Reporters on the Job

Celebrating With Bullets: Staff writer Scott Peterson hasn't needed to use his bulletproof vest or helmet yet during his current trip to Iraq. But he was having second thoughts on Sunday when he ventured to the roof of the Baghdad hotel where the Monitor's bureau is located. It was just moments after Iraqi television showed Saddam Hussein receiving his death sentence.

When the guilty verdict came down, the entire capital city was under curfew – even pedestrians were barred from leaving their homes. But the curfew was quickly forgotten. And, as Scott notes, "every Iraqi household is permitted one assault rifle, and many seemed to pull theirs out on Sunday.

"It started with just a few rounds going off," Scott says, of the traditional celebratory gunfire. "Then it just built and built, until it sounded like a serious gun battle was under way across the city."

He didn't spend too much time on the roof, where there are pieces of rusting shrapnel leftover from a car bomb that went off in the area a year ago. Scott has found spent bullets up there, too, in the past – and expects to find more tomorrow, when the celebrations calm.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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