Monday, June 07, 2010

Stray Bullets in the Attic

Life in New Orleans sometimes means that you have to contend with stray bullets falling from the sky. The following bullet fell from the sky and went through the roof of our house about three feet from the head of my youngest daughter's bed.

Fortunately, it just pierced the roof and didn't go through the ceiling. I found it after noticing a growing water stain on the ceiling in my daughter's bedroom. My wife thinks that it goes as far back as New Year's Eve, with some yahoo firing a celebratory round in the air. What these fools fail to acknowledge is that what goes up, must come down. Just another reason to advocate for some kind of stronger gun control, or some more stringent enforcement of gun laws.


Guav said...

What kind of stronger gun control or more stringent enforcement of gun laws will make people not be fucking idiots?

Huck said...

I don't know, Guav, but it's unacceptable to have to live in a place where this kind of stuff happens. I should be able to turn this bullet in to the cops and they should be able to trace it down to the person who sold it and the person who bought it. (Hell, I should be able to find a serial number on this bullet and track this information down myself.) And even if neither of these two people had anything to do with how it got in my attic, holding their feet to the fire may cause them to be more vigilant in keeping track of what happens with the bullets they were responsible for. We can't stop people from being idiots, but we sure can hold them accountable for their idiocy.

eric said...

"I should be able to turn this bullet in to the cops and they should be able to trace it down to the person who sold it and the person who bought it."

There's no way to do that which wouldn't create a huge black market for much cheaper bullets with no serial numbers, which are what the criminal idiots who shoot guns into the air are going to be buying and selling. And I'm not sure I agree that it is fair to punish the vast majority of responsible gun owners with much higher ammunition prices due to the acts of a few idiots when it isn't likely to solve the problem. Plus, the majority of bullets that pass through any sort of structure are going to be a lot more mangled than this one... most of the time the brass casing gets split open and you end up with a "splat"-shaped chunk of lead, which would render any stamped serial number useless.

I think the best way to address this would be to talk to neighbors and perhaps form a sort of 'neighborhood watch' where everybody agrees to not only call the police but also go outside and seek out the source if they hear gunfire in or around the neighborhood. Also, making this story as public as you can (the chilling fact that it was three feet from where your daughter lays her head at night would seem to make it a story that news organiztions might pick up and publicize) will help to get awareness out, and perhaps even dissaude future idiots from firing guns into the air.

We live way out in the country, and a few years ago during deer hunting season my daughter and I were walking across the pasture and heard a bullet whizz by overhead. It had been fired from far enough away that we never even heard the gunshot go off. I'm not a deer hunter, but I know pretty much everybody around here who is and I spread the word about what happened to every single one of them. Nobody ever fessed up to it, but I'm pretty sure that whoever was hunting in that area that day did eventually hear about what happened, and I guarantee you if they did they were much more considerate of backdrop the next time they took a shot at a buck.
Getting word out sometimes is the best thing you can do.

Huck said...

Eric - Publicizing it may be the only thing to do. But it would seem like an exercise in abject futility. First off, I live in a populous city with very mixed neighborhoods. Getting the word out among the neighbors may rile up the neighborhood, but it probably wouldn't ever get to the attention of the idiot who shot the bullet. Just 2-3 blocks away from where I live in any direction are people whose lives would never intersect. The class, racial, and educational differences are just too broad a gulf to bridge. It's almost like different universes. And even getting some publicity in the local newspaper on the local TV channels wouldn't likely reach the perps. I just can't help but think that there must be some other way to police this kind of behavior.

Huck said...

Eric - As to the bullet itself, I myself was surprised at how in tact it was. It was a freak thing. It hit the relatively soft asphalt roof shingles right at a point between the wood slats, where there was perhaps about an inch space. It went through the layers of the shingles (about two shingles thick), which was enough to slow it down so that it didn't pierce the ceiling, but which was soft enough not to crack or damage the brass casing. One of my former High School classmates who had a long career in law enforcement came up with a pretty good suggestion that I lay an additional layer of plywood in between the joists in the attic just for added protection.