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Fires Sparked By Utah Target Shooters Prompt Evacuations

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the dichotomy-not-only-odd-but-false dept.

Earth 709

Hugh Pickens writes "The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that more than 9,000 people have been driven from their homes by a wind-whipped wildfire started by two shooters at landfill popular with target shooters who won't face any charges because they were not breaking any laws. The fire was the 20th this year in Utah sparked by target shooting where low precipitation, dry heat and high winds have hit the West hard, exacerbating the risk that bullets may glance off rocks and create sparks. Despite the increasing problem, local agencies are stuck in a legal quandary — the state's zealous protection of gun rights leaves fire prevention to the discretion of individuals — a freedom that allows for the careless to shoot into dry hills and rocks. When bullets strike rock, heated fragments can break off and if the fragments make contact with dry grass, which can burn at 450 to 500 degrees, the right conditions can lead to wildfires. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has called on Utahns to use more "common sense" in target shooting urging target shooters to use established indoor and outdoor ranges instead of tinder-dry public lands. "We can do better than that as Utahns," says Herbert, calling on shooters to "self-regulate," since legislation bars sheriff's officials from regulating firearms. "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense.""

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General observation (5, Funny)

kanweg (771128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428175)

"A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense."

As the saying goes: The problem with common sense is that it isn't very common.

Bert

Re:General observation (0, Offtopic)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428183)

Bastard! Beat me to it by 2 minutes.

Re:General observation (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428423)

And this story is unfairly associating this lack of common sense with firearms, apparently for some political agenda. 20 fires have been associated with firearms activity. But, there have been 218 human caused wildfires [utahfireinfo.gov] so far this year in Utah, so that's less than 10%. The same, official Utah government website informs us of the "...three major preventable causes of fires in Utah. They are campfires, debris burning, and vehicle fires." [utahfireinfo.gov]

Re:General observation (0, Troll)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428597)

20 fires have been associated with firearms activity

Sounds fair to me.

. They are campfires, debris burning, and vehicle fires."

Looks like they left off steel penis extensions, which also cause fires. This fire caused by a gun also had 9000 people running for their lives.

Boo-frickety-hoo. Maybe the problem of this desperate need to extend ones' penis will solve itself . . . when people get sick of grown men acting like 12-year-olds with their guns.

Re:General observation (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428633)

Before someone points to the "grand total" of 84 on that page, I'll point out that that figure must be incorrect - there are 145 listed under the "ST" ( State [nifc.gov] ) agency, which was apparently left out of the total. I also missed a figure, the total actually appears to be 11+50+1+2+9+145+11=229.

Re:General observation (0, Troll)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428447)

"A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense."

Fortunately, the lack of common sense is a self correcting problem...
In this instance, the morons are attempting to immolate themselves. Darwin strikes again!

Re:General observation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428473)

Common sense, like in applying the law? How does the freedom to practice shooting absolve anyone from the responsibility for the damage? Would they also go free if they happened to recklessly shoot someone?

Re:General observation (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428539)

Apparently Utah has passed a law that prohibits anyone making laws that restrict firearms. So no charges can be brought against anyone who starts a fire while shooting on public lands. At a guess you'be absolved from blame for shooting those pesky liberals, like Orin Hatch.

Re:General observation (5, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428585)

I don't quite get why the law can't handle this without running afoul of the second amendment, either. In Canada, I regularly see "fire bans" - when the conditions are poor (i.e., dry tinder), even fires that require and have received permits are not allowed. Open-pit fires are banned. (BBQs, being enclosed, are still permitted.) A similar fire ban, not targetting firearms per se, should pass muster just fine, as long as it allows for emergency use (self-defense), active militia use (again, largely defense), and firing ranges and such.

Re:General observation (0)

ZigiSamblak (745960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428525)

The common sense to ban firearms is what seems to be lacking in the USA.

Re:General observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428545)

No, that's "collective punishment"; not "common sense."

Only in America... (4, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428181)

does the right to pointlessly shoot random shit trump a home-owners right not to have his house burned to a cinder

christ....

Re:Only in America... (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428223)

Of course, the fact that no houses have "burned to a cinder" isn't really the issue, is it?

After all, it's the people who were killed that are important, right? Alas, noone has been killed either.

Note, from TFA, that the shooters tried to put the fire out, then called 911 when they couldn't. Which is exactly what you'd expect from them, whether or not the fire was actually started by their gunfire...

Re:Only in America... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428303)

This is exactly why nothing changes. Gun nuts won't accept any responsibility for any bad thing associated with gun ownership. Guns purchased in the U.S. used by Mexican drug cartels, fueling gang violence, or ending up in the hands of the mentally desperate who take out other people with them, it's never because there are just too many guns on the street or that they're too easy to purchase.

If they accepted responsibility for anything it would open the door to some kind of intelligent gun regulation, but we can't have that. So the fault is always somewhere else.

Just like this guy. Guns caused a massive wildfire that prompted the evacuation of thousands of people, but it's all okay. We can't possibly consider restricting outdoor shooting during periods when conditions are bad, that would be limiting their 2nd amendment rights. Even though we restrict campfires, outdoor burning and other activities.

