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That wacky KKK.
November 24, 2003 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes it is a funny world. Sometimes.
posted by xmutex (49 comments total)

 
what goes up must come down. Just the idea that they would be shooting the dude with a paint gun with a noose around his neck while shooting a pistol in the air is soooo idiotic that I say they deserve it. You think their initiation ceremony would be enough to get them to rethink how they treat minorities. Damn hick bigots.
posted by trbrts at 2:31 PM on November 24, 2003


Ah, the far right...guns....racism...preemptive invasions...quagmires. When they're not shooting themselves in the foot, they're shooting themselves in the head.

Gosh, all we need is a little funny antisemitism (from none other than Frau Coulter herself) to make today an even funnier wingnut world:

There's Joe Lieberman: Always Jewish. Wesley Clark: Found Out His Father Was Jewish in College. John Kerry: Jewish Since He Began Presidential Fund-Raising. Howard Dean: Married to a Jew. Al Sharpton: Circumcised. Even Hillary Clinton claimed to have unearthed some evidence that she was a Jew – along with the long lost evidence that she was a Yankees fan. And that, boys and girls, is how the Jews survived thousands of years of persecution: by being susceptible to pandering.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2003


I've always wondered why this doesn't happen more often (The whole bullet-shot-in-the-air-comes-down-and-hits-someone thing, not the whole klansman-ties-a-noose-around-other-klansman's-neck-and-shoots-him-with-paintballs-and-accidentally-shoots-him-in-the-head-with-a-real-bullet thing.)
posted by jpoulos at 2:45 PM on November 24, 2003


It would have been more poetic if it had hit him in the balls but hey, we'll take what we can get.

Hopefully that's one more hate monger that won't be making hate babies.

And jpoulos, I think it actually does happen with some regularity, its just not reported very often. Think about those celebrations where hundreds and thousands of soldiers are all firing into the air, those bullets have got to come down sometime.

It would be interesting to know how many purple hearts have been awarded for gunshot incidents like this.
posted by fenriq at 2:50 PM on November 24, 2003


Guns fired into the air are a major problem every New Year in the Philippines. Those bullets are a very real hazard, especially considering Manila's rather high population density. Our own house was hit by a stray bullet in '96. Fortunately the only victim was an innocent sliding glass door.

Some people simply do not understand that bullets come down, and at a significant percentage of the velocity at which they were fired upwards. Remember the Crimson Jihad in True Lies? It's not just bad fiction; the KKK is local proof of that.
posted by brownpau at 2:50 PM on November 24, 2003


And jpoulos, I think it actually does happen with some regularity, its just not reported very often
New Years & July 4ths.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:52 PM on November 24, 2003


But what if the bullet fell down on Ann Coulter? That, my friends, would be POETIC.
posted by luriete at 3:07 PM on November 24, 2003


1) Fold_and_mutilate needs to be renamed fold_and_derail

2) The physics of this boggles the mind. How high would a bullet go when fired straight up, and how would that translate into odds against this happening? It's got to be astronomical. Sounds like divine intervention to me.
posted by tcskeptic at 3:12 PM on November 24, 2003


Sometimes karma works.
posted by homunculus at 3:15 PM on November 24, 2003


But what if the bullet fell down on Ann Coulter? That, my friends, would be POETIC.
She's more of a high-class klanswoman anyway (at least she thinks she's high-class). And on her anti-semitism--this is not the first time by a long shot that she's pointed out other people's jewishness to make a point (whether friend or foe)--In a big story on neo-cons in the Observer, when asked if she was one, her reply was, "No, I'm not jewish."
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on November 24, 2003


On a New Years eve in 1986 here in Flint, we heard this popping sound near or, inside the house. I figured it was someone outside tossing firecrackers against the house. It was an old farm-type house in the hood...

Around 2:00 AM, my (then) wife woke me up yelping about the ceiling in my oldest daughters room coming down. I found a .762 round in the middle of the plaster debris about 2-3 feet from her head. I remembered hearing the automatic weapon rapid fire sound somewhere off in the distance at 12:00. Being young and dumb, I had no idea that this was the thing to do at New Years. The round traveled through a slate roof, the roof sheathing, part of a rafter, and through 125 year old plaster and lathe... it was stuck in the hardwood floor... had to get it out with pliers.

Yeah so, I've always been a big fan of guns in the hands of idiots...
posted by Dean_Paxton at 3:43 PM on November 24, 2003


There was this scene in O Brother Where Art Thou... (a falling flaming cross did the honors in that. Ah, sweet justice.)
posted by konolia at 3:59 PM on November 24, 2003


f+m: Ah, the far right... When they're not shooting themselves in the foot, they're shooting themselves in the head.

