This tradition has to stop now

The recent accidental shooting of a young woman in the community brings to light a disturbing and insipid tradition in the area — people shooting off firearms to mark the new year.

The gist of this, apparently, is to fire live rounds into the air as the new year dawns. There are numerous stupid things that people in every part of the world do on a day-to-day basis.

This might be the most stupid of all.

See, what goes up, must inevitably come down. That means that the rounds of ammunition fired into the air will eventually come back down to earth — at an accelerated speed. That means that people can be killed, even people blocks away.

Whatever happened to sparklers, or banging pots and pans? Don’t those practices seem much more safe than firing guns wildly into the air?

Cpl. Jeff Oldham of the Delaware State Police said unit dispatchers received “multiple” reports of gunfire throughout the county as the new year came. He also added that many of them were legal since they were on private property and not near other dwellings.

Still, we’re not sold on this concept.

Actually, we’re completely against this concept. For starters, New Year’s Eve historically brings quite a bit of alcohol into the conversation. Now we’re mixing firearms with that alcohol? This tradition just keeps getting more stupid from every angle.

The days of a wide-open Sussex County are behind us, and the entire community is becoming more intertwined each day as towns incorporate areas and developments fill open space. A person has a right to fire their registered weapons on their private land, if they are not near other dwellings. But that is a far cry from drunkenly squeezing off live rounds into the night to celebrate a holiday.

That’s just foolish and irresponsible.


There’s a new sheriff in town.

Former Delaware State Police officer Eric Swanson was sworn in as Sussex County sheriff on Tuesday, putting an end to the often-entertaining, always-controversial tenure of Robert Reed, who battled with Sussex County Council over the specifics of his job responsibilities.

We’d like to wish Sheriff Swanson luck and success in his new position, and offer good luck to Reed in this new chapter in his life.