Friday, November 11, 2016

Too much time on our hands

Up in Delaware, there used to be a fall thing called the Punkin Chunkin, in which food that could go to better purpose is fired into the air from an air cannon.  But they stopped having it for a couple of years, because someone whose job it was to scoot around in an ATV to measure how far cannons have shot pumpkins was injured when the ATV flipped over.  

So, no Punkin Chunkin for two years while that dragged through the courts, and now it's back, and they had it this past Sunday, and it had to end early because an air cannon broke apart and a woman was injured very seriously.  She is still in critical condition, as of this writing.

These air cannons shoot pumpkins over 3,000 feet!  And people go to see it happen! 

And a piece of this infernal machine the size of a car door hit the woman in her head and face. 

At first, Delaware State Police reported she had died. A man was also injured, but not as seriously.

Image result for pumpkin trebuchetIt's up to all of us to decide how to pass a leisurely Sunday afternoon, but how can this be fun, and how can such an unsafe practice continue?  Did no one foresee that mighty machinery being operated in a crowd might be a little dangerous?

The news story I saw about this stated that The Science Channel had a crew there to record a three-hour program about the Chunkin festival to be shown the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which means there is an audience for people who wish to see gourds flying in the air and splattering on the ground half a mile away.

For the record, before the tragic accident, the leader of the competition was the trebuchet called Colossal Thunder, entered by high school welding teacher Corey Winesburg, from Afton, Oklahoma, who brought six students with him.  Their pumpkin flew 2,625 feet.

"Our detectives are currently working the scene establishing any witnesses and talking to those witnesses looking at the apparatus we also have specialized units from outside the agency that are coming in to inspect the cannon and this is an active ongoing investigation," said Corporal Gary Fournier of the Del. State PD.

A spokesperson from The Science Channel had no comment when asked if they would still have a show about all this.  

As a reminder, public libraries are open six or seven days a week.

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