Actually, this is an instance of someone shooting someone else in the head, and I'm disappointed that you find it amusing.
posted by eddydamascene at 4:04 PM on November 24, 2003


eddydamascene: I think it's pretty great.

I may throw a party tonight for it, in fact.
posted by xmutex at 4:08 PM on November 24, 2003


That is freakin' hilarious.
posted by unreason at 4:09 PM on November 24, 2003


it's just too bad he didn't die, along with the rest of them
posted by poopy at 4:34 PM on November 24, 2003


Mkay.. KKK idiots standing around in a field. Some of them are shooting this other guy with paint pellets while another guy shoots up in the sky to make it sound like the real thing. The bullets fall back down towards the Earth and one of them goes through an idiot's head.

...Mkay. ...Nnnnope. Still not laughing. I can't see how this is anything but pathetic. And I laugh at almost anything. I actually thought a couple minutes of Weekend At Bernies were amusing.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2003


I was feeling crappy about the world at large and came to this link looking for kittens or something. The fact that we're laughing about a near-fatal injury (regardless of the scum) was sort of a let down.

More kittens please.
posted by jragon at 5:36 PM on November 24, 2003


"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall down an open manhole cover and die." - Mel Brooks
--for zach and jragon : >
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on November 24, 2003


How high would a bullet go when fired straight up

Well, a ballpark guess for muzzle velocity for a pistol is 1000 ft/sec (some seem to be lower, some higher), and gravity is 32 ft/(sec**2).

If we can believe the physics geeks who provided a formula

(muzzle velocity)**2
--------------------------- ,
2*gravity

then it would go ~15000 feet (~3 miles ~5km) high in a vacuum.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:43 PM on November 24, 2003


I think it's pretty great.

But why is it great? If this discourages someone else from trying to join, or if it wakes someone up to the idea that these are dangerous people, sure, that's great. Because he's a bigot, and he deserves it? Not so great.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2003


I really want to think that a fellow human being getting a bullet to the head by accident is a tragic accident - I really do. But I can't - there is a line that, once crossed, removes any possibility of getting sympathy from me and any member of the KKK has not only crossed that line, but has disappeared out of sight of it. Pity it wasn't a poisoned bullet.
posted by dg at 6:45 PM on November 24, 2003


Hey, everyone, let's laugh! Another stupid racist died! I hate racists!
posted by angry modem at 7:32 PM on November 24, 2003


Wow. One Klansman accidentally shoots another Klansman in the head while still other Klansmen renact a lynching with paintball guns celebrating a history of murder. The world offers you comic gold and you people want kittens.
posted by xmutex at 8:27 PM on November 24, 2003


ROU -- Thanks for the answer. Now the odds against this happening seem higher still. Maybe this wasn't an accident at all.
posted by tcskeptic at 8:33 PM on November 24, 2003


A bullet fired upwards at any angle will hit the ground with the same velocity it had when it left the barrel of the gun (minus a bit for air friction). This is why I always suggest to Klansmen that, when in a large crowd of their peers, they should make a point to fire horizontally in order to prevent any mishaps.
posted by Oddly at 8:47 PM on November 24, 2003


Ummm ... oddly ... a bullet fired upwards will hit the ground with the same velocity as a bullet dropped from the same height of the high point of the fired bullet's trajectory.

To put it another way ... imagine a bullet fired straight up.

It will go up and up and up ... its velocity steadily decreasing ... until its upward velocity falls to zero for an instant. Here, gravity wins, and the bullet starts falling back to earth. From this point on, its velocity once it hits the ground will be a function of the height from which it falls, gravity, and wind resistance. Its muzzle velocity will have no bearing.

Hence, it would be just as if the bullet was dropped from that height. Then you get into what ROU_Xenophobe was talking about: how high does the bullet get?
posted by bright cold day at 9:53 PM on November 24, 2003


Or, on second reading, you meant the bullet's horizontal velocity, and you'd be right.
posted by bright cold day at 10:00 PM on November 24, 2003


I laughed, then sighed. Sometimes, as a species, we shamelessly plumb the depths of unadulterated stupidity so thoroughly that you can't do much else.
posted by The God Complex at 10:48 PM on November 24, 2003


The world offers you comic gold and you people want kittens.

