An annual shooting spree in North Carolina


42 Responses to “An annual shooting spree in North Carolina”

  1. planettom says:

    I winced in that Irene Adler episode of the Benedict Cumberbatch SHERLOCK when Sherlock walks outside Irene Adler’s house in London, and fires 3 times in the air to alert the police.   Bad idea, Sherlock!

  2. CSBD says:

    The danger is also relative to the type and caliber of weapon fired into the air.  
    For example:  A 12 Gauge shotgun firing bird shot straight up will do little or no damage when the shot comes down.  Fire a 1 oz slug from the same weapon and it can kill on impact.
    There is also the aspect of where the shots are fired and how many.  If you are out in the middle of hill country, even if you fire a lot of shots, there are not as many people in the area to be targets.

  3. Although I have never personally been hit with a falling celebratory bullet, I can attest that one will make a nice hole in the roof of your house. 

  4. CyberIstari says:

    Why am I not surprised it’s in North Carolina?

  5. Frank Diekman says:

     Traditional New Year’s shooting songs? WTF?

    Anyone have any lyrics?

  6. Walter Reade says:

    “If you’re hit by a falling bullet, your chances of death are significantly higher compared to a normal gunshot wound.”

    This is the first time I’ve heard this. My gut reaction was to cry foul, since a bullet’s terminal velocity is much less than muzzle velocity. But it makes sense though, since if you DO get hit by a falling bullet, it’s most likely to be on the head or neck. 

    On the other hand, I’d rather “dodge” bullets from the air than from someone firing at me.  :-)

    • The head injury thing is cited as the likely cause of the increased death risk. Head wounds are more deadly than body wounds. 

      • Ultan says:

         There could be a reporting bias in the hospital figures, since only those with a significant injury wold go to the hospital at all. Bullets fired straight up are often going no faster than if they had been dropped by a plane. It takes 150fps to break the skin and 200fps to break the skull. (Skin is incredible stuff.)  Someone hit by a falling .22 might not go to a hospital for a nuisance bruise like one of those would often give. has some interesting info, particularly the Mythbusters tests. It seems to largely depend on whether the bullets stay spin-stabilized or tumble, the latter falling more slowly.

  7. benenglish says:

    Near where I grew up, 40 years ago, one of the ranchers had an annual machine gun shoot on New Year’s Eve.  At the stroke of midnight, every machine gun he had and every one that any of his friends brought was fired up, reloaded, emptied, etc., until many thousands of rounds had been expended into a designated backstop.  Then they packed up the guns, unsealed the liquor (strict rule – no drinking before the shoot) and proceeded to get knee-walking drunk as quickly as possible.  Fun times!

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       As somebody who’s done a bit of beer drinking and shooting in the yard, I can say that it’s much more fun to shoot random crap and junk you have laying around in the yard than just shooting up at the sky.

  8. Mister44 says:

    1) For safety sake – don’t fire a gun into the air.

    2) They did this on Mythbusters once. If fired STRAIGHT up, the falling round isn’t going fast enough to hurt you. BUT if fired at an angle, depending on the parabola, the round, etc, it  can go fast enough to hurt/kill someone.

    3) This isn’t just a 4th of July thing. If you live in some shittier parts of town, you can hear people firing off their guns ‘just because’.

    • digi_owl says:

      On 2, i think there was some “accident/crime report/recreation” show that mentioned a guy being shot on his porch from such an arching bullet. Seems it had arched over 2-3 hoses, and came from a back yard where an inexperienced shooter was handed a large caliber handgun and told to shoot a empty beverage can.

  9. Guest says:

    This is close to “vertical marksmanship,” a skill for which Saddam Hussein was quite notable.

    The rednecks are the last vanguards of old-timey visceral masculinity, but I’m afraid the Middle East has them beat.  In the Arab world, and in just about any place with a despotic government or old Soviet hand-me-down weapons – yes, I know, same group – they’ve mastered this art wonderfully.
    I’ll bet there’s a weird sociological phenomenon explaining the difference of degrees of ones’ non-target marksmanship and how this makes the gun-wielder feel more civilized or more alive.

    • joeposts says:

      Never heard of “vertical marksmanship.” Very interesting.

      “Expressing one’s feelings and emotions via the firing of guns into the air is an ancient and noble artform,” said Henri St. Germain, president of the Federation Internationale des Discharges-Aeriales (FIDA), the sport’s governing body. “In fact, it may even predate the practice of expressing one’s feelings and emotions by shooting into other humans. And nowhere on Earth does this tradition continue to thrive more than in Iraq and Kentucky. It is a vital part of these two unique cultures.”
      - Iraq, Kentucky Vie For World Shooting-Into-The-Air Supremecy

  10. Wreckrob8 says:

    As an innocent Brit I really only imagined that celebratory gunfire was used at events like weddings in Afghanistan or Mafia controlled villages in Sicily. You live and learn, eh?

    • digi_owl says:

      Sure makes one think.

    • theophrastvs says:

       “As an innocent Brit” it is your sworn and sacred duty to presume that all ‘merkuns/yanks/whathaveyou are gun toting overweight loud obnoxious undereducated twits, (oh and we all have Texan accents).   so lets not see you slacking off in that regard again.. “England expects that every man will do his duty” etc.

