Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shooting the Moon? Try a Bulletproof Bra

I wasn't gonna go there. I really wasn't.

Shooting the Moon is a popular sport in certain circles, and I really do hate to be a killjoy.

If you're not familiar with the vernacular, Shooting the Moon is what you call it when someone shoots a gun into the air in celebration. They do this a lot in places like Iraq.

And Louisiana. And Florida.

The problem is, the bullet comes back down to earth.


Now, DC or LL or this math whiz guy G I lived with in New Orleans can probably give you the mathematical explanation of the velocity of the bullet as it returns to earth.

Me, I always forget the details. All I need to know is, if it bonks you on the head you're a goner.

When I lived in New Orleans, we've have a death here and there on the 4th of July and on New Year's Eve. Once they actually tracked the shooter down, and told him he'd killed a little girl by accident. This tore him up something fierce, and he dedicated the rest of his life to traveling around giving talks about how dangerous it is to shoot off your gun in the air.

One New Year's, I was standing on the balcony of the house I lived in with G. This was a huge old New Orleans "double," a fine historic house, about 3000 square feet on each side. It had high ceilings on the first and second floors, and those large breezy balconies they used to use to keep such houses cool in summer.

From a certain spot you could stand on that second floor balcony and watch the city fireworks going off. I felt fairly safe since it was a wide balcony and I stayed under its roof.

G was adamant about NEVER setting foot outside, in any fashion, while there was a chance of bullets. He knew all about different death cases and that trajectory equation and, well, just plain hated the very idea of Shooting the Moon. HATED it.

But I really did think the balcony was a safe area. And I finally talked him into coming out for just a minute to watch this one really great series of fireworks.

He came out. Whereupon, he promptly got shot.

The bullet that fell out of the air came down quite straight. It hit his leg just below the knee, and slid down his blue jeans and landed in his shoe.

It was very hot, that bullet.

The poor man was jumping around saying FUCK i've been SHOT trying to get safely back inside as quick as he could, at the same time this hot bullet was burning his foot, and his blue jeans were smoking and threatening to burst into flame any second.


As you can imagine, I felt pretty embarrassed and ashamed of myself and guilty.

Fortunately, the bullet didn't break the skin. He had a monster bruise, all long and swollen and black and blue, and the skin was a little burned. The jeans were pretty much ruined - depending on your taste in displaying evidence of your New Year's Eve adventures. But he was okay. Well, he was pretty mad. But physically okay.

He kept the bullet. It don't remember what caliber it was, except that it was a Really Big One.

So. Just think if he'd had the foresight to wear a Bulletproof Bra.
Woman's Bra Strap Protects Her From New Year's Eve Bullet
The Associated Press
Published: Jan 7, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - One woman discovered on New Year's Eve that her bra could do more than lift and support when a falling bullet was halted by the strap on her left shoulder.

Debbie Bingham, 46, an Atlanta resident visiting family in St. Petersburg, said her gold-colored bra slowed the falling bullet during the holiday celebrations.

Her injuries may have been much more severe had it not been for her bra strap, said George Kajtsa, spokesman for the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Bingham says she was outside with her daughter and son, ringing in the New Year and viewing the local fireworks display, when she felt a sharp pain in her left shoulder at 11:40 p.m.

Bingham's daughter, Solanda Bingham, 30, noticed blood seeping through her mother's white shirt.

"We were sitting at the picnic table and listening to music, and my mom said, 'Ow,' " the daughter said.

The daughter said she looked over, saw the blood and shouted, "My mother's been shot My mother's been shot!"

The bullet was halfway inside Bingham's bra, the other half barely breaking the skin, Bingham later told WTSP-TV.

Someone had fired a gun into the air, and Bingham was struck as the .45-caliber bullet fell back to earth. Kajtsa described the wound as a "big scratch with bruising."

Bingham was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where she was given five stitches. The bullet was lodged in the bra strap and was cut out by doctors.

As for Bingham, she said she is just thankful for her bra.

"It was a very cheap bra. It wasn't very expensive, and I'd love to have a couple more of those bras," she told WTSP.
Find this article at: http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB7HDU0NWE.html


Livey said...

I thought shooting the moon was showing your bare ass?

pepektheassassin said...

livey, that's whatcha get for thinkin'!

k, tell Walter Pepek is indeed Czech! The name is from a chapbook of poetry I wrote called Pepek the Assassin, about this guy who kills a policeman for beating a horse and escapes to Connecticutt, where he lives on the beach and has weird mystical experiences (like dancing on the beach with three voluptious naked ladies ala Shadrach, Mechac, and Abednigo in the furnace, meeting a spacy seagull, hearing the voice of God, etc) before walking out into the Atlantic and drowning. As he drowns, he meets the policeman, who kisses him and returns the Pepek's eye (which he poked out with his bayonet.) A sort of FORGIVENESS and RESTORATION thing going on here you understand....

His full name (when he is born his grandmother writes it in the family Book) is Josef Czeslaw Petr Pepek.


So. He is no relation to me, but I made him up, and I love him. I think this is my best poetry. I should send you and Walter a copy.

...And so, Pepek,
My Uncle, meets God,
With his billowing hair
Trailing long sargasso weeds,
His pockets filled with sharks'teeth
And eels....


Desert Cat said...

If someone's determined to shoot the moon, the safest thing (besides bottle rockets) would be #7-1/2 birdshot out of a shotgun. Plenty of bang, but the little pellets have much less chance of hurting anything on the way down because the terminal velocity is much lower than something ridiculous like a .45 round.

Desert Cat said...

I've mentioned that the police helicopters disappear from the Tucson sky for a couple hours every Dec 31/Jan 1, haven't I?

k said...

Livey, it is indeed. Two meanings for the same phrase. Usually we shorten it to *mooning* for the bare butt bizness. But I liked how the mental image of mooning tied in with the gun AND the bulletproof bra. Especially the thought of G in that bra...He was a jerk. Even his mamma told me so.

Pepek! Shark's teeth!!! :-O !!!

Walter wishes me to correct a misstatement: he's not shy about his English, he's uncomfortable with it.

I say, --This is what happens when you speak English as a seventh language.

You had no idea I've been telling him, --So okay, go download one of those keyboard translators with the correct pronunciation symbols for Czech or Slovak - he is NOT Czech he is Slovak!!! - cause maybe she knows the language and then you wouldn't have to worry about your English...

We would absolutely ADORE to have a copy. Ummm...autographed, especially.

DC, you are eminently sensible.

Looks like your helicopter cops are too.

LL said...

Without friction (which is mostly negligible) and whatnot, the bullet should have the same terminal velocity coming down as it had going up (that's with a straight up and down shot). But we all know there is friction. AND it appears that the shot was not straight up, but angled upwards. So you have to do the vertical movement and the horizontal movement. Lucky for Ms. Bra lady, the number was low. I can't give you the exact numbers cuz I don't know the starting velocity. ;)

k said...

aHA! That was just how G had described it. Now I forget this part: does the increased horizontal movement (bra lady) increase or decrease the terminal velocity?

Unless it was almost completely spent at the time of impact - say, from running into little branches in trees, ricocheting off brick, whatnot - and his thick blue jeans actually stopped its forward motion, G's bullet was far more vertical, from our estimates at that crime scene. Of course there had to be at least a smidgen of horizontal too, since it made it under the balcony roof (as opposed to THROUGH the balcony roof), and since it wasn't either of US that fired that bullet.

Or his parents, who lived in the other half of the double house. We hoped so anyway.

I did notice G casting dark looks at the neighbors for several blocks around, after that.