Precinct 333

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Operation Anti-Stupid

Authorities in the Houston area will be trying to put a stop to the old custom of firing guns to celebrate the New Year. Some folks just point the barrel up and pull the trigger.
"Those lost bullets, stray bullets, can kill," said Houston police officer Joe Pennington. "One of the things the holidays does is bring out the best and the worst in folks — and one of the worst things we see is celebratory discharging of firearms."

Such gunfire has no target, but is usually aimed up in the sky — posing a significant danger to bystanders.

What goes up must come down, sometimes leading to tragic results, authorities say.

On New Year's Day 1997, a Harris County man who had fired celebratory shots at a backyard tree went inside his home to examine his gun when the weapon jammed. The gun discharged accidentally, killing his 7-year-old daughter. A grand jury declined to indict him.

That same night, a man was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire. The shooter also wasn't indicted.

In 1999, a stray bullet struck a pregnant woman in her shoulder as she watched fireworks north of downtown Houston. She survived.

Even if no one is hurt, you can still get a year in jail for the Class A misdemeanor.

So just don't do it.

Don't be stupid, dude.


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