New Year's Celebration Takes a Tragic Turn

Beginning at the stroke of midnight, New Year’s celebrations turn loud. In my semi-rural neighborhood, the fireworks, gun shots, and shotgun blasts lasted a full 30 minutes. It’s a routine way to welcome the new year, but apparently we are lucky to have come away without injuries.

According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida boy was severely injured by a falling bullet fired into the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors determined that he had been shot in the top of his head.

No one knows where the bullet came from, but authorities believe it was fired from miles away in a New Year’s celebration.

“Here we have a 12-year-old kid fighting for his life because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon. [emphasis added]

The family was told that the bullet could have come from two or three miles away. The boy, Diego Duran, remains in critical condition, in a coma with the bullet still lodged under his eye.

Firing weapons into the air is a large problem nationally, especially in farming communities. On New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July, guns become powerful noisemakers. People fire them into the air without any thought of where the bullets might land. In 2010, a 6-year-old boy was injured by a stray New Year’s Eve bullet while at a Miami restaurant with his parents…and in 2007, a 69-year-old man was killed in his back yard on New Year’s Day by a stray rifle bullet. And those incidents were only in Florida.

Obviously, guns and celebrations shouldn’t mix. And if you consider that New Year’s Eve is the biggest night for drunken revelry, it’s a wonder that more people aren’t accidentally shot. But even one is too many. We encourage celebrating the new year, but we value safety more than noise. Can we make a resolution to keep guns away from parties?

To read the full story in the Tampa Bay Times, click here:  Ruskin boy in coma

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