Every year celebratory gunfire during New Year’s Eve causes damage, injury, and unfortunately, death. Despite this fact, the incidents of gunfire on this holiday are increasing as more people take part in the American gun culture. When a gun is fired into the air, those bullets land someplace, oftentimes, tragically, on someone. The group Citizens United Against Celebratory Gunfire is trying to change this horrific trend by bringing attention to the aftermath of celebratory gunfire.
Many people people believe that observing New Year’s Eve by attending a Watch Night service at church is a peaceful and safe alternative to being on the streets.Tragically, this is not always the case. Merkel Peters, 4, was sitting next to his mother in a DeKalb County, Georgia, church when a bullet struck him in the head in 2010. His mother, Nathalee, was uninjured but tells the story of how she thought that the church would be the safest place to escape the random gunfire in the community. The Rev. Henry Louis Adams, one of the leaders of Citizens United Against Celebratory Gunfire, has stated that DeKalb County and the city of Atlanta sound like a war zone during the Fourth of July, and especially on New Year’s Eve. The shooting starts when the sun goes down and gets worse as the night goes on.The police are simply overwhelmed. “New Year’s Eve is one of the most active days for celebratory gunfire, New Year’s Eve night into New Year’s morning, this is the day most of the fatalities, property damage and injuries take place,” he said.
One solution that the organization is advocating is called the “Shot Spotter” this device is able to pinpoint gunfire and alert police in real time. According to Adams, the device is being used in many urban areas to great effectiveness and there is hope that the city of Atlanta will implement the devices.In the meantime, Adams encourages people to visit the Facebook page “One Million Against Celebratory Gunfire” and make the pledge not to use firearms this New Year’s Eve.