Why Celebratory Gunfire Is Dangerous
With holidays like the Independence Day and New Year's Eve, some people may be tempted to celebrate by firing a gun into the air. While this may be viewed as a cool or macho to some, in reality, it is dangerous, illegal, and irresponsible. Of all the laws people break, the one that can never be broken is the law of gravity. What goes up must come down. Every year, hundreds or even thousands of bullets are fired into the air in celebration of holidays such as New Year's Eve and the 4th of July. Many of these bullets come down and cause damage to property and a select few come down and injure or even kill an unsuspecting individual.
A bullet fired straight up into the air would continue to lose kinetic energy until it stopped and fell back to earth. The speed of this falling bullet would continue to increase until it reached terminal velocity. The terminal velocity of a bullet varies depending on the size and shape of the bullet, but when it comes down, it is going to hurt if it hits someone (imagine getting hit on the head by a few glued-together nickels dropped from a 10 story building) . Of course, this is under ideal conditions. People are anything but ideal and weather is just as unpredictable, so one can never accurately predict the outcome should the bullet come down and hit somebody. A bullet that loses all kinetic energy and simply drops back to earth can injure, but a bullet fired at an angle retains much of that kinetic energy and can easily kill.
Here are some figures to consider:
Average mortality rate for general gunshot wounds: 2% - 6%
Average mortality rate for those hit by falling bullets: 32%
This drastic difference is due to the fact that most falling bullets impact the head and shoulders.
So, for those of you who own firearms and those of you who know people who own firearms, you need only remember the 4 rules of gun safety, the law of gravity and the and the realization that a momentary rush caused by firing a gun in the air isn't worth the loss of life of anyone else. When you want to celebrate, go out and enjoy the fireworks, but leave the guns at home.