They made an effort to put it out, so the thousands of families living in shelters and firefighters risking their lives, that's all okay. It wasn't the poor gun owner's fault.

Re:Only in America... (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428377)

This is exactly why nothing changes. Gun nuts won't accept any responsibility for any bad thing

Gun nuts, no. Gun owners, yes. There is a difference. A gun owner stores his firearms properly (ammunition separate from the firearm), uses judgment as to where and when he fires his weapon, and above all knows the dangers and risks associated with a firearm and treats it as such. A gun nut is the guy you see posing for a picture by pointing the gun into the camera and rides around shooting road signs with a .22. There is a big difference between the two.

Re:Only in America... (4, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428475)

And the fact that these people exist mean you have to regulate.

I would atleast consider 'improper use of a firearm' to be a crime, and firing your weapon when it's possible it would start a wildfire would, to me, be considered improper use. If someone was shooting a gun in the middle of a a fuel leak, you bet your arse they'd be prosecuted for something regardless as to what they were shooting at. Why is shooting on a hot, dry, tinderbox any different?

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428641)

20 fires have been associated with firearms activity. But, there have been 218 human caused wildfires [utahfireinfo.gov] so far this year in Utah, so that's less than 10%. The same, official Utah government website informs us of the "...three major preventable causes of fires in Utah. They are campfires, debris burning, and vehicle fires." [utahfireinfo.gov]

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428399)

I'm guessing this is a dumb troll..

Guns purchased in the U.S. used by Mexican drug cartels,

Pehaps you have missed the part where the AG of the US may be facing a trial and potentially thrown in jail for covering up the fact that the ATF was selling guns to Mexican cartels because they were not able to pass the assualt rifle ban through Congress. Two hundred were killed by such illegally sold guns, but forced through by the ATF, including a US border agent. Holder is stonewalling Congress by refusing to hand over documents that he said he would. After 18 months of this stonewalling and about an hour before a Contempt of Congress, Obama illegally used Executive Privelidge to prevent the documents from being handed over. I say illegal because Executive Privelidge cannot be used to cover illegal activity and I believe the killing of a US border agent on US soil counts as illegal activity.

This was another attempt by Obama to pass unpopular policy by avoiding Congress. If the left didn't do crap like this then there MIGHT be able to be reasonalble discussion on the issue, but as long as one side circumvents the system, lies constatntly, stonewalls investigations, and tries to frame the other side for things going wrong, there is no compromise possible.

Re:Only in America... (2)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428419)

If it was because someone's grill fell over what would your response be?

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428433)

Gun nuts won't accept any responsibility for any bad thing associated with gun ownership. Guns purchased in the U.S. used by Mexican drug cartels, fueling gang violence

Yes, and the current administration has just been cited for contempt by a House oversight committee for allegedly accelerating the number of American weapons in the drug wars in order to elicit the exact response you are having, so that the populists will support the new Brady Bill. All because a federal agent was killed by such a weapon, and apparently a single American life is more important than the estimated 30,000 Mexicans that have been killed since the drug wars started.

Re:Only in America... (3, Insightful)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428567)

Yes, and the current administration has just been cited for contempt by a House oversight committee for allegedly accelerating the number of American weapons in the drug wars in order to elicit the exact response you are having, so that the populists will support the new Brady Bill.

Before Obama was elected, the pro-gun lobby said HEY, HE'S GOING TO COME FOR YOUR GUNS! Then, guess what? He didn't. So now, you've got to make up this incredibly elaborate plot [wikipedia.org] that the administration supposedly has to get rid of guns in the US. By sending some guns to Mexico, causing violence there, maybe having them come back into the US, and getting people shot? What? He wants to get rid of guns and gun violence, so he's intentionally distributing the guns and causing causing gun violence?

That's quite the theory. "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense," indeed.

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428449)

Hey! You can't call Obama and Hold a "gun nut". Oh..wait...it's THEIR guns that ended up in Mexico.

Re:Only in America... (2)

inthealpine (1337881) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428563)

President Obama gave the guns to the Mexican drug cartels. Gun shop owners had to be convinced by the US government to participate in the 'sting' that really wasn't a sting.
What kind of gun regulation would have prevented this?
Other than this indecent when has sport shooting EVER caused a fire? Local authorities want to restrict sport shooting during dry times of the year, that's up to them.

Your hysteria is non-sense, your bias is obvious and YOU are the reason gun owners don't trust legislative action against the 2nd amendment. If you can't have a rational conversation, how can we expect you to have rational legislation?

Re:Only in America... (5, Interesting)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428511)

So destroying thousands of acres of public and private land, costing the state millions of dollars in firefighting costs, risking the lives of firefighters, and causing >9000 people to evacuate their homes and businesses doesn't really matter as long as nobody got killed and no homes were destroyed?

Even if the target shooters had the money to pay the firefighting costs (extremely unlikely), the burned lands, the threat to others' lives and property, and the loss of >9000 people's time would be worth a criminal conviction.

