As a native Georgian, the city of Atlanta has a special place in my heart. It’s where all my favorite sports teams play. It’s where so much of our state’s history revolves around the city.

Sure, it’s got its problems, but it’s been one of those destinations we all head toward when we want the “big city” experience, even if we live in actual cities ourselves.

However, Atlanta is having some problems. While much of our attention has been focused on the death of Rayshard Brooks, there’s been a lot more going on in the city than Brooks.

In fact, it’s getting kind of ugly up that way.

Violence is off the chain in Atlanta.

During the first three weeks of this month — May 31 to June 20 — 75 people have been shot in Atlanta. Last year during that period, 35 people were shot in the city.

At this rate it’ll be 100 shot by July.

Eleven people have been killed during that three-week period. Last year? Five.

These are not police shootings. They’re civilians shooting civilians. They don’t carry the outrage and notoriety that a cop shooting someone will. But the victims are just as dead.

The carnage coincides with the protests of George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota. On May 29, demonstrations started in downtown Atlanta and things got crazy. Squad cars burned, stores were looted, and protesters and police clashed.

Sure, the overwhelming number of protesters are law-abiding and want positive change. But there are those up for mayhem. And as cops attend to them, the city’s criminals are emboldened.

That’s a valid point, to be sure. After all, we saw similar take place during the height of the COVID lockdown. Then, police weren’t responding to a whole lot in some locales.

If criminals know the police are busy elsewhere or simply not driving by, it gives them opportunities. They can not just carry out the “profitable” crimes like robbery, but also settle grudges. That means a lot of people hurt, and that’s if they’re fortunate. Hurt is better than dead, after all.

Couple this with the fact that the Atlanta Police Department isn’t exactly running on good morale at the moment–who would after an officer was fired and charged before there was any formal investigation–and that’s not a recipe for good times in the city.

As demonstrations continue, first regarding George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks, expect this kind of thing to continue as well.

That’s not good for anyone.

However, at some point, we’re going to have to ask whether the cost is worth it. Even if all these deaths were the result of racist cops or even just police brutality, we have to ask if the death toll resulting from the protests are really worth it in the grand scheme of things.

Sure, many will think just asking such a question is problematic, evidence that I’m guilty of some flavor of WrongThink, but all things need to have someone try and look at them objectively. Is the cost worth it? If more people die because of the protests than would die from so-called police brutality, is that still a positive change?

I’m not so sure.

If black lives actually matter, then so to do those that are gunned down by rivals who know the police are too busy to come and respond. The same is true for all the other lives lost the same way.