What Not to Do on New Year's Eve

A simple physics lesson should be enough to convince people that firing a gun into the air is a poor idea.

A small-caliber bullet rockets two miles high at 300 to 700 feet per second and it will return to earth at a powerful enough velocity to penetrate a  human skull, said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.

But every December, the department issues a reminder: don't fire guns in the air to celebrate the new year.

"I feel silly having to say it, but you still have to say it," Hutchens said. "There are other ways to celebrate the new year. And  no one would want to have to live with murdering someone."

Hutchens pointed to the death of 9-year-old Xavier Morales, who was  killed July 4, 2002. He was stuck by stray bullet during a Buena Park fireworks demonstration after someone shot a gun in the air.

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