There have been around a dozen fires started by target shooters in Utah this year, and some were larger than this; this one gets the news because it was closer to homes.

Years ago the legislature seized power to keep counties and municipalities from enforcing anything related to shooting, and they've repealed any and all restrictions on gun use they could find. They too are responsible for the fires.

Re:Only in America... (1)

beep54 (1844432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428239)

In the US, you betcha!! You can always get another house, but guns are sacred. And, sorry 'bout those deaths, but ya know, yer gonna die anyways so what's the big deal?

Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428243)

It's not about a "right" to do anything trumping anything else. If there was no law against (target-)shooting in the area in which the shooters were, how do you suggest they be prevented from having done something that caused an accidental fire?

If your issue is with the fact they won't face punishment for something they couldn't have possibly predicted and didn't intend, how is the lack of punishment in any way related to the fact that thousands of people are now without homes?

If your issue is the fact that there is no framework of law to prohibit, e.g., shooting under certain conditions, in a similar manner as, say, open fires when weather conditions are not safe for fires, then I might begin to agree with you.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (4, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428265)

won't face punishment for something they couldn't have possibly predicted

From TFS:
The fire was the 20th this year in Utah sparked by target shooting

and it's only half way through the year!
That's one fire a week

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (2)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428287)

At least one person on here has some common sense. You are exactly right this was an accidental fire. Since many are against the activity that was taking place it becomes the scapegoat.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (4, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428605)

Umm.... I shoot. A lot. And one of the basic tennets of shooting is knowing what you shoot at. If I'm shooting in a tinder-dry environment, that's probably not a good thing. And I should not do it. I should go to a firing range or something....

Gun ownership is about responsibility. A very vocal minority of gun owners have managed to ram "right to own and shoot guns anywhere anytime together with "guns do no harm and we're not responsible for what guns do". IMHO, as a gun owner, they should prosecute the people who started this. For all you know, they were shooting tracers.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428331)

Yeah right, there was no way to predict it. After all, it only has happened 19 times this year before this one.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (-1, Flamebait)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428349)

The lottery has been won a similar number of times this year. Clearly, you think you can predict the next one. Good luck.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428497)

Yes, I can predict that there's the "risk" of winning when you play the lottery, therefore if you don't want to win, you better don't play. Of course I cannot guarantee you win (similarly, if you intend to start a fire, the gasoline/match strategy is more likely to work than the target shooting strategy).

And about the probabilities: I'm pretty sure there are more people playing the lottery than target shooting.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

SpockLogic (1256972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428507)

The lottery has been won a similar number of times this year. Clearly, you think you can predict the next one. Good luck.

I predict there will be another winner of the lottery just like there will be another fire started by a selfish gun owner. I just don't know who it will be. Happy now?

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428521)

What kind of dumbass comparison is that? You equate a projectile moving at a few hundred m/s hitting something immovable and converting its kinetic energy into heat (plus its bloody hot in the first place) and igniting bone dry grass is as unpredictable to you as which numbered balls will fall out of a machine?

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428527)

Oh, but I do predict that more fires will be started by target shooters (and that someone will win the lottery as, but that's _totally_ beside the point, isn't it?).

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428389)

If there was no law against (target-)shooting in the area in which the shooters were, how do you suggest they be prevented from having done something that caused an accidental fire?

The problem is the "no law against" part. The government is too afraid of the NRA to suggest any laws that might offend them. As they take the same attitude when people are murdered by gun users it's entirely consistent.

Any home owners, and/or their insurance companies, affected by such fires should start a class action and sue both the state government and the NRA for creating this entirely predictable hazard. The actual idiots who started the fires should be given some frontier justice, in line with their philosophy. String them up on the nearest tree.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

inthealpine (1337881) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428647)

More fires are started by firefighters doing controlled burns that get out of control than target shooters. Perhaps you wish to hang the firefighters?
Maybe you are just irrational and we ignore you.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (2)

umghhh (965931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428393)

... they won't face punishment for something they couldn't have possibly predicted ...

- what you are saying is there is no such thing as common sense in US. I guess that is so because common sense has been invented by commies? When I was young and living in a (real) communist state I was amazed about freedom, human rights etc loving US Americans. I looked at their great military achievements (combating forces of evil in first and second great one) as well as scientific ones. I wanted to go to US when I grow up and live the american dream (as I imagined it to be). Things changed a little since then. I still do not fall for silly propaganda in which all what comes from US is evil but luck of common sense in such basic thing is indeed fascinating - it looks exactly like the sort of thing that broke the neck of communism back in last century only then the silliness combined with dogma were domain of state. In US citizens seem to be pressing hard to get into the situation they fear the most: inefficient, dogmatic and repressing state (starting with war on drugs and ending ???) and all this in the name of freedom. I guess that was all inevitable???

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428413)

how is the lack of punishment in any way related to the fact that thousands of people are now without homes?

Noone has lost his home as a result of this fire. A lot of people have evacuated, but the fire is still better than half a mile from ANY homes....

