Think before you kill
People considering aerial firing should ask themselves if this practice is worth putting someone’s life at risk.
As a citizen of Karachi, I’m not particularly startled when I hear gunfire late at night. In most cases, I assume that it’s aerial firing to mark a wedding or similar festivity. No cause for alarm, right?
Wrong. Aerial firing has been known to kill, with several documented cases over the years available to back this claim.
Personally, despite having read news of people getting killed by ‘stray bullets’ for a while now, I’d never understood how such accidents happened. Over time, I developed a vague notion that they occurred when a shot was fired at an acute angle from the ground upward, creating the possibility of the ascending bullet striking someone located at an elevation. By extension, I never felt threatened when I watched people fire straight up into the open air.
It was while reading Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke that my assumptions on the subject were called into question. A character mentioned in the book dies from aerial gunfire while sleeping on a rooftop. Soon after I’d put the book aside, a friend texted me describing how a stray bullet had shattered her car’s wind-screen overnight. The damage was seemingly caused by a descending bullet on its return trip to the ground. That’s when I hit the search-engines.
My rudimentary research suggests that while angles, wind resistance and the type of gun used play a role in determining how deadly aerial gunfire can be, there remains every probability of it causing injury to an unsuspecting victim even when bullets are sprayed at right angles (straight up) into the sky.
I confess that I engaged in aerial firing myself for the first time about a year ago — and found it highly exhilarating. Being wiser now, I intend to refrain from the activity in future. Somehow, I don’t see myself lecturing others to follow suit though — that would surely put me at risk of being labelled a spoilsport. Ideally, individuals considering a round of celebratory aerial firing should ask themselves a simple question: is it worth putting someone’s life at risk?
I rest my case.