Jackson, MS, man struck by stray New Year's Eve bullet

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Every year, I write a post telling people not to be stupid and fire a gun into the air to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It also seems that I write a post every year about someone getting shot by one of those bullets that I tell people not to fire.

This year isn’t any different.

Jackson residents and council members are expressing concerns about the New Year’s Eve tradition of shooting guns in the air at midnight.

It’s a tradition that almost cost one local father his life.

The resident wants to stay anonymous but said that he was shooting fireworks in his backyard when he felt something on his shoulder. He didn’t think anything of it until his wife noticed that he was bleeding. When he went to the hospital, the X-Rays showed that he was hit by a stray bullet.

“If I was four inches to the left, it would have hit me in the top of the head. If I was 20 pounds lighter, it would have went further down and probably hit my lung and bled out on my lungs or something.”

It sounds like he was lucky.

Unfortunately, far too often, someone gets hit who isn’t nearly as fortunate. They die from the stray bullet that someone fired to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They don’t get to celebrate the new year or any other year.

Now, in fairness, I suspect few if any of our readers are doing anything like this. If they’re shooting to celebrate the new year, they’re doing it in such a way that eliminates these kinds of stupid risks. They’re shooting into an earthen backstop or something similar, something that will stop the bullet rather than allowing it to ricochet or popping a round into the air and not caring where it will land.

Unfortunately, we all probably know some of the knuckleheads who do this.

Folks, if you fire anywhere but precisely 90 degrees to the Earth, the round doesn’t go up then back down. It arcs and travels a very, very long way. It’s also virtually impossible to tell if you have the gun at 90 degrees or 89.5 degrees just by looking at it.

If you’re constitutionally incapable of celebrating without loud noises, then at least invest in fireworks where legal. They’re dangerous, but you’re likely to only hurt yourself with your stupidity as opposed to someone miles away who doesn’t even know what’s going on.

One year, I hope it’ll be completely unnecessary to even talk about this. My hope is that it just doesn’t happen. Maybe a good project for the gun community to take on during 2022 is to try and spread the word about how bad an idea celebratory gunfire is.

As it stands, we’re lucky this particular story has a relatively happy ending. It could have been much worse, as the resident noted when he spoke with the media. Maybe it’s a good idea to remind people not to do it next time. New Year’s Eve can be celebrated in a way that doesn’t risk the lives of others.