On the last day of the year people all over South Florida will be looking to bring in 2014’s first moments with a bang. But Miami officials are asking that guns be excluded from those New Year’s Eve celebrations.
On Monday, county commissioner Audrey Edmonson took a swing at tackling celebratory gunfire again this year with the “One Bullet Kills the Party” campaign.
Pitbull, also known as Mr. Worldwide, is the face of the campaign which seeks to make people aware of the dangers of celebratory bullets that cause can injuries, property damage, and in some cases, death.
Edmonson says the practice puts family safety at risk and should be put to an end.
“Guns are a weapon. They’re not a toy, they’re not fireworks and they’re not something you should play with,” she says. Edmonson says although intended for merriment, celebratory gunshots are unnecessary. “This is a death issue. Go out and get some fireworks if you must send something in the air. But not bullets.”
Discharging a firearm in celebration is a crime, says Edmonson and other city officials.
On Monday, Edmonson was joined by Mayor Tomas Regalado and Police Chief Manuel Orosa at conference aimed at deterring people from using guns for fun on New Year’s Eve or any other holiday. The conference is part of a campaign that began on New Year's Eve in 1997 -- the same year five-year-old Rickia Issac was fatally shot by a stray bullet.
The serious issue was given a face in 2010 after Miami-born Pitbull agreed to allow use of his image. The rapper did not grace the public with his presence at this year's conference, but last year he did make an appearance on a large poster ad for the campaign.
Pat Santangelo of the City of Miami Mayor’s office says that although firing guns during joyous occasions is rooted in many cultures, doing so is not fit for urban areas.
“That bullet that’s going up in the air you cannot predict where that’s going to land. It may injure or kill someone,” says Santangelo. “Nobody wants to know they caused unnecessary harm.”
Santangelo says the police should be called if guns are fired for any reason. He also mentioned devices are being placed in neighborhoods to aid police in detecting the location of offenders.
Fortunately, the past two years have been clear of reported New Year’s Eve gun incidents. City officials wish to keep it that way.
“What we’re trying to do is keep our record clear. We are trying to make this New Year’s Eve as safe as possible,” says Santangelo.
And if his face on campaign ads simply doesn’t satiate your plans for turning up, Pitbull will be performing in concert at 9 p.m. at American Airlines Arena on New Year’s Eve.