A wedding party in Saudi Arabia has almost turned into a tragedy after the groom’s brother lost control of his Kalashnikov in celebratory fire.
A 30-second clip posted on social media showed the brother walking alongside his brother towards the wedding hall and firing one bullet at a time in the air in jubilation and to show off his skills.
However, he suddenly lost control of the Kalashnikov and unleashed a hail of bullets that ricocheted off the wall, prompting the guests to look for cover to avoid being struck.
Online comments condemned the brother’s reckless behaviour and called for stringent action against him and other people who risked turning happy occasions into tragedies.
“It was highly irresponsible on his part,” Sensitive, a blogger, wrote. “If he was so keen on his kind of jubilation, he should do it in an open space away from people. Even though I do not know much about firearms, I can tell you he was not holding his Kalashnikov correctly,” she said.
Byzanti said that the brother should be arrested and brought to justice for putting people’s lives at risk.
“The police should use the video clip to identify the brother and apply the law,” he said. “As long as there is no punishment, people will continue to act irresponsibly. Those who attempt to show off their firearm skills are usually cowards in real action.”
“Not everyone can use real firearms,” he said. “This man should be content with a plastic gun or a water gun, nothing else.”
Abu Atab agreed.
“The Kalashnikov man should be tied up along the family sheep until the wedding is over,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has been pushing for an end to the deep-rooted tradition of firing wildly into the air to celebrate a happy occasion.
The culturally encouraged and widespread practice has often resulted in accidental deaths and Riyadh said that it wanted an end to the tragedies by banning the habit.
All governorates, districts as well as relevant security and investigation agencies have been asked to apply the rules against anyone who fires during special occasions and wedding ceremonies.
The authorities have assigned policemen to monitor palaces, wedding halls and relaxation areas to ensure full compliance with the law amid warnings that whoever breaks the law will be severely punished.
The decision for the zero-tolerance policy was made following a noticeable increase in the incidence of fatal and serious injuries to innocent people by stray bullets during public celebrations.
The celebratory gunfire is a violation of public order, Saudi officials said in their latest stern warning in October 2012.
Celebratory gunfire is common in the Middle East, but it is also a cultural feature in South Asia and South America.
A study into the threats of falling bullets in the US found that they can reach speeds of 100 metres per second and can penetrate the skin at about 55 metres per second and the skull at about 70 metres per second.