Police across the country, in addition to the heavy responsibilities of interdicting drunk and drug impaired drivers on New Year’s Eve, must also cope with the absolutely idiotic tradition of firing weapons at the stroke of midnight. The LAPD and LA County Sheriff’s office have had to divert valuable law enforcement resources to mount an education campaign about this dangerous custom. Beleaguered Detroit Police, short on manpower and resources initiated the “Ring the New Year in with a Bell, Not a Bang” Campaign to address this same issue. Times Square
Sir Isaac Newton proved that what goes up must come back down quite a long time ago. Gravity works one hundred per cent of the time. Instead of focusing on impaired drivers, a true public safety concern, officers must also focus on education about, prevention of, and responding to so-called “celebratory gunfire,” an oxymoron if ever there was one – heavy on the moron part. When you fire a gun, the bullet has to go somewhere. If you and the people around you are fortunate, the bullet lands in the ground, in a wall, in the side of a building, or in a body of water.
If the worst happens, the bullet does what it is designed to do. It tears through bone and organs, sinew and tissue, ligaments, and brain matter. Something has to stop the bullet’s trajectory and human flesh is quite frequently the backstop.
Each New Year’s season, we hear about the tragedies associated with stray gunfire. In Portsmouth, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia, victims were hit on their way into church. Into church. Last New Year’s Eve, 13 year old Diego Duran was watching New Year’s fireworks in Ruskin, Florida when he was struck by celebratory gunfire. A bullet traveled ONE MILE and hit him in the head. He spent 5 months in ICU because someone wanted to celebrate.
Sandra Latham, a resident of Detroit was killed inside her own home by celebratory gunfire, as have other citizens throughout the United States. Imagine your mother, wife, or sister being killed sitting on her living room sofa while watching the ball drop at Times Square on television because someone else thought firing a gun was a good way to celebrate.
This country is trying to cope with the purposeful shooting of 26 innocent people by a madman. Let’s avoid maiming or killing anyone this New Year’s Eve in the name of “celebration.” Surely we can find other ways to ring in the New Year.
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