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Shotgun wedding
January 18, 2013 1:02 AM   Subscribe

Shotgun wedding (video) in Bir el Ater, Algeria. I don't know anything about this video, but discovered that Bir el Ater was cradle of the stoneage Aterian civilization between about 80,000 and 40,000 years ago.
posted by stbalbach (25 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bir el Ater was also an early pioneer of the pothole industry apparently.
posted by mannequito at 1:17 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I've got my prehistory right, the Sahara was not yet a desert at that point.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. I wonder what the death-&-injury-per-wedding ratio is?

Apparently, a number of places have this custom, and it's been outlawed in Saudi Arabia, where there have been some tragic consequences as a result of the practice. Russia is working on it.
posted by taz at 2:04 AM on January 18, 2013


1 is that live fire?
2 was that muzzle loading???!
(these are genuine questions, i'd be interested to know)
3 reminded me of what a wuss i am, by reminding me of what they print on the back of UK highway code "accidents are the result of taking risks" - it's always health and safety thinking versus spontaneity and going for it which really seems to separate the first world from the third (that and being able to drink the tapwater) - and of what i thought at the time were the racist words of Audiard about arab culture's attraction for his gay friends (ok, bodies, not culture, i suppose - but he was talking about how his curiosity was aroused by his gay friends' obsession with pulling beurs, and the different ways he tried to explain it) "a culture of uncompromised masculinity" (NB i am not implying gay men are racist, i know that for a lot of people, because of being too similar to find another person's exotic enough to be sexualised, it's essential to create a gap like that between genders if you're gay, so people go for an age gap or a background-culture gap or whatever) and that frankly i prefer my men 'feminine' (by comparison). But this bit (3) is my wittering.
posted by maiamaia at 2:17 AM on January 18, 2013


I don't profess to be any kind of firearms expert but it looks like they're just firing big blanks of black powder. Doesn't look like there's any shot loaded. Can you load black powder in a modern shotgun? Wouldn't it mess it up? I thought shotgun shells (at least like the kind they sell at WalMart) are loaded with smokeless powder.
posted by smoothvirus at 2:20 AM on January 18, 2013


Yes, i thought it was blanks because they seem to be cleaning the muzzles rather than loading them, which seems to be breech, but everyone seems to be doing it. Still a bit risky (even as a child i was very prim).
posted by maiamaia at 2:26 AM on January 18, 2013


That does not look like a very smart way to behave, but considering all the intoxicated antics involved in most weddings (drunken men flinging drunken women into the drunken air), maybe firing shotguns with what I hope are only blanks isn't too much worse than fireworks. Just don't fire those things with the muzzles anywhere near someone's skin.
posted by pracowity at 3:01 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was wondering about the same pracowity, but then again, muslims & booze? We'll probably never know. I hope the NRA isn't watching this. One can only shiver at the thought they are going to use the 'fun and games' angle in their follow up campaign to fight common sense.
posted by ouke at 3:08 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This gives new meaning to the term 'what the fuck?'
posted by sfts2 at 3:31 AM on January 18, 2013


in wikipedia it says it's 'now a mining city' near Tebesssa, and under Tebessa it says 'nearby there is a phosphate mine', i hope they're not phosphating themselves! but maybe that means there is some tradition of rockets or something?
posted by maiamaia at 3:54 AM on January 18, 2013


also, i notice videosift has a category called *Eia, is this a new word? I don't want to do a David Cameron (thought lol meant lots of love if you've missed our minor news)
posted by maiamaia at 3:56 AM on January 18, 2013


It would be simple to cut the end off of a shotgun shell and remove the shot, there's still a wad in the shell, between the powder and the shot, that would keep the powder in the shell.

Not that I did that when I was a kid to try and kill a fly in my room, I would have been stupid to do that, really, that wouldn't make sense.
posted by HuronBob at 4:07 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's hard to believe that you guys have never seen or heard of people shooting guns during celebrations. Here's the wiki article on celebratory gunfire. It lists this being primarily in the Balkans, the Middle East, regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, Latin America, and parts of the US.

