February 21, 2008Foreign AffairsmissilesphysicsPublic PolicyscienceSecuritysmall armstrivia

Weekday Squib: Shooting in the air

The physics of celebratory gunfire

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Those watching television news might have wondered: what happens to all those bullets they fire into the air when they are celebrating this or that?

The Grandpa’s physics looks robust: The bullet comes down, at a speed lower than that at which it left the gun, but still fast enough to kill.

And in one study conducted over a New Year’s day celebration in Puerto Rico, it turned out that most of those (36%) hit the head. The International Action Network on Small Arms has reports from across the world of people dying due to celebratory gunfire. UNDP Macedonia ran a campaign to encourage people to practice safe celebration.

UNDP Macedonia via IANSA

Before you ask…it’s unlikely that you can hit a satellite, even one in low-earth orbit (LEO). [With apologies to readers who are in change of ballistic missiles.]

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