For some reason, gun safety seems to be an elusive concept for some people. Be it not pointing a firearm at someone, keeping one’s finger off the trigger or forgetting to always assume that a firearm is loaded, some folks aren’t exactly responsible enough to bear arms, let alone bear children.
Still, it comes as a surprise sometimes that even one of the most basic concepts on Earth is easily forgotten: that which goes up must eventually come down.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re talking about celebratory gunfire.
While generally associated with the Middle East, celebratory gunfire has had historical examples in more or less any location where human beings have firearms. Compelled to express their joy in explosive ways, individuals often point the muzzle of their weapons skyward, sending hot lead into the air- often failing to consider that said projectile has to come down eventually.
Such was the case of 23-year-old New Yorker and Army Private Daniel Carpio, who, while on leave back in 2005, decided he would fire an illegally-possessed handgun into the air, killing 28-year-old Bengali Muslim Selina Akther, setting off serious local tensions at a time when the Global War on Terror was at fever pitch in terms of unpopularity.
Home on leave from his new duty station at Texas’ Fort Hood, the Queens resident had been drinking liquor prior to coming up with the grand idea of walking around his neighborhood with an illegally-purchased 9mm handgun.
Forty-five minutes before New Year’s Eve became New Year’s Day, Private Carpio fired his weapon toward the sky several times, with one of the rounds entering a nearby window and stroking Akther in the eye.
At the time of her death, she was a married mother of two.
According to the New York Times, the morning after the shooting, he awoke and saw the news of Akther’s death on the television and decided to turn himself in at a nearby police station.
Initially accused of committing a hate crime by the local Muslim community, Carpio became a walking target for some time until police determined he wasn’t so much “hate crime material” as he was a dumbass.
Still, not everyone was convinced.
“This was a hate crime,” said Jafor Mita, cousin of Akther’s husband, Golam Maola. “This person was a member of the Army at war against Muslims. When a Muslim-looking woman came to the window, he shot her. This cannot be a mistake. He was a professional soldier. He knew how to shoot.”
Eventually charged and tried, Carpio was sentenced to twelve years in prison for second-class manslaughter. Apologetic, he took his punishment and expressed his remorse.
“I apologize for my recklessness and everything else,” Carpio said at his sentencing in June of 2006. “I can’t say nothing. Me being put in that position, I would hate the person that would do that.”
According to My Life of Crime, he was released on parole in December of 2013, and is -hopefully- making better decisions with his life.
Carpio’s case is a perfect example of how an individual’s negligence and firearms can have deadly consequences that can alter the life path of more than one person.
After all, once you fire a bullet, you can’t take it back.
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