In case you haven’t guessed: I live in Memphis. The Bluff City. Probably one of the more interesting cities in America. We’ve got Beale Street, Graceland, Cooper-Young, The Pinch, Crosstown, Sun Studios, a Triple-A Baseball team, and a badass NBA team – The Memphis Grizzlies. We’ve got BBQ out the wazoo, famous fried chicken, a catfish place out by the airport that’ll blow your mind, and we host some of the hottest bands from all walks of life and places on the planet. We have an amazing revitalization project that has transformed Midtown Memphis into the happening place to be any day of the week, and in case you haven’t had the opportunity, take Main Street south of Beale, eat at South of Beale, see the arts district, and visit the Civil Rights Museum. If all of that doesn’t fill you with some “Damn, I’ve gotta see this place,” then hit our very awesome Memphis Zoo, Pink Palace Museum, golf or chill in Overton Park, or catch a summer evening concert at the Overton Shell.  But damn, we’ve been making the news lately. In a city of half a million, we’ve had 219 murders. That’s a big number. It’s a sad number, and a stark reminder of two things. First, that crime exists in our city. Second, that our own local media feed off of it. Those awesome venues and attractions in the first paragraph — the ones that generate millions in revenue, supply jobs, and give our city a reason to visit — don’t sell advertising slots. They’re the puff pieces. But that’s all wrong! The puff pieces aren’t the exception, the crime is. Regardless of what people say, we are a safe city. Case and point, I walked by myself today down to the river bluff and took the photo above. I lived. I didn’t even get a talking-to, let alone get violently confronted. I took a photo of a lady crossing the street. She looked right at me and smiled. It was the same with this family in the next photo. I commented on how beautiful a family they were when I took the photo and they thanked me. No harsh words, no shootout at the OK corral, and they didn’t steal my camera. My God what is this city coming to ? People are generally peace-loving and friendly!  Memphis doesn’t just have a few good folks, we have great folks and we care about our city. We fight for things like the Greensward – we want our kids to have parks and not parking spots for our cars. We take pride in our zip codes. Ask anyone what 38104 is – they’ll say “Memphis” and tell you to #choose901 . This city is badass. C’mon, we have pirates!  Now, there are a lot of Memphians (sadly, including me at times) that are guilty of the type of self-deprecation and general malaisery that casts a cloud over this great city. Do we have crime ? Yes. Do we have homelessness and poverty ? Yes. Does your city ? Simmer down, plank-eye, don’t get upset. It’s a shitty side-effect of being part of Society. We don’t all get along, right ? But the vast majority of us do, in fact, get along very well. We gather to the tune of a couple hundred thousand in May for a week long music festival and are loyal to a fault to our NBA team.    So ignore our media. They sell product. Ignore some of our own naysayers. They feed on negativity. This place is pretty damn cool, and I can safely say it’s OK to #choose901