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Fireworks: guns as dual-purpose devices?

[ by Charles Cameron — the merest trifle — concerning things that go flash and bang, with potentially lethal consequences ]

It’s exuberance, exhilaration, it’s celebration, it’s party time. It’s dangerous and stupid like the man says, and it’s unfortunate when your neighbors just happen to bear the brunt of it. It’s also pretty much human nature, in some places it’s how you celebrate your daughter’s wedding…

For your contemplative consideration:


here’s the video to which the tweet in the upper panel above refers:


The quote in the lower panel comes from a New York Times Magazine article today, Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?

5 Responses to “Fireworks: guns as dual-purpose devices?”

  1. carl Says:

    No, it is not human nature to be an undisciplined self indulgent jerk who cares not much for the safety of others when it comes to handling firearms.  It is cultural.  You try that in a country that has a serious attitude towards firearms handling and you will meet with much disapprobation, to put it mildly.  You want to make noise at a wedding with fireworks, go for it.  You want to make noise by ripping off rounds hither and thither like those guys, you are a jerk.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi Carl:
    I don’t think we’re disagreeing on the basics, just on my phrasing.  I think the term “human nature” can legitimately be applied to what humans do when they’re “undisciplined” — discipline would then be what curbs its excesses.  
    My interest in posting the dyad was to see that a certain style of exuberance exhibited by the wealthy Arab playboys plays its role also in the behavior of at least a handful of Israeli personnel in a non-obviously celebratory situation. I think it’s dangerous and foolish either way, and I’m glad there are cultural constraints on such behavior where I live.
    To be honest, I wonder whether it may not be as much “adolescent” as “cultural”, though both play a role.
    From the LA Times as 2012 came to a close and 2013 was about to begin:

    Los Angeles officials are warning that anyone discharging a firearm into the air to celebrate the new year not only risks killing someone but could also face a lengthy prison sentence.
    “Firing into the air weapons in celebration puts innocent lives at risk,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said last week. “Nothing ruins the holiday season like an errant bullet coming down and killing an innocent.”
    [ … ]
    For more than a decade, city and county leaders have tried to quell celebratory gunfire.
    Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said a bullet discharged into the air falls at a rate of 300 to 700 mph, depending on the weapon — “easily enough to crack the human skull.”
    “Please celebrate New Year’s with your family, not in [Sheriff] Lee Baca’s jail or my jail,” Beck said, pledging to capture anyone firing a weapon. “Firing a gun in the air isn’t only dangerous and a crime but socially unacceptable.”

  3. carl Says:

    I’ll go with that.  But I think some cultures are a bit more disciplined than others.  Those Arabs are undisciplined.  The Israeli troop mentioned are undisciplined.  In the Arab case though I think that is more a cultural thing.  With the troops, it is (I hope) just lousy small unit leadership and not a part of Israeli culture.  You’re right though, we are both seeing the same thing from slightly different angles.
    The L.A. problem is interesting.  I would guess it is a subcultural thing.  Is it Mexican, gang-banger, a combination of both or something else again?  I don’t know.

  4. joey Says:

    I know far to many gun enthusiasts to think that we have a serious attitude to guns.  Most people that shoot guns (not hunters or law enforcement) are hopping with excitement, of one form or another, when they get to the range.  Most of the time its internalized, a look of calm satisfaction, their fathers hand still on there shoulder. Sometimes you see it though,  a look of goofy happiness, like a kid with a firecracker. Guns in america are not used to kill people,  there used to kill paper targets,  which is just a more well regulated version of what were looking at above.  People that have used guns for there intended purpose (or trained to) are a different kettle of fish, mostly.  if there normal,  learning to shoot to kill kind of saps the fun out of it.

    Those guys above are real grade A assholes by the way,  although I did see one conscientious objector going through the motions!

    My Grandfather in law came 3th a couple of months ago in a shooting event in salzberg, austria, it had over 200 shooters from southern germany and austria taking part, he makes his own ammunition, he used a modified Gewehr 98, from the 1920’s.  He used to hunt,  now he’s a game keeper,  he said he can’t bring himself to kill the animals anymore.  He’s 81.  The whole atmosphere at the event was uber serious,  it made me realize what children most guys are when it comes to guns.  

  5. Carl Says:


    Well by golly, if you say so it must be so. And those gun enthusiasts all act and look so normal too. Who’d a’thunk it? Now we actually know what constitutes normal.

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