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428459)

And of course, there are no costs associated with fighting the fires, and firefighters aren't putting their lives on the line. Fuck Utah. Let it burn to the ground.

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428479)

Save your breath. The anti-everything jackasses won't listen and the rest of us normal people already know it.

Say, has Sara Brady been whoring herself out in Utah now?

Re:Has nothing to do with "trumping" anything (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428457)

I'm in no way suggesting they should be charged with anything, but negligence is a valid reason to be charged or fined in many cases including fire. If they'd been camping and caused a fire the very likely would have been fined.

I did a quick check, in no way thorough, and Utah appears to have laws like any other state involving negligence and fire. It also has some of the least restrictive gun laws. Whether these individuals get fined seems less an issue of legality (they could be) and more an issue of which side carries more clout. Recent history (20 fires no fines) suggests the state would rather not appear to be 'anti-gun' by simply saying 'geez guys try to be more careful'

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428251)

Does the word "accident" mean anything to you?

Re:Only in America... (1, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428341)

Does the word "accident" mean anything to you?

Does the word "negligence" mean anything to you?

Re:Only in America... (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428441)

If there's a case for criminal negligence the DA will file charges. The simple fact of that matter is it was an accident, and could as likely happen playing with fireworks or grilling in your back yard.

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428571)

Do the words fucking anti-gun moron mean anything to you?

Re:Only in America... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428325)

They have no criminal liability. You can be sure the "shooters" (the summary uses "target shooters", more likely they were 2 guys trying to blow holes in things with how irresponsible they were)will be sued for negligence for any damage they have or may caused, and the suit would likely be successful. And, just like with any other right, their right to exercise it only extends to the point where it doesn't prevent anyone else from exercising a right. Their right to bear arms does not give them the right to deprive others of their right to property. In any case, I expect legislation to go before the Utah government soon to attach criminal liabilities to things such as this. As with all rights, the right to bear arms should be exercised responsibly, and these guys failed in their responsibility. Most gun owners know better than this. Like the governor said, we need more common sense. Both regarding the actions of the shooters, and in those reacting to the consequences of what the shooters did.

Re:Only in America... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428339)

A home owner has the right not to have his house confiscated by GOVERNMENT, as to 'right not to have his house burned' for whatever reason, yes, that's a right as long as it is a government that doesn't burn the house.

When the house is burnt by some individuals and not a government, then it's between that home owner and those individuals.

While the right to bear arms is again, a protection against government taking away your weapons, the situation when a person shoots something and causes property damage cannot be considered a right violation, it's property damage and this CAN be taken to civil court and the homeowner can sue the shooter and if he can prove that the shooter caused the house to be burnt, then it's up to the judicial system to set proper level of compensation.

The shooter should understand that he can be required to pay for the damages, of-course he better have some form of liability insurance or assets that he can sell to compensate the plaintiff.

Re:Only in America... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428483)

"The militia has been ordered my federal forces to disban, due to drought. The separatists see this as an unconstitutional act, and only further strengthens their position that the government is severely corrupt."
A wise man chooses battles carefully.

Re:Only in America... (0)

inthealpine (1337881) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428499)

Fires are started many different ways. Would you like to outlaw lightning-strikes and guns? Would that calm the hysteria you have worked yourself into?

Re:Only in America... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428529)

. . . do you need to dispatch a rattler as long as a European soccer penalty kick in your own back yard. Folks shootin' varmints on their own land tend to have a vested interest in no fires gettin' started. If your neighbors are as well armed as you are, you won't start no fires that would endanger their houses neither.

"Of course it's a sad fact that experienced shooters generally don't drink and shoot, so for safety's sake, I recommend shooting with experienced drinkers." - Places To Shoot, Things To Shoot, The Gun Fag Manifesto

Re:Only in America... (2)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428601)

Yes. Your right to punish idiots "with no commonsense" trumps my right to be alerted in time because those idiots "with no commonsense" will probably just run away and hide their rifles before alerting anyone (let alone the authorities) of anything that might get them thrown them in jail for the rest of their lives.

And yes, only in Utah, USA, where the population density is so high, it's like Tokyo and Luxembourg merged into one, only smaller, where everybody knows what their neighbors are doing all of the time, and even the idiots "with no common sense" follow all the laws to the letter, because they know they'll get caught if they don't. I assume we're both talking about the same place.

Re:Only in America... (0)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428611)

Maybe match sticks and candles should be banned as well?

Easy Fix (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428185)

Don't ban shooting, just make the shooters responsible for any fires they start. I bet they start self-regulating real quick when multi-million dollar fines start getting handed out.

Re:Easy Fix (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428199)

Don't ban shooting, just make the shooters responsible for any fires they start. I bet they start self-regulating real quick when multi-million dollar fines start getting handed out.

You know that is much too sensible to be implemented. I wouldn't mind betting that if they had taken some fire-beaters and a water bucket with them they could have put the fire out easily before it took hold.

Re:Easy Fix (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428279)

Terrible idea, superficially a good one, but it would result in massive losses and deaths.

