On Aug. 4, Little Leaguers from around Michiana gathered for a tournament to test their baseball skills. Instead of worrying about brush-back pitches and dropped fly balls that day, the players had to scramble for cover to protect their lives from stray bullets hitting the ballpark.
A quick-thinking off-duty FBI agent attending the game recognized the buzzes around the field as being from bullets flying by. He shouted for players and fans to take cover. A tragedy was averted.
Now the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department is trying to determine where the bullets came from and who fired them and why. A spokesman said the investigation is progressing and the department’s officers are being thorough in their probe. We have no doubt they are and we, like the rest of the community, are awaiting to hear what the results will be.
Speculation has been that someone was target shooting with a rifle and the bullets somehow reached the field. If that is indeed the case, we have to ask why anyone would fire a gun within range of a Little League field?
County residents do have the right to fire firearms on their property. But that right is not absolute, meaning they have to do so in a safe manner. Obviously if bullets struck a scoreboard at the Little League field and other bullets zipped past players, the shots were not fired in a safe manner.
On the end flaps of boxes of rifle or pistol ammunition there are warnings about using the ammunition safely. Users are cautioned about making sure their backstop is safe and there is a caution that the bullets can travel great distances. The warning for the little .22 caliber rifle round cautions the bullet’s range is 1.5 miles. And yes, .22s are potent enough to kill human beings.
We don’t know yet what caliber of weapon was used to fire the bullets that struck the scoreboard and threatened the lives of the Little Leaguers and their parents, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that someone did not consider that their bullets would carry all the way to the Little League field and become lethal threats to others.