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JACK SIMPSON: Don't let a celebration turn into a tragic death

Remember that poem about shooting an arrow into the air and having it fall to the ground, you knew not where? Or breathing a song into the air, it fell to Earth I know not where. For who has sight so keen and strong that it can follow the flight of song?

Combat soldiers trapped on the Anzio beachhead in Italy in World War II had good reason to remember this poem well. All those bullets they fired into the night sky at German aircraft eventually fell back to Earth, raining down on those who shot them.

Infantrymen had to build tops on their foxholes to protect themselves from shrapnel. Bullets that did not strike their targets fell back to Earth with enough velocity to kill.

Why is it so hard for some individuals to realize that celebratory shooting is dangerous and illegal? On holidays and at weddings and special occasions, some people just have to load up their guns, step out on the porch and fire into the sky to celebrate. Bang, bang, bang.

Such conduct is reckless and dangerous. The shooters cannot predict where those bullets fired may land. Like it says in the poem, "for who has sight so keen and strong?" People have been killed or wounded from celebratory shooting in places like Atlanta, Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans and elsewhere.

Personal injury and property damage have brought charges against shooters including murder, manslaughter and weapons violations. Hey, celebratory shooting is illegal, remember? Injury or death from this activity brings consequences.

Around the world, people have engaged in celebratory shooting and innocent people have suffered death or injury. Thoughtless people feel shooting into the air on special occasions is OK. It has always been this way. If someone gets hurt, so what?

Before following this "tradition," and before pulling that trigger shooting real bullets into the sky, remember it is illegal, not acceptable and should be discouraged. Shooters will face consequences when anyone is injured or killed.

There are far too many sad stories about the results of celebratory shooting. Citizens must be protected from random shooting into the sky, and law enforcement should be notified of illegal shootings.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, another, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.