You see, legal shooting happens mostly in the wilderness. If you start handing out the economic death penalty to people who accidentally start a fire, then they would have to be economically suicidal to ever report a fire.

Imagine a tiny little grass fire starts while target shooting or poaching or whatever. You can "do the right thing" and call it in and 99% of the time the local fire department waters it down and its all good, and 1% of the time its not completely controlled but at least the FD is on it and it may wipe out a house or two, but at least the FD knows about it so evac is successful and no one dies.

With your ridiculous requirement, the shooters would be insane to economically kill themselves, so once a tiny little fire starts, rather than stomping it out themselves and calling the local fire department to water down the area, they run like hell. Obviously they'll get away every time. However 100% of tiny little grass fires will uncontrollably spread and sweep thru town killing everyone and destroying everything.

It seems a heck of a lot less people will die and a lot less destruction will occur if there is no liability to calling in a grass fire. Your plan would fail miserably.

Re:Easy Fix (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428397)

Similarly, if people carry firearms, it's suicide to give the other guy a chance to shoot first; so you'd better shoot to kill.

Re:Easy Fix (0)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428465)

With your ridiculous requirement, the shooters would be insane to economically kill themselves, so once a tiny little fire starts, rather than stomping it out themselves and calling the local fire department to water down the area, they run like hell. Obviously they'll get away every time. However 100% of tiny little grass fires will uncontrollably spread and sweep thru town killing everyone and destroying everything.

By your logic, we should make hit-and-run road "accidents" that result in death legal too, so the perpetrators are more likely to report them.

Fuck them. They started a fire, they have a responsibility to stop it. And they aren't guaranteed to get away even if they decide to be assholes. Their shells could identify them.

Anyway, whatever happened to satellite surveillance? Surely a grass fire is pretty easy to pick up on infra red? How many thousand surveillance /weather whatever satellites does the US have? Use them to save some lives.

Re:Easy Fix (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428329)

Do that, and what's going to happen is worse than this case. From one of the linked articles:

Two shooters sparked the blaze, named for a landfill popular with target shooters, late Thursday afternoon, Curry said. They tried to put it out, then called 911.

Now, if you have a law saying they're responsible for accidental fires, do you think they're going to call 911 for a quick response, or just get the hell out of there, leaving the fire to build until someone else notices it?

Re:Easy Fix (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428451)

Sure, just make sure you apply the same rule for any accidental fire. Fireworks, campfires, backyard BBQ, lawn burning, etc.

Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428189)

Government just blames us gun owners to take away our rifles. The 2nd amendment will prevail over common sense! America! Fuck Yeah!

Re:Government (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428205)

Government just blames us gun owners to take away our rifles. The 2nd amendment will prevail over common sense! America! Fuck Yeah!

Officer: What I want to know is did you camp-fire get out of control or were you shooting guns? If it was your camp-fire you could be in serious trouble.

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428463)

Actually, that's a pretty neat defense strategy in the US. Whatever crime you commit, you can just say you used your gun and you are free to go.

Civil liability (2)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428195)

IANAL, but the shooters probably face civil liability if any structures are damaged, and possibly even if an asthmatic suffers from just the smoke.

"Common sense" (2, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428203)

"We can do better than that as Utahns," says Herbert, calling on shooters to "self-regulate," since legislation bars sheriff's officials from regulating firearms. "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense.""

If you're relying on common sense from a state most of which fell in a big way for the Joseph Smith con-job that is Mormonism, you're gonna be waiting a very long time.

Re:"Common sense" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428291)

I know what you mean. Mormons are idiots and Joseph Smith is a liar. How dare they spread their own lies instead of the ones in the Bible!

Ooooo satire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428643)

I know what you mean. Mormons are idiots and Joseph Smith is a liar. How dare they spread their own lies instead of the ones in the Bible!

Yeah, that's correct. You see, the Bible has been around for thousands of years making its lies sort-a kind-a true in the Faith sense of the Word - it has been so long that folks throw their hands up and just think "who knows"? or there are those who honestly believe in its literal truth; which boggles my mind. Its ancient tradition and ceremonies have overshadowed its fairy tales - at least for educated mostly rational folks. If that makes any sense. (I've been reading too much Armstrong lately.)

Joseph Smith actually has newspaper articles in archives that document his con-jobs, lies, and other fantastical and unethical shit that he did. There isn't any doubt that he was a liar and a cheat - unless you're retarded.

For an intelligent person, to see those things - there's no way to get around it in this society especially with the internet - and to still follow their Mormon "faith" boggles my mind. We're not Iron Age illiterate people here that have to rely on Memorized stories for information.

Since when... (2)

dutchd00d (823703) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428217)

... does the right to shoot guns include the right to shoot guns anywhere you damn well please?

Seems to me there's a parallel with the right to free speech not including the right to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater.

Re:Since when... (1)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428345)

Bad example.

You do have the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. But if you are wrong, you will be held liable.

You also do not have your right to speech preemptively oppressed by requiring a license to speak before you speak, or have your background checked or neighbors interviewed before you speak, as occurs with people purchasing firearms.