Yes! Or a tiger singing Shimmy Shimmy Ya!
posted by eddydamascene at 12:11 AM on November 25, 2003


the same velocity it had when it left the barrel of the gun (minus a bit for air friction).

the same velocity as a bullet dropped from the same height of the high point of the fired bullet's trajectory.


Here's an argument with profound implications! Enough of this crap about racism in encyclopedias and war in Iraq!

These two velocities are exactly the same. But B.C. Day loses points for saying its muzzle velocity will have no bearing. So, Oddly wins the pony.
posted by freebird at 12:17 AM on November 25, 2003


eddydamascene spake: But why is it great?

Where to start, where to start?

How about because the KKK is a century-old terrorist organization with a history of violence and murder, and it's damned funny to consider that their own inherent violence caused the critical injury of one of their own stupid members?

Or, perhaps, because many klan members advocate not only the violent overthrow of the United States, but the violent death of many of its citizens, so this leaves them two fewer hooded thugs (one shot, one in jail) to try to accomplish that goal?

Or maybe it's just the sweetly ironic mental image of some inbred moron, whose IQ apparently isn't much higher than his age, accidentally shooting a fellow inbred moron, whose IQ couldn't be much more than double his age, in a feat of physics and aerodynamics so improbable that neither of them could even remotely understand how extremely special it is that nature/God/what-have-you teamed up to make it happen to them?

The possibilities are endless.
posted by wdpeck at 2:47 AM on November 25, 2003


Actually, comedy is when a proponent of NOT covering the manholes falls into one and dies. Not really an accident, is it?

/Reminds me of "you know you're a redneck when five or more of your relatives have died immediately after saying 'watch this!'"
posted by magullo at 4:22 AM on November 25, 2003


But B.C. Day loses points for saying its muzzle velocity will have no bearing.

Nope, he gets a gold star for addressing the point. The implication that a bullet will come down Yea Quickly by virtue of having come out of a gun is misleading. Terminal velocity is important.
posted by cortex at 5:40 AM on November 25, 2003


I wonder, exactly, how airodynamic a bullet really is... I mean, if you drop a bullet from a few miles up, is it accelerating the entire way down? or does it reach a terminal velocity, and if so, what is it for a typical round?

The fact that the bullet went straight through his skull, in the top and out the bottom, means the bullet had to be doing pretty damn fast... at least close to the speed of a bullet fired from a gun.

What if you fired a gun downward from a couple miles up, would the bullet be going any faster?

I know a guy almost died over this... but every new years eve I hear tons of weapon fire... and I always wondered about this. In my city, at least one person is sure to get hit... kindof like the city collectively holding a lottery to see who dies that night.
posted by LoopSouth at 7:36 AM on November 25, 2003


There are some strange physics at work.
Assuming that the bullet can travel 3 miles vertically, doesn't the KKK guy have to fire at something like a 89.9999 degree angle (i.e. nearly perfect, but not TOO perfect as to result in self-Darwinism) in order to take out a guy standing somewhat near him?


OK math people, get to work, and don't forget to take the curvature of the earth into account. You have 15 minutes.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:45 AM on November 25, 2003


and the Bernouli efffect. and the relative density of the different masses of air that it travels through. then you'll just have to assume that there was absolutely zero air movement at any altitude or this is absofuckinglutely impossible. i vote that it richocheted off of a bird. that is approximately a gajillion times more likely.

anyway, yay for a wounded klansman. boo for a not actually dead klansman. what a waste of improbability.
posted by badstone at 9:58 AM on November 25, 2003


I'm finding it damn near impossible not to chuckle at this. Sorry.
posted by adampsyche at 10:06 AM on November 25, 2003


I think what people are marveling about is the amazing accuracy with which you'd need to toss a bullet off a three- (or almost four-, by my math: V_muzzle = 350 m/s, G = -9.8 m/s^2, G * ( V_muzzle / G ) ^ 2 / 2 = 6250 m = 3.88356995 miles) mile tall tower to hit a racist asshole in the top of his pointy head. (Uh, in a vacuum, because I have work to do...)

Assuming an 8" wide head and a distance of 4 miles = 63360" then the allowable angle will be sin(8/63360) = 0.00723431558 degrees which is pretty fucking nice aim! I am so buying God a beer.
posted by nicwolff at 10:14 AM on November 25, 2003


at least close to the speed of a bullet fired from a gun.

If I remember high school physics correctly, it would be going exactly the speed of a bullet fired from a gun--at least it would in a vaccuum. All the kinetic energy the bullet has upon being fired is transferred into potential energy, which is then released back into kinetic energy as the bullet falls. Some of the energy is transferred into heat through friction with the air, but most of it remains.

