For the 20th Year, Miami Begs Idiots Not to Shoot Guns Into the Air on New Year's

Miami just wants to go one six-month stretch without a bystander getting hit by celebratory gunfire. Is that too much to ask? Every Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, city and county officials must remind South Florida's insane, physics-challenged residents that, indeed, when you shoot a gun straight up into the air, those bullets don't just magically rocket off into the sun.

Bullets fall. And pretty much every year, they strike some innocent Miamian unlucky enough to get caught standing beneath the raining hail of lead.

Earlier today, City of Miami and Miami-Dade County officials held their annual "One Bullet Kills the Party" news conference, in which county Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez begged people to celebrate the New Year safely — that is, in any way other than by shooting firearms at the clouds.

"I would like to remind everyone that we come together every year — as a matter of fact, twice a year, for the New Year and Fourth of July — to ask and encourage our community and the residents of our community to put their guns down and celebrate with partying, fireworks, or what have you, but not with their guns," Edmonson said today from a lectern at Juan Pablo Duarte Park in Allapattah. "We ask you this every year."

Edmonson added that the "One Bullet Kills the Party" campaign began 20 years ago, after someone was shot at a New Year's Eve party in Overtown in 1997.

City of Miami Deputy Police Chief Ronald Papier also added that the department is really tired of having to hold this news conference every six months.

"This is the 20th year we are out here making this plea," Papier said. "And every year, someone, somewhere, is tragically injured or killed by one of these stray bullets from somebody celebrating. That causes a family to grieve and mourn and is a horrible way to enter into the new year."
As the Miami Herald noted earlier today, celebratory gunfire kills people across the nation on New Year's Eve: The Herald cited a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report about celebratory gunfire in Puerto Rico, which noted that two people die and 25 people are injured yearly because of the tradition. The Herald added that a Miamian was last grazed by a bullet in 2013, and a father of five was killed in 2007 when a bullet fell straight down and pierced the top of his head. Someone also infamously fired a gun during Fourth of July celebrations at the crowded, outdoor Bayside Marketplace, forcing everyone there to flee.

(According to the Herald, a second anti-celebratory-gunfire news conference today was held at the Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church near Liberty City.)

But at Duarte Park, the majority of today's gathering was dedicated to letting politicians and cops talk tough about gun violence in general. Commissioner Edmonson begged people to stop firing guns at one another in general, which is pretty sound advice year-round.
"This is something that is community-wide," she said. "This is county-wide. This is not just a City of Miami problem; this is not just a District 3 in the county problem. This is a South Florida problem."
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.