Watching the Libyans celebrate the death of Moammar Gadhafi Thursday by shooting their guns in the air made me cringe. I worried that innocent folks would be killed from those bullets raining down on the celebrants.
Turns out others worry, too. A Google search showed several bloggers wondering the same. And the show MythBusters studied the phenomenon in 2006 and concluded:
If a bullet is fired upward at a non-vertical angle… it will maintain its spin and will reach a high enough speed to be lethal on impact. Because of this potentiality, firing a gun into the air is illegal in most states, and even in the states that it is legal, it is not recommended by the police. Also the MythBusters were able to identify two people who had been injured by falling bullets, one of them fatally injured.
(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)