(ND) What is it with potato(e) guns now? Another kid gets hit...


April 21, 2003, 07:05 PM
ACCIDENT: Boy shot with potato gun
Herald Staff Report

A 14-year-old boy is in stable condition after accidentally being shot in the chest with a screw driver from a homemade potato gun Saturday.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office and Fertile, Minn., emergency medical service responded to the incident around 9 p.m. Friday in Garden Township.

The victim was transported to Altru Hospital and is in stable condition, the Polk County Sheriff's office reported. The shooter, 15, is also hospitalized for shock.

The incident is under investigation.

A pototo gun normally is made of different sized plastic pipe with a combustion chamber filled with a propane-like propellant, then ignited by a barbecue lighter. The gun can launch a potato to a distance of 300 feet.


If you enjoyed reading about "(ND) What is it with potato(e) guns now? Another kid gets hit..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 21, 2003, 07:29 PM
Nothing is different. The media has just gotten ahold of an "epidemic" just like the shark attacks here in Florida in 2001. Have you heard of any shark attacks lately? The number of attacks has been the same for the last two years and yet you are not hearing about it because it is old news.

We used to make "potato guns" when I was a kid too but we shot tennis balls instead of frogs and screwdrivers. IDIOTS!!!:banghead:


April 21, 2003, 07:34 PM
Anything remotely related to shootings or guns, even "potato guns" as in this case, will be served up until the 2004 sunset vote.:rolleyes:

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
April 21, 2003, 07:38 PM
y'know, I think they're using the wrong caliber ammo for these things. Screwdrivers in Minnesota, frogs here in Texas. Dagnabbit if they're not gonna start banning frogs as dangerous devices. Poor kids; they're not high-speed enough to be careful with this stuff. One has lost his eyesight to a high-velocity amphibian, the other perforated by a hand tool.

My friends and I built many a spud howitzer in our youth (and in our advancing old age, too) and never had a major charlie foxtrot with them. Maybe we were just lucky, but more likely we knew better than to look into the gaping maw of it when it was charged and good to go. I hate to sound cynical, but stupid lessons are not only free, they're painful. I smell lawsuits and unneeded legislation against what was once boyhood fun.


April 21, 2003, 07:42 PM
"Maybe we were just lucky, but more likely we knew better than to look into the gaping maw of it when it was charged and good to go."

Right on. Where is common sense?

I was gonna take my spudgun (named spudnik) to the driving range behind school to demonstrate it to a class mate. Think I'd get in trouble?:confused:

April 21, 2003, 07:52 PM
This is what happens when you have the backalley equivalent of firearms education. When I was a kid we were TAUGHT how to operate and use firearms. Nowadays they are only taught 'guns-bad' and get their education from the school of hard nocks.

Kids will find ways to shoot guns. We have to educate them on how to properly do so.

Standing Wolf
April 21, 2003, 08:10 PM
I hope Sarah Brady doesn't find out about this, because frankly, hamburgers and noodles just doesn't sound like it's going to catch on.

April 21, 2003, 08:36 PM
Get ready for the nation-wide potato gun ban!

April 21, 2003, 09:16 PM
They should sue the pipe company for making a product that lends its self to such dangerous abuse...:evil:

April 22, 2003, 02:18 PM
time to ban pipe, potato(e)s, lighter fluid, matches and bic lighters, not to mention screwdrivers, tennis balls, duct tape balls(what we used) and whatever else you can ride in on the coat tails of this incident...

uh, kids,,, thats POTATO(E) gun, not SCREWDRIVER gun,,,:rolleyes:

April 23, 2003, 09:50 AM
for the childrens sake, cant we do away w/ all these dangerous screwdrivers?

April 23, 2003, 10:18 AM
My son (15) just drug ours out and fixed it up again. It's pneumatic not hairspray powered.
I've been showing him these threads just so he can see how dangerous they can be and have told him to treat it just like one of our guns.
He can't figure out what kind of dumb a** would put a frog in one in the first place.

April 23, 2003, 11:07 AM
300 feet only!?!?!? I think mine would shoot a potato through a piece of plywood at 300 feet. Must be using sub-standard propellent. I've found Aqua-Net Super Hold is the best.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
April 23, 2003, 11:58 PM
Sisco, I thought the same thing myself. I never saw a 2 inch caliber frog that gave a good enough bore seal to do anything like that. Maybe they had some concept of obturation.

I dunno. Seems like a poor waste of frogs.

Imagine the poor kid, later in life..."Geez...How's you end up blind like that? Car wreck? Bar fight? Boxing accident? War wound? Running with scissors?"

"Nope. Assault frog negligent discharge".

I saw his parents on the news the night after it happened. Some folks might say that some other folks shouldn't be permitted to breed.

Too bad, says I.


"If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world
peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until
the looting started..."

April 24, 2003, 12:31 AM
Perhaps if there was a law that required the spud gun manufacturers to letter stamp the correct ammunition and calibre on the barrels, we could avoid such incidents. Anyway, I feel that potatoes should be prohibited. No honest person should need anything other than instant mashed ...

April 24, 2003, 12:33 AM
Hmm... mental picture of a spud gun firing instant mashed potato. Would this be the vegetable equivalent of birdshot???
:evil: :neener: :evil:

April 24, 2003, 01:51 AM
Did anybody catch the TLC episode on Pumpkin Chunkin' last week they had a big pneumatic launch a pumkin just shy of 5000'
it was a very cool show even if the host was a little annoying

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
April 24, 2003, 02:10 AM
Now kids are gonna see that and start building their very own industrial air compressor-launched pumpkin tubes. More paperwork, less fun. I bet the 4473 form for that would raise an eyebrow or two if it ever got read. Whatever happened to the good old days of the 1300's when all we had to worry about was getting clear of the trebuchet slings?


