be fair, many criminals are shocked when their victims fight back, but not all, and that’s where the problem lies.

But you know what the counter for a bullet is? I’ll give you a hint: the vast majority of criminals aren’t wearing body armor, especially your typical street-level lowlife.

I’m not saying students should go around looking for people to shoot or anything, either. But just knowing that students are armed and trained to fight back may well do wonders in preventing attacks against Georgia Tech students, all on its own. There’s a psychological factor at work, one that will make thugs think twice. Those that don’t may find themselves rethinking their life choices as they recover from gunshot wounds, if they get the chance to recover at all.

I, for one, applaud the marksmanship club’s efforts. With much of the news I see coming from college campuses, I normally can’t help but feel like this country is doomed. Yet this one gives me a small bit of hope that the next generation isn’t as lost as it sometimes seems.

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