Taking "shouting fire in a theater" analogy further, it would require everyone to have a federal background check and a state license before operating a printing press, or speaking in public at all, just in case they might print or say something wrongful or injurious.

Holding people accountable for their wrongful or injurious behavior is one thing. Assuming they will engage in wrongful or injurious behavior before hand is another. I did not see screams of outrage demanding pre-licensing for speech after Al Sharpton destroyed a man over the Tawanna Brawley incident. Or the Richard Jewel story. Or Ray Donovan. Or any number of people falsely accused and maligned in the press or public in general.

Re:Since when... (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428587)

The First Amendment doesn't include the text "shall not be infringed." The Second Amendment does.

All gun control is unconstitutional.

Every group has its careless idiots (5, Insightful)

bryanp (160522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428225)

And recreational shooters are no different. In tinderbox conditions like this you can shoot safely, but you have to be careful. Don't shoot steel jacketed or steel cored ammunition, stick to plain lead or copper jacketed only. Don't shoot tracers, don't use gimmick ammo like Dragon's Breath shotgun shells. Above all, pay attention and be prepared to put out a fire. If you're not prepared to do all of that, then maybe you should just do something else until the weather changes.

I'm an avid shooter and probably own more guns than most of the people reading this. My knee jerk reaction is to defend "my" side, but I also want to smack down the morons making the rest of us look bad.

Re:Every group has its careless idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428305)

Amen, brother! It's our right to do target practice regardless of surrounding conditions! It shouldn't be illegal to do some target practice in crouded places either, because if you're really really carefull, noone gets hurt. Just keep an eye on all the moving people and wait for a clear shot on your target. Above all, be prepared to do an emergency surgery with your bowie knife. Even in worst case it probably was god's will if someone gets killed by a ricochet. Chances are good it was a potential murderer anyways who might have threatened other peoples' lives with careless target practice.

Re:Every group has its careless idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428555)

They can pry my gun out of my dead smoldering hand....

bulldozer (1, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428241)

Not seeing the "tech news" angle of this story. Two decades ago in the .mil I was a M-60 gunner (yes the reserves always has ancient gear, and 60s were obsolete since the 80s but we still had them) and I personally started a few grass fires with tracers. The .mil solution was to keep the military engineers busy by bulldozing firebreaks between adjacent ranges, heck sometimes between adjacent lanes. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out this is why some lanes were small arms only with no explosive rounds allowed. The mortar guys and other explosive rounds handled it by having firing lanes that resembled gravel pits or the surface of the moon. Don't know if they used defoliants (which are vaguely tech news, I guess) or it was a natural wasteland. I specifically recall firing a AT-4 trainer round (yes, I am old) into a gravel pit where even on the firing line you could look 360 degrees and never see any green plants. Now that I think about it, the M203 line looked about the same except we had that (supposedly toxic) orange training powder everywhere from the training loads. M203 training rounds are basically big paint balls but for some reason their paint is toxic and paintballs are non-toxic. Or maybe paintballs are toxic. Or maybe only pre-90s M203 training rounds were toxic.

People who insist on living in what amounts to a tinderbox are responsible when their tinderbox catches fire burning their house down. If you don't want to burn out, build firebreaks, build stuff that doesn't burn (clay tile roofs, brick walls, etc) and don't landscape with flammable stuff. At least two people have to do something really stupid to burn down a house, the guy who started the fire and the guy who built in a tinderbox. "I know its the opening day of deer gun hunting season but I should have the right to walk thru the wilderness wearing my furry deer costume without evil hunters shooting at me, we should ban all guns so only criminals are armed". Dumbassery all around.

Or maybe paintballs are toxic. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428435)

They do contain some stuff I wouldn't consume much of, but I've taken hits in the mask where a fair amount has sprayed into my mouth - tastes wile... I've seen people eat one or two on a dare (one of which on Swedish television, back in the days when paintball was controversial here) w/o any apparent ill effects.

It appears [michvet.com] that animals aren't discouraged by the taste, but rather like it, and that can cause problems... Propylene glycol is much less harmful than ethylene glycol (plain old anti-freeze) - not sure on where polyethylene glycol falls, so harmfulness might vary between brands / exact composition.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428245)

Could the submitter be any more biased.

Off-topic (4, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428259)

Article is completely off-topic

So if sparks from a nail gun caused it ... (1, Insightful)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428261)

We should blame the construction industry?
Ban home remodeling?

WTF?

The shooters tried to put the fire out and called 911. They acted fairly responsibly, though with some forethought they would have taken some preventative measures to prevent sparks.

Sometimes stuff happens. Using it to promote your particular social engineering agenda is bullcrap.

As another poster said, hold the shooters responsible for this. If there are not already laws in place that do so, there can be fairly quickly.

Re:So if sparks from a nail gun caused it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428311)

Yes, if nail guns were sparking and cuasing fires, OSHA would be on the scene in a attempt to protect the employees.

Not only that, if nail guns burn down the $200k house you just built, there is real incintive for the construction company to fix the situation. That's why you should be holding the people financially responsible for this. Then they have a real incintive to make sure they are firing safely.