  11. big ryan says:

    i think we should embrace this and admire it as a cultural aspect of people who are not like us

    so often in america we get on our high horses and bitch about globalization and how every neighborhood has a mc donalds, tgi fridays, and a walmart making every single american town look the same.   But then we look down our nose at people like this because they are doing something we wouldn’t do,, these people have a legitimate cultural regional thing going on, I think its beautiful.

    • Matthew says:

      I agree.  I think all those who enjoy shooting guns for celebrations in the USA should get together with those from Arab countries who also enjoy the same pastime.  Kind of like the “beer summit.”

    • Agreed. That’s why I’m not mocking it. I’m concerned and rather head-desky about the safety issues involved with random bullets being fired into the air in urban areas. But under safety-controlled circumstances, like the North Carolina shooters, I think it’s pretty cool and uniquely interesting. 

      • teapot says:

        …because most people firing guns into the air are overly concerned with safety controls, right? I know when I’m drunk and in the mood for some celebratin’ I’m always thinking of how to be as safe as possible.

        Sorry, but firing guns into the air is, in general, a dumb idea. If you know there’s nothing around for a couple of miles go nuts, but my suspicion is that the large majority of celebratory gunfire happens within the range of people or property that could get killed +/ damaged. Why should 37 people have to die over the course of 8 years for no reason other than satisfying someone’s urge to make a bunch of noise and seek attention?

  12. Navin_Johnson says:

    I don’t think anybody’s mocking (well, one commenter) this controlled traditional festival, so much as the practice of partying and shooting into the air which is not exclusive to this area, or The South, and in fact happens in pretty much every big urban area on New Years Eve too.

  13. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Your misuse of the word ‘Yankees’ is highly amusing. At least to a Yankee. Probably not so much to the people of North Carolina, for whom it may be a mortal insult.

    • Ultan says:

      As I had heard it defined:

      To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
      To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
      To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
      To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
      To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
      And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        To foreigners, an American is a Yank, not a Yankee.

        • theophrastvs says:

           i always wanted a list of “what i am”.  i’m a: yank (or ‘septic’), gweilo (or something that sounds like “bokwei”), honky,  cracker, imperialist running dog, male chauvinist pig, straight, “england” to some russians i know,  merkin, wasp, haole, gringo, ofay, round-eye, goy or goyim,  ….and a mighty good dancer.

        • teapot says:

          Where did “Yank” come from though? Stands to reason it was derived from Yankee. As I’ve struck the word (when used in Australia) ‘Yankee’ is chosen over the word ‘American’ when the speaker wants to highlight particular stereotypical characteristics associated with Americans, while ‘Yank’ is usually used more as a pejorative.

          It’s all very confusing, which is why I just refer to you all as Southern Canadians :)

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      Damn yankees!

  14. Petzl says:

    And a study of celebratory gunfire injuries in Los Angeles turned up 118 victims, including 38 deaths, between 1985 and 1992. But I wasn’t able to find a good analysis that put deaths into perspective with shots fired…

    OK, stop right there, please.  Why do we need an “analysis”?  What’s the “trade-off”?  This isn’t like weighing the side-effects of a beneficial medication. If there’s more than 1 casualty due to this practice, it should be stopped. The only “cost” is some yahoo doesn’t get to blast his pistol in the air with live ammo. A sensible society should be able to live with this. If you want to make bang-bangs, shoot blanks or light a firework. Any other opinion seems depraved to me. (Interesting that these gonzo practices all happen in “pro-life” red states, but that’s another thread.)

    • atimoshenko says:

      So every purely recreational/’just for fun’ activity that has “more than 1 casualty … should be stopped”? The ban on recreational drug use should never be lifted provided there has been more than one overdose? ‘Pleasure fucking’ (i.e. not to have kids) should be stopped, provided more than person has died from an STD? Ditto for skydiving or hang-gliding…

      If the only people put at risk by an activity are those willingly participating in the activity, the only possible reason to want to regulate that activity are our own biases. There is nothing wrong with knowingly risking one’s own life purely for pleasure. Indeed, what is the point of living if you can never have fun?

      And this is coming from someone who has never fired a gun for any purpose, and does not see himself doing so in the future. But suum cuique. Live and let live. It’s not as if random, unwitting people are/need to be put at risk by this. It’s not done via flashmob on a school playground.

      • Wreckrob8 says:

        Suum cuique? The essential function of a gun is to maim or kill.
        But otherwise, yes. One death does not seem much reason to prohibit most activities.

        • atimoshenko says:

          Why try to evaluate “essential functions” in the abstract when we can simply empirically verify how something is actually being used in a specific situation? If a tool is not being used to hurt unwilling others, then how does its essential function matter?

          The essential function of a whip is to whip, and I imagine that I would enjoy getting whipped only slightly more than I would enjoy getting shot, but some people get off on it. Who am I to tell them no?

          • Wreckrob8 says:

            Tools require responsible handling because it is often in their nature that mishandling may indeed result in injury to unwilling others and not only their operators.

  15. Hardley says:

    I am presuming that Maggie made a typo with the ” … for every x shots fired into the air, x number of people are injured …” sentence. I’m guessing that the second x should have been a ‘y’ otherwise we are looking at certain injury every time :-)

  16. falnfenix says:

    man, this sounds like a blast.  gun bloggers do this frequently, but i’m glad to see positive press on events like this. :)

    other super fun gun-related thing: Boomershoot.  where every target makes a loud boom when you hit it. 

  17. mrgoldenbrown says:

    Did anyone else immediately think of the scene in Reamde with the family reunion?

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