So, in other words, you're right. It's close to the speed of a bullet fired from a gun. But not quite.
posted by jpoulos at 10:51 AM on November 25, 2003


Interesting: by my rough calculations the rise and fall of a bullet fired roughly vertically at the speeds cited would take the better part of a minute to return. Or do I need more coffee? However, these calculations are for motion in a vacuum. The presence of air would slow the bullet much faster, keeping it lower, returning it to the ground sooner, and reducing the horizontal distance that it would travel. Anyone out there know how to calculate the actual motion of a bullet through air?
posted by Songdog at 10:56 AM on November 25, 2003


What if you fired a gun downward from a couple miles up, would the bullet be going any faster?

Again, I'm reaching back into the musty corner of my memory, but I think it would depend on how far up you shot it from. Even if you shoot it straight down, eventually it's going to lose all the energy imparted to it from the gun. At that point, it's just falling. So if you were high enough, by the time the bullet got to the ground, it would be going the same speed as it would if you had dropped it from the same height. The difference would be how quickly it got to that point. The speed at that instance, though, would be the same.

Does this make sense or am I talking out of my ass?
posted by jpoulos at 10:56 AM on November 25, 2003


Muzzle velocity has zero to do with how fast a bullet falls if its shot straight up. Like most other masses, a falling bullet will reach a terminal velocity depending on its cross section and wind resistance.

Shooting a gun straight down would, eventually, hit the ground at the same speed as a bullet that had been shot upward, unless the distance the bullet had to travel was less than the charge imparted on it by the exploding gun powder. Maybe I didn't explain that clearly but the gist is that shooting downward from fifty thousand feet up wouldn't affect how fast the bullet was going when it hit the ground. Firing down from a thousand feet would because the bullet would still have much of the energy from the gun blast pushing it.

And yes, I think this is damned funny. I do like the idea of having the KKK shoot their guns horizontally instead of vertically. Preferably at each other.
posted by fenriq at 11:48 AM on November 25, 2003


I hate to give anyone ideas, but if they must do this sort of thing the least they could do is fire into the ground. Barring ricochets it seems like a safer approach.
posted by Songdog at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2003


jpoulos - You're sort of right, but for the wrong reason. If the bullet has far enough to fall, it will eventually reach terminal velocity, which is the speed at which the de-acceleration from air resistance matches the acceleration from gravity. From that point on, the speed of the bullet will remain the same regardless of the speed it started out at. However, the bullet does not just "lose" the energy it starts with on its own. If the bullet was falling in a vacuum, it would always land with a greater speed when it was fired from a gun then when it was just dropped.
posted by tdismukes at 11:59 AM on November 25, 2003


Is this what they call a 'teachable moment'?
posted by sudama at 12:11 PM on November 25, 2003


You've all neglected that the bullet is going to tumble on the way down. That's going to slow it down immensely.

IMO, chances are more likely that it ricocheted off a branch in the tree. Equally likely, according to other reports, is that the dumbass actually walked into the line of fire (and that the "firing up into the sky" line is purest bullshit).

Whatever the answer is, the only real shame is that it wasn't more fatal for more of the participants. The KKK is a cancer in our society, and like a cancer, one does not get upset when it is excised.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:13 PM on November 25, 2003


Anyone out there know how to calculate the actual motion of a bullet through air?

With a damping force proportional to the bullet velocity (-kv), the equation of motion is:
x(t)=(v0+mg/k)m/k(1-exp(-kt/m))-mgt/k
and the maximum height is
xmax=mv0/k-mg(m/k)^2*ln(1+kv0/mg).
The terminal velocity is -mg/k.

The KKK is a cancer in our society, and like a cancer, one does not get upset when it is excised.

Sure, but this is not chemotherapy. This is not even treatment. What's the point of all the high-fiving?
posted by eddydamascene at 2:52 PM on November 25, 2003


Sure, but this is not chemotherapy. This is not even treatment. What's the point of all the high-fiving?

Self-congratulation. It allows people to imagine that only poor white southerners or as someone put it "inbred morons" are capable of being racist. Allows for the rush of moral indignation and cultural superiority in one neat package. Not to mention, it allows "peace loving" types to enjoy the forbidden joy of exulting in violent death.

I've got absolutely zero sympathy for these fucks, but at the same time, they weild next to no actual power. You could wipe the the Klan and all other overt racists off the planet and the problems of racism and discrimination would still be here.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on November 25, 2003


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