Re:So if sparks from a nail gun caused it ... (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428503)

That's why you should be holding the people financially responsible for this. Then they have a real incintive to make sure they are firing safely.

LOL, no, no they do not have an incentive, unlike a housefire, while target shooting or poaching out in the wilderness, you've created a huge incentive for anyone carrying or owning a gun to never, ever report a fire, making things much more unsafe. You want people who see or start a fire to Really want to hang around and report every little detail ASAP to the fire department, not make anyone who owns a gun cover their eyes and pretend to see nothing.

Its not enough that the guy who started it can't report a fire, but anyone who carries or owns a gun would be an idiot to report seeing a fire, due to the staggering economic (possibly criminal) consequence of being incorrectly blamed. Because basically everyone rural owns a gun of some type, instead of everyone with a cell phone being unpaid firewatch 24x7, the only people who can safely report seeing a wildfire are on-duty first responders.

Not to be harsh, but since I'm good at it, in general this whole discussion smacks of city boys trying to solve country boys problems for them, managing instead to make it a billion times worse. I believe the phrase is something like "don't try to tell granny how to suck eggs" or something like that. We know what we're doing, now get out of our way and leave us alone. High tech rednecks know what they're doing in their domain just as well as you know what you're doing in your domain. I will say the stereotype lives in that you never hear about sheep herders and cow milkers lecturing the city slickers how they should run a starbucks more efficiently, but you just can't stop the city slickers from telling the country boys how they need to change everything, and usually failing miserably at it.

Re:So if sparks from a nail gun caused it ... (2)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428617)

Actually, you make sense. In my other post I said we should hold the shooters accountable, but I failed to consider the 'unintended consequences" of that, which was dumb as I usually try to.

Dozens of fires (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428289)

There are fires burning all over Colorado and Utah because of the very dry conditions. This one might have been caused by target shooters, but where's the outrage against the causes of all the other fires? Most are caused by campfires, burning trash, tossed cigarettes, lightning, railroad trains, etc. Target shooting is way down on the list of threats.

Re:Dozens of fires (2)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428335)

Fire is a normal event in nature. What has made things far worse in Colorado is the government managing the beetle killed trees.

Imagine a mountainside filled with 50% completely dead, stripped trees standing there baking in the sun.

No efforts to remove them, just a big pile of firewood waiting to happen.

Re:Dozens of fires (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428379)

railroad trains

60 years ago they got rid of the coal burning steamies. The diesels technically could start a fire, but its probably less than 0.01% as often. I don't know how long ago they switched from babbit bushings to roller bearings, but hot boxes where a wheel bearing overheats and catches fire are darn near a thing of the past. Technically it happens once in awhile, but not often, and its almost always caught with telemetry before it bursts into flame. Besides roller bearings don't have manilla rope packing like the old bushings did, theres not much to burn in there. Now a days hotboxes lead to derailments more so than fires. And hotboxing means something different to the general public now. Four previous generations worked at the railroad, I'm the first generation not to, so I grew up hearing stories of how when my grandfather was a boy, railroads started fires all the time and that was the primary concern with living near the tracks (now the concern is noise). Trains are not much of a fire danger anymore. Still happens but its a Big Deal with company wide notifications and announcements rather than, eh, just another daily thing.

Re:Dozens of fires (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428429)

People starting fires through campfires, burning trash or tossing hot cigarettes are just as bad, yes. I don't know about the railroad train issue, but it may well be that the railroad company has some responsibility there, too. Outrage against lightning would be nonsense because that's not caused by human activity (unless you blame global warming, of course).

The point where vigilante justice makes sense (0)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428313)

Is this the point where vigilante justice makes sense? When people have done something so obviously bad and destructive and the government is unable to punish the people I have to wonder if it is time for people to take justice into their own hands. It might still be possible to find them guilty in a civil court, or to get them for a federal rather than state offense, but it seems unlikely that that's going to happen.

However, the more rational part of me understands that one of the triumphs of civilization and one of the things that lets us survive as a society is that we let these sorts of things go rather than engage in the type of behavior that can harm others or result in further damage and chaos. When societies are willing to consider vigilantism the societies suffer. And the two shooters did try to put out the blaze and tried to call 911 when they couldn't. A precedent of punishing such people might cause them to be more inclined not to report such incidents in the future. Actually, that last argument is extremely weak since under that logic all sorts of people should not be prosecuted who we do successfully prosecute and in an emergency situation dumb people like this aren't that likely to think through the long-term consequences of the phonecall. (If they couldn't think through the consequences of their actions in the first place they aren't going to now.)

At some level the most annoying thing is that their names aren't being revealed. There's unacceptable vigilantism and there's the simple embarrassment of having their names and faces plastered over the media. Even if outright vigilantism is not a good thing, I don't see why they don't deserve the minimum media knowledge especially so other people, like their employers, can know what absolute inconsiderate idiots they are dealing with. As far as I can tell though, none of the articles mention their names.

