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News - The rocket launcher guy

For not blowing MARTA the F up



Not to be alarmist or anything, BUT MARTA EMPLOYEES FOUND A DAMNED ANTI-TANK ROCKET LAUNCHER RIGHT NEXT TO THE EAST-WEST TRACKS NEAR THE HAMILTON E. HOLMES STATION! AND IT ALREADY HAD BEEN FIRED!

Sure, you can find already fired rocket launchers for sale on eBay and at gun expos, which means it's possible the launcher is just a discarded collector's item. But FBI spokesman Steve Lazarus tells CL that the bureau doesn't know how recently the launcher, built by a Swedish company in 1992, was fired. And if it was a souvenir, who would toss out such an odd keepsake alongside the MARTA rail line?

There's another possibility — namely that some pissed-off MARTA rider, probably an ex-Marine, tried to blow up a commuter train.

And the real shame with that scenario is that the guy missed. (When we say it's a shame, we're assuming, of course, that the train was empty — and, sadly, the trains often are. Mark our words, Mr. Rocket Launcher, if one person were to get hurt in your ploy, we'd come after you.)

Our point is, as long as MARTA employees and commuters had already disembarked, there's no better end for the ailing transit system than a bright orange mushroom cloud.

An hour-long wait for a bus is the norm for many routes. You can hardly get anywhere by train alone. And a commute requiring use of both a bus and train — a trip that ought to take no longer than 45 minutes — easily lasts upward of twice that.

Things are going to get worse, and soon. MARTA's board is set to approve a 15 percent cutback in bus service, and the transit agency will end the year with a $54 million budget shortfall. And unlike other states with major transit systems, Georgia refuses to help MARTA — as do suburban counties, who'd rather choke on their own SUV exhaust than give urbanites a route to their cookie-cutter subdivisions.

So someone, anyone, please kill MARTA. It's dying a slow death, anyway. Come on. Cease its suffering.

-- Michael Wall





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