Statistics that just showed up in the local paper show that the number of attacks on Atlanta’s public transit bus drivers is, since July, nearly half the number of the previous three years combined. Most of these appear to be robberies, though of course a handful are the assorted moronic “well I can’t have my way so it’s the knife for you” mentality that crops up when you identify an individual whose sole purpose is to function as a drag ‘chute on society.

Now, an increased trend of robberies may very well point out more dire economic conditions, which we know we’re in. Some folks who would like to work are unable to find said work because the jobs went away because those profit margins just aren’t big enough for the shareholders, etc. And I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that at least several of the people perpetrating such robberies find themselves in that sort of situation. Sure, why not.

If you show this trend to your nearest politician the reaction wouldn’t be “wow we’ve really fucked up the economy, huh” and will instead rush headlong towards “MY OPPONENT IS SOFT ON CRIME IF HE DOESN’T AGREE THAT WE NOW NEED TSA AGENTS AT EVERY BUS STOP AND MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCES FOR ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 5 THAT LOOKS AT A BUS DRIVER FUNNY”. It’s what they do. It’s what they have to do, because this is the sort of moronic reactionary bullshit that the media is encouraging, because outrage = ratings.

But the more I think about it the more I suspect that there’s something altogether less sinister at play here. And by less sinister I mean more ridiculous. Check out some of Atlanta’s more recent common smash and grab gang activities. There was a gang who exclusively smashed in storefronts to steal pairs of blue jeans, for instance. And once the “Blue Jeans Bandits” were apprehended, we started to see a different trend of groups getting together to rob… wig stores. No I’m not joking, and yes there’s in fact been several occurrences.

It’s criminal, sure… rather surreal criminalism. I think what we’re seeing is groups of youths banding together to perform a sort of avant-garde artistic crime as a means of self expression. The Blue Jeans Bandits aren’t as much interested in the designer jeans as they are in becoming the Salvador Dali of smash and grab robberies. Normal outlets of low end criminal behavior have actually gone somewhat mainstream. Graffiti has become so passé.