Re:The point where vigilante justice makes sense (1, Insightful)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428519)

Great plan! Make sure to extract similar vengeance on:

Children with fireworks
Children who intentionally light fires
Grills
Campfires
Throwing out a lit cigarette
Yard/Trash burning


etc, etc, etc, you know, the things that typically cause these fires. This was just an accident, it happens. I think what we need to do is take a similar stance that we have on any activity that could lead to a fire, educate people on the dangers and how to handle it. Remember Smokey the Bear? Meet Slashdot's most wanted. I dare you to stare into the face of evil [hd.org] !

Re:The point where vigilante justice makes sense (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428593)

Children are a clearly distinct category, and so should't be personally responsible. But in fact, people who create problems with grills, campfires and lit cigarettes, or who have children that start fires, are generally liable for either criminal or civil penalties depending on the exact problem. The people in question here aren't being held liable the way the way someone else would be precisely because guns are treated differently.

Re:The point where vigilante justice makes sense (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428607)

like their employers, can know what absolute inconsiderate idiots they are dealing with

That's a really awful idea. Which part of "absolute inconsiderate idiot" are you talking about, the "starting a fire" part or the "try to put out the blaze and tried to call 911 when they couldn't".

I think giving them the economic death penalty is going to result in eliminating a whole heck of a lot more "try to put out the blaze and tried to call 911 when they couldn't" rather than eliminating "starting a fire". Everyone knows starting a fire is wrong and bad so absolutely no education will happen there, but teaching people that trying to put out a fire is bad, or teaching them that telling the authorities about a fire is bad, is something both a bad idea and a new idea so it'll unfortunately be somewhat effective. There seems to be little to no upside.

The other point is why rush? If you're going to intentionally, methodically destroy some lives, at least do a good job of it and have their identifies verified. I'm sure you're be offended if you were wrongly named as one of the two guys. If you're in a big hurry because of the need to strike while the irons hot and set punishment while emotionally charged, isn't that evidence you're doin' it wrong? The only thing worse than vigilante justice in general would seem to be irrational emotional reactive knee jerk vigilante justice... I'm sure the names will come out eventually, give them time to get it right. Whats the big hurry?

A bit of common sense in the argument... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428337)

Utah is at its lowest fire year since 2005. The only reason there is any publicity at all is because a couple of the fires have spread smoke into the Salt Lake valley, making people think that things are worse.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428401)

Just out of curiosity, what the f**k does this story have to do with science, technology, gaming, or just about anything that /. exists for? This is general news and is all over the web. Why is this on /.?

Weird laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428415)

Why are people who lack common sense allowed to have guns?

I'm sorry, but WHAT!? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428427)

Isn't this the basis of the First Amendment?

That is, to paraphrase, "I'm free to do what I wish (within reason) so long as it doesn't stop you from doing what you wish (within reason)."

Guns aren't illegal in any jurisdiction, just as me punching the air isn't illegal.

However, when the gun is responsible for evacuating 9000 people from their homes, it doesn't seem fair that I spend a night in jail if somebody walks past me while I'm punching the air.

Amen Brother! (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428461)

I don't live in Utah, but "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense.", sums up most of the world from my point of view.

Litering also causes fires (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428489)

More fires are caused by smokers tossing cirgarette butts than from sparks from bullets. I'm not going to attempt justify this statement as it should be pretty evident given the number of smokers is quite likely heavier than the number of target shooters and the relative proximity of smokers to populated areas versus target shooters.

Why is it every time we turn around, someone is trying to demonize gun ownership? Fireworks are statistically more dangerous to own than firearms. CIGARETTES are statistically more dangerous to own than firearms. Doesn't it simply come down to whose agenda we are most interested in? That and the general fear people have of guns? People need to grow up... not going to happen though. Fear is the weapon that has worked on them,

So when it's all over, effective criminals and ineffective cops will be the only ones with guns. What a wonderful world we are trying to create.

Anti-gun people? What are you REALLY trying to accomplish? Given human nature, how do you really expect to overcome or improve things after the "regular people" are rendered defenseless?

Freak Accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428513)

Sounds more like a freak accident than anything else to me. Kind of like telling tent manufacturers that they have to make meteorite-proof tents because a meteorite crashed into my tent and broke my arm. Or like complaining that a rock got kicked up by my tire, bounced in an improbable fashion, struck my fuel tank, and started a gasoline fire and calling for the automotive industry to put heavy armour on all gas tanks.

Stop Shooting Utahns, Earth Scum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428551)

Utahns

The fires will continue so long as Earthlings continue their unjust attack.
If you can agree to cease firing, we will stop firing. Shout "Klatuu Verata Nicto" to the wildfire when you're ready to talk.

-Empire of Utahns, Supreme Commander Yawny Ahb-ahh Sigh

Waiting for the NRA (1)

fazookus (770354) | more than 2 years ago | (#40428569)

This just in from the NRA: The only solution to wildfires caused by guns is MORE GUNS!!!

news for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428581)

In what world is this a slashdot type story?

Reality sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428609)

Lead and copper do not spark.
Please give it a try.
Steel core military projectiles can but normal civilian ammo does not spark, ever.

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