My neighbors better duck and cover. I'm building one this summer. Got watermelons growing right now with a special purpose in mind.


Even by accident we're bound to do something right. - Henry Kissenger, Brussels, Sept. 1, 1979.

Ol' Badger
April 24, 2003, 11:08 AM
Be on the look out for Sarah Brady rolling around her hubby saying that he was struck by a Potato gun bought at a Gun Show without a background check. I used to use Pears from a Pear tree in the back yard. I'd launch them over to the other neighborhood were they would launch potatos back at us. Kind of long range arty thing. No one was ever hit, but some cars were damaged.

April 26, 2003, 01:12 PM
I haven't seen it here, and maybe it's just that it is too obvious......I don't know about the screwdriver incident, but the frog......had a potatao behind it that also hit the kid in the face...............of course "boy blinded boy launched frog" grabs more attention............................I'd say the potato did far more damage than the frog.

April 26, 2003, 10:25 PM
Nature's way of paying him back for thinking it was fun to shoot frogs out of the thing. Instant Karma!!!!
Stupid is as stupid does!!!!!:what:

April 27, 2003, 12:48 AM
Sisco, I thought the same thing myself. I never saw a 2 inch caliber frog that gave a good enough bore seal to do anything like that. Maybe they had some concept of obturation.

You can obtain a much better seal by using a shop rag as wadding between the combustion chamber and projectile. Credit for this one goes to my Dad, who was playing with one at work...

Also, if you use a shop rag in this manner you can shoot several dozen paintballs at once.

On a more serious note, the article states the shooter was hospitalized for shock. What did he expect? You can't honestly argue that he accidentally loaded a screwdriver, without even getting onto the topic of shooting another person. :banghead:

Don Gwinn
April 27, 2003, 11:33 AM
I never even considered paintball grapeshot. . . . now there's a thought.

Schmit, by the way, swears that starter fluid (ether) is far superior even to Aqua-Net.

The very first time I brought my future wife home to meet my parents, she was a little worried. My father is a somewhat rough and gruff-looking man with an Al Borland beard. He doesn't say much of anything to anyone unless you can get him on a topic that really works him up, like fishing lures or 16-guage shotguns. Missy comes from a very, very loud household. Her mother and stepfather have very loud opinions on everything and they express them all--loudly. They really love commercials, for instance, and if you watch a Lowes commercial with them they'll grill you until you guess who the voice in the background is (it's Gene Hackman, by the way, in case you ever find yourself watching TV with my in-laws.)

Anyway, Missy was ill-prepared for a parent who just sat in his chair and didn't say anything. She began to fear that she had offended him terribly, and, she says, she was a little bit scared of him.

Mom and dad run a small antique booth in their spare time, so there are always little odds and ends around the house. Missy picked up a Pound Puppy (tm) and commented that she hadn't seen one in years. If you don't recall the Pound Puppies, they were one of those toys in the 1980s that were sold with the innovative method of creating a Saturday-morning cartoon about them. They're small stuffed plush toy puppy dogs about eight inches long with floppy legs and ears.

At this, my father's ears perked up, and without warning, he launched into the following story. It may still be the longest continuous speech he has ever made in Missy's presence after five years.

Oh, you like Pound Puppies? That reminds me. Cheryl, I forgot to tell you about this when I got home. You know it was raining today and we couldn't do that concrete job by the park, so we were puttering around fixing up the trucks and stuff in the shop, and when there just wasn't much else to do I remembered I had the potato gun in the truck. So over lunch I went to IGA and got a big sack of potatos and some hair spray, and we did some experimenting.

At this point, mom is imploring dad not to tell this story; she's afraid something terribly sinister happened at the City garage that day and he's going to scare Melissa out of ever coming back. She likes Melissa.
So anyway, we were shooting potatos across at the lumber yard, and those guys couldn't figure out what was going on. You could hear the potato go SPLAT! on the steel roof, and it must have sounded like a bomb going off inside because they'd all come running out, but we just dropped the potato gun in the bed of the truck every time and they couldn't figure it out. Then we started shooting over the whole lumber yard--those things really go.
Well, about the time we ran out of potatos, we were going to give it up, but then Ronnie says "Wait right here!" Ronnie's an idiot--he's my boss, too, but he's still an idiot--so we weren't sure what he was going to get. But he ran back to my truck and grabbed the other Pound Puppy. So we wrapped its ears around its head sorta spiral like, and did the same with the legs, and mashed it down into the gun. Boy, it was tight, too. So we put a really big charge in, put it at the angle to come down on the roof at the lumber yard, and let it go.
That little puppy came flying out the end of the barrel almost too fast to see, but as it got higher the ears unwrapped. It was spinning and flying head first with its ears flapping in the wind like wings, and it really looked like a flying dog was flapping its way across the street and over the building. I think we fired it too low,but the ears and legs slowed it down some and it did land on the roof. Probably be there for years.
Some of the lumber yard guys saw it flying and wanted to know what it was. They knew it came from us, but they couldn't figure out how we did it. I think some of them thought it was a real puppy. We just laughed and played dumb.

And with that, he lapsed back into silence. But she'd at least seen him smile, and that helped (dad smiles a lot, but you can't see it unless you know what to look for.)

If you enjoyed reading about "(ND) What is it with potato(e) guns now? Another kid gets hit..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!