Instead of combining the video with photos of ancient arrowheads, you could link to videos and discussion about feu de joie and 21-gun salute to make this post feel less like a sneer.
posted by Houstonian at 4:11 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't decide what is weirder. The contents of the video or the presentation of it here with supporting information on what ancient civilization spawned there.
posted by DU at 4:28 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, people die from celebratory gunfire, but that happens when they shoot live rounds skyward from pistols or rifles. Honestly, this seems only as dangerous as teenagers playing around with fireworks, and they seem to be enjoying themselves far more. It's irresponsible, sure, but I'd rather enjoy the show than clutch my pearls.
posted by aw_yiss at 4:33 AM on January 18, 2013


It's hard to believe that you guys have never seen or heard of people shooting guns during celebrations.

We're heard of it. There's plenty of video going around of various unsafe people firing their guns in celebration. But they're generally holding their guns high and firing into the air on the (erroneous) assumption that a bullet won't kill anyone on the way down.

The guys in this post are twirling their shotguns like cheerleading batons and blasting them straight into the ground a couple inches from their own toes. If those guns are really loaded, people must be regularly blowing bits off themselves and one another.
posted by pracowity at 4:33 AM on January 18, 2013


Actually, I see that the poster has an AskMe about this same topic more than half a year ago, so it was no surprise that people do this. The ancient civilization tie-in, then, really is so we can gawk and stare wide-eyed at these primitive people and their strange ways? It's a judgment against celebratory gunfire (not the types practiced by Europeans, but the other kind) as Stone Age-like? Because it's not hard to find information about the history of celebratory gunfire, the problems of injury with it, or even the culture of Algeria and Tunisia. So, why this combination?
posted by Houstonian at 4:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


pracowity: "That does not look like a very smart way to behave, but considering all the intoxicated antics involved in most weddings (drunken men flinging drunken women into the drunken air), maybe firing shotguns with what I hope are only blanks isn't too much worse than fireworks. Just don't fire those things with the muzzles anywhere near someone's skin."

Yeah, thanks for reminding me how boring my wedding (that had the planning stolen from me) was. I mean, even the garter was bone sober.
posted by Samizdata at 5:45 AM on January 18, 2013


That looks super fun. Hope I get invited to an Algerian wedding someday.
posted by orme at 5:48 AM on January 18, 2013


It's hard to believe that you guys have never seen or heard of people shooting guns during celebrations.

That is because the spending of Americans on their military is not framed as "it is a wondrous day when we, the masters of war, who build the big guns, who build all the planes and build all the bombs have been paid and therefore we should celebrate our good fortune" but instead take the position that "Thank you for your service to the nation".

That somehow the use of explosives in a chamber to create a 'kinetic' event is noble.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:14 AM on January 18, 2013


I think the more important question is: How do I learn to ululate like that? It would be awesome at concerts.
posted by genmonster at 6:56 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's really more appropriate to call the Aterian an archaeological industry rather than a civilization. The Aterian's a method for making tanged stone tools; we don't know what, if any, cultural commonalities existed throughout its distribution.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:12 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would assume blanks, yes, but that doesn't make it safe:
At point blank range, the effect of the powder gasses is similar to a small explosion so although the paper wadding in the blank that Hexum discharged did not penetrate his skull, there was enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propel the pieces into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:24 AM on January 18, 2013


genmonster: watch a *lot* of Xena. Worked for me!
posted by Mooseli at 7:34 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the pellets don't return to earth at the same speed as muzzle velocity (say, 1000 mph typical). Their return is limited by terminal velocity in air, which is probably more like a few hundred mph (200 mph typical for big objects; spheres might range higher). So, while really hot iron pellets at 300 mph might not be fun... they aren't necessarily as deadly as having the shotgun fired at you.

Which is why this sort of celebration doesn't Darwin itself out of existence. The odds of dying from/being pierced by pellets is much, much lower than the odds of being hit by them.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2013


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