My father once lent me his pistol to keep in my bedside table many years ago when I was doing a deep, dark investigative story about a slightly scary guy and his dealings with public money.
So, perhaps I am naive to be amazed when I see people on TV, usually in foreign countries, fire their weapons into the air apparently without a care about gravity.
Am I wrong to suppose that what goes up will come down?
Case in point, this week in eastern Saudi Arabia, a wedding party’s celebratory gunfire brought down an electric cable, killing 23 people. Guess that put a damper on the moment.
A Saudi official said the cable fell on a metal door and electrocuted everybody. Thirty others were injured.
This tragedy comes even though last month Saudi Arabia banned shooting firearms at weddings, a popular tradition in tribal areas of the conservative Islamic kingdom.
Whatever the punishment for the illegal firings, I suspect this result is far worse.
Of course, this reminds me of my favorite story about my younger brother’s hapless friend, Billy.
Billy is a legend from Pike County to Europe in his ability to participate in especially stupid behavior. If it weren’t for bad luck, Billy would have none at all.
One time, he claimed to be having an affair with a physically aggressive Hollywood actor’s wife and said he felt so guilty that he thought he should tell him.
Nawwwwwww, my brother said, advising the obvious.
One Christmas afternoon back in the 1970s, a McComb grandmother, Mrs. Dennis, bent over to pick up tinsel from her living room floor, when suddenly, she was struck in the, uh, back-hip by a bullet.
The police arrived and began their investigation. They looked all around her yard for evidence of a lurking shooter.
Then, in the early CSI days, somebody thought to do a little crime-scene reconstruction. They marked where Grama’s wounded hip would have been upon impact, the hole in her living room window and then calculated the trajectory for incoming.
Somehow or other, they deduced that the .45-caliber missile must have been fired from the vicinity of 7th Street.
Law enforcement checked with Sam’s Sports Shop, the local place folks went to buy guns, and discovered the purchase of a .45-caliber pistol right before Christmas.
The buyer was Billy’s father.
In Billy’s younger days, he was always getting into minor trouble with law enforcement, so the possibility that he knew anything about this was high, the cops conjectured.
Sure enough, Billy admitted – in exchange for leniency – that he’d gone out into the yard that Christmas afternoon with his gift and shot into the air, like they do in the movies.
Of course, Billy gave no thought to the certainty that the bullet had to seek Earth at some point. Never did he think it was going into Mrs. Dennis’ behind.
And so, as we all approach the gift-giving season and/or prepare for other celebratory events, let’s not forget Billy or Mrs. Dennis or those poor fried Saudis.
Those bullets will come down, and not necessarily very gently.
Count on it.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow her on Twitter @realnewsqueen.