The PJ Tatler

Hezballah Chief Orders Followers Not to Fire Guns in the Air During Speech

Most rational people understand that what goes up, must come down. In the case of firing a gun into the air in celebration, most people realize that a descending bullet could kill an innocent person hundreds of yards away.

But Hezballah fighters are not “most people.” They are dumb fanatics who don’t care where the bullets land after firing their guns during the speeches of their leaders.

Hezballah spiritual leader Hassan Nasrallah is apparently so concerned about the possibility of innocent people dying, that he has ordered his followers not to fire off their guns in approval during his speech.

AFP:

The head of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement on Sunday urged supporters to refrain from the volleys of celebratory gunfire that they unleash during his periodic speeches.

“I urge you… to abstain categorically from shooting,” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said, asking the movement’s officials to ensure the request was respected.

Speeches by top Lebanese political figures are often accompanied by celebratory gunfire from their supporters.

On Saturday, cracks and pops of gunfire rang out in Beirut as former prime minister Saad Hariri spoke at a ceremony marking 10 years since the assassination of his father, Rafik Hariri, another former prime minster.

But Nasrallah’s speeches, usually delivered from a secret location and broadcast on Hezbollah’s television station, tend to attract the most significant outpouring of fire.

The Hezbollah chief has raised the issue before, asking supporters during a speech to refrain from the fire, but to little effect.

Earlier this month, Lebanon’s justice minister threatened to prosecute those responsible for an unusually sustained round of gunfire during a speech by Nasrallah on a flare-up of violence between Hezbollah and its arch-enemy Israel.

A few statistics from the US would be sobering to most:

A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80% of celebratory gunfire-related injuries are to the head, feet, and shoulders In Puerto Rico, about two people die and about 25 more are injured each year from celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve, the CDC says. Between the years 1985 and 1992, doctors at the King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, treated some 118 people for random falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of them died.

Firearms expert Julian Hatcher studied falling bullets in the 1920s and calculated that .30 caliber rounds reach terminal velocities of 90 m/s (300 feet per second) A bullet traveling at only 61 m/s (200 feet per second) to 100 m/s (330 feet per second) can penetrate human skin.

A few days ago, a speech by former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was interrupted several times by celebratory gunfire by Sunni militias. The state prosecutor promised to find those responsible and prosecute them.

Lebanon is not the only country suffering from this problem. Somali militiamen have wounded several innocents with their constant firing. The Somalis apparently don’t need much of an excuse to fire their guns, as people have been injured at all hours of the day and night.

Hezballah fighters have the maturity of teenagers who don’t think of the consequences of their actions. Nasrallah can plead but it will probably do no good. Men with guns in Lebanon and elsewhere appear to be like little kids with toys — they have to play with them no matter the consequences.