As we approach Independence Day 2012, the country will be celebrating in many different ways. There will be firework displays, family gatherings and firecrackers. There will be many laughs and smiles that day as we celebrate our country’s independence. In the midst of the excitement and thankfulness, there is a real danger that is a threat to us all. That danger is "Celebratory Gunfire”.
Every year countless numbers of people are either killed or injured due to this senseless activity. It has been two years since Marquel Peters was struck in the head by a celebratory bullet while sitting in a Georgia church on New Year’s Eve. Also, Sergio Martinez at age 34 was struck in the head with a celebratory bullet while inside of his family’s home. The paramedics found him lying on the kitchen floor. Diego Duran, a 12-year-old Florida boy, was sitting in his front yard watching the fireworks in January of 2012 when he was struck by a celebratory bullet.
Diego sustained life threatening injuries, but survived and is still struggling from the effects of that shooting today. Joseph B. Jaskolka shares the moment he came in contact with celebratory Gunfire. He says: "I was struck in the head at about 12:05am, January 1st , 1999, in South Philadelphia. I was at a family party, I was almost immediately struck in the head after I took a few steps down Fernon Street. The bullet entered the top of my head, then fell down and now is resting on my brain stem. I was an athletic pre-teen who is now a hemiplegic man (I only have the use of my left sided extremities). By the way, I was just 11 years old at the time."
Deardee Hurst was sitting in her third floor apartment when she was struck in the back with a celebratory bullet in January of 2012. She also survived.
There are so many countless stories of survivors and fatalities stemming from celebratory gunfire in the United States. This year, I am asking for the public to educate themselves on the dangers of this activity and find an alternative method of choice for celebratory purposes. It has been proven that celebratory gunfire is one of the most dangerous practices that an American can participate in. Joseph B. Jaskolka says it best: "Celebratory gunfire is a deadly tradition that has been practiced for many years!"
"Celebratory Gunfire" should never be a "too hot to handle political issue," it should just stand to be an "American issue."
How do you feel about celebratory gunfire? How does it feel to know that this practice can alter the life of you and your family at any given time in the comfort of your home? Below you can find a social media group that pledge to SAY NO to “Celebratory Gunfire."
I was inspired to create this group in January of 2010 after my Dekalb County, Georgia neighborhood erupted in celebratory gunfire on New Years of 2010.
Is education the key to counteract this dangerous activity? When was the last time you saw a PSA on television about the dangers of celebratory gunfire? Did you know that there was technology available to pinpoint exactly where gunshots are fired therefore assisting law enforcement to be more effective in combating celebratory gunfire? Are you part of the problem or the solution? How does celebratory gunfire make you feel? Where should we go from here?