What with all the excitement over Hurricane Irene, you may have missed the following press release from Martha’s Vineyard on 8/23:
“The President, in a gesture of support for the brave freedom fighters of Libya, has ordered the director of the Lake City Arsenal to alter some of our existing stocks of 7.62mm, 5.54mm, and 12.7mm Soviet ammunition for firing in the air as a means of celebration. The United States not only recognizes the right of different cultures to express themselves in ways different from ours, but believes they should be able to do it safely, without the risk of injury from falling projectiles.
“The Lake City Arsenal will remove the bullets from this ammunition, replace the powder with a propellant designed for pyrotechnics, and replace the original projectiles with new ones made from light, biodegradable plastic that cannot cause injury and is not based on animal fats. This will result in increased flash and report, while at the same time eliminating the risks inherent in firing conventional ammunition into the air.
“We hope to have the first shipments on the way to Libya by the end of the month.” No precise figures were given for the number of rounds to be converted or the expense for the conversion and shipping, but a reliable source estimated that the total for the three cartridges would “…not exceed 1.7 million” and that the cost to the taxpayer, including air transportation, would “….certainly not be more that $445 million…”