01 January 2009

Airborn Scrap Metal

With the economy barely schlepping along, even the market for scrap metals has been effected. You don't see many aluminum can hunter-gatherers puttering around the streets these days, because aluminum's current price doesn't make it worthwhile. There are fewer reports of construction sites being burglarized for the copper pipe they might contain. Even tin has plummeted: In the first quarter of '08. a ton of scrap tin sold for about $350.00. As of December '08, that same ton 'o tin might fetch you a cool $10 to $15.00. Which might explain why the annual New Year's ballistic display was so brief and uninspiring. Here in Over-The-Rhine, people began firing at midnight exactly. In the area could be heard 9mm semi-automatics, shotguns, and the nasal pop-pop of either an M16, or maybe one of those AR-15s with the full auto after-market conversion kit. Halloween featured little if any gunfire in Marginopolis, at least not the celebratory fire-into-the-air kind. We speculated about the reasons for this, including the price of ammunition during a slow economy putting a damper on our enthusiasm for recreational gunfire. By 12:06 on New Year's morning, sirens began to howl, and helicopter rotors snarled overhead. While it is unlikely that scattered small arms fire would bring down a police helicopter, in theory it is possible. The pilot of that helo must have been a very cool customer. What the shooters failed to anticipate was how clearly muzzle flash shows up when viewed from night vision goggles a few hundred feet up. Gunfire echoing off city buildings can be difficult to locate. Yet those police cars seemed to zero in on the shooters with surprising quickness, almost as if somebody was directing them. The whole party was over by 12:10. If any of the expended ordinance dented cars or killed the odd alley cat, it was all in good fun. No harm was intended! Sadly, the price of scrap lead is not very attractive these days, so cleaning up after our truncated New Year's fusillade will yield little compensation.

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All original text (C) 2007, 2008 David J. Carney. All rights reserved.

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