So the word is on the street that if you fire a bunch of bullets up in the air, they eventually end up falling back to earth at speeds capable of killing people. Great way to celebrate, eh? Celebratory gunfire injuries occur worldwide, and represent the ultimate in preventable injury.
Some dude was out celebrating New Year’s in East Lansing, Michigan, and ended up in the hospital with a bullet in his stomach. A bullet that passed through the right ventricle of his heart on the way there! Dude lost over 5 litres of blood and went through a 9-hour surgery to remove the bullet and repair the damage it caused. All thanks to some asshole who didn’t think about where bullets go when they are fired up into the sky.
The particularly wonderful thing about celebratory gunfire injuries is that they are utterly indiscriminate. A report by the Puerto Rico Department of Health found that celebratory gunfire injuries affected a higher percentage of women and children than injuries from regular old shooting at things.
Ordog GJ, Dornhoffer P, Ackroyd G, Wasserberger J, Bishop M, Shoemaker W, Balasubramanium S. Spent bullets and their injuries: the result of firing weapons into the sky. J Trauma. 1994 Dec;37(6):1003-6.
Between 1985 and 1992, 118 people were treated for random falling-bullet injuries at a single hospital in Los Angeles. The breakdown of injuries caused by celebratory gunshots is as follows: 77% head, 12% shoulder, 5% upper back, 2% chest, 1% upper arm, 1% leg, and 1% foot.