Maybe It’s Me

But I find this really really hard to believe

FREDERICKSBURG, Ohio (AP) — A man cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle shot the gun into the air, accidentally killing a 15-year-old Amish girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away, a sheriff said Tuesday.

Rachel Yoder was shot in the head Thursday night while traveling to her home in Wayne County, between Columbus and Akron. She had attended a Christmas party for employees, most of them under 18 years old, at an Amish produce farm and was riding home alone when she was shot, Wayne County sheriff’s Capt. Douglas Hunter said.

I feel such sadness for this family, as this girl’s mother was just killed in a crash a few weeks ago, but this seems…well, beyond odd.

14 Responses to “Maybe It’s Me”

  1. JeffS says:

    Anyone who is cleaning any weapon without first clearing it is an utter idiot. That much this the man got right.

    While it’s a muzzle loader, and while the only way that one of those can be cleared is by firing it, shooting into the air is reprehensibly irresponsible. Know your target, as GOOD shooters are taught, and know what’s behind the target. He should have fired INTO THE GROUND. I’m amazed they aren’t considering charges of involuntary manslaughter; there must be other facts not being reported.

    As for the range and odds of a blindly fired shot hitting the poor girl…..yes, it is strange. But not unheard of, unfortunately. I imagine that forensics can at least match the bullet with the rifle, and that’s what the sheriff is looking at.

    So it’s probably an accident. An unfortunate accident, but an accident nonetheless.

  2. major dad says:

    Really is quite possible if unlikely.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Oh I know it *could* happen but the odds are so admittedly astronomical that I will be very surprised if at the end of the day another somewhat more sinister explanation is found.

    and yes the guy is a total ass if this does play out, and in fact he should face negligent homicide charges.

  4. aelfheld says:

    I’m not overly familiar with the properties of various firearms, but the idea a muzzle-loading rifle would have a range of 1.5 miles strains my credulity.

  5. JeffS says:

    You’d be surprised, aelfheld. There’s maximum effective range, where hitting the target is possible, and then there’s maximum possible range. They are not the same. A bullet can and will travel far past its maximum effective range, and remain deadly. It’s just not accurate.

    A bullet trajectory can be really long over open ground or water. Range fans are very conservative for that very reason. I’d have to dig out my physics book, or look up on-line calculators to verify this, but the numbers look reasonable, and match up, in a general way, with the article.

    Now, this does not prove the shooting was not an accident. Deliberate foul play I can’t comment on. I can only point out that the physics of the situation indicate the story is possible.

    Truth, now, that’s a different matter.

  6. JeffS says:

    Dang, I messed up the link. Trying again…..

    linky linky linky linky!

  7. JeffS says:

    Oops! I forgot to say, muzzle loaders have a maximum effective range comparable with modern firearms. They just have different trajectories.

    Accuracy remains good, but like any weapon, you have to know the trajectory of the bullet, or how far it will rise over a given distance. I’m not a muzzle loader myself, but I have friends who are, and they do a fine job of shooting. But the muzzle velocity on muzzle loaders is lower than with modern fire arms.

    For example, a modern hunting rifle might have a rise of 4 inches at 300 yards. A muzzle loader could be 1 foot at 300 yards, and still have the velocity to be effective. You just have to aim higher, is all.

    So, yeah, 1.5 miles is not unlikely for a muzzle loader, especially fired into the air.

  8. Syd B. says:

    What I’d like to know is how in the world did the authorities figure out the muzzle guy was the source?

  9. major dad says:

    His neighbors reported a gunshot about the same time. As unlikely as it is that a stray bullet would hit this poor girl it is also highly unlikely that anyone could hit a moving target with a muzzle loader at several hundred yards, that takes real skill and luck. They will figure out the ballistics.

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    I would think the bullet had to be going almost straight down at this point, as they are now saying the guy was 1.5 miles away which is, what, approx 2600 yards?


  11. Syd B. says:

    So, if it was shot in the air and then had to drop back down, (presumably), you would think there would be quite a lag between the sound of the gun shot and the impact. Lets say the bullet went 1,500 ft in the air, how many seconds would it take for that bullet to free fall to the ground? I’m thinking several seconds. The shooter could have well been eating his breakfast when the poor girl was struck. Quite bizarre.

  12. Syd B. says:

    It makes you think of those news reals that show a bunch of Muslims shooting their AK-47’s in the air willy-nilly. I’d hate to be one of their neighbors. Actually that would be one of about 10 million reasons I’d hate to be their neighbor.

  13. major dad says:

    Can’t show the math here but I bet Jeff already has figured out the answer. And you are way right Syd about the Muslims shooting up in the air cause it all has to come back to earth somewhere.

  14. JeffS says:

    I haven’t done the math, Major Dad, been too busy with those radios! 🙂

    Syd, I haven’t computed a trajectory in years, and while vector math isn’t that hard, I’ll pass on digging out the reference books (what, you think I memorized that stuff for life?) until after the holidays. But “several seconds” sounds reasonable.

    As for Muslims shooting in the air…..a friend of mine was in Baghdad over one of Saddam Hussein’s birthdays, and witnessed a massive display of green tracer fire from all over the city. He promptly went inside, and stayed there.

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