Okay then, for the sake of argument, lets do the maths on this for a second....
First, did our pilot in question detect the fireworks/missiles before he saw them detonate? Radar will barely register a solid, person sized mass, and only if the object is in its direct path. Therefore, in order for him to have detected this firework while in flight, it would have to be about my height, and weigh approximately 300 lbs. And there's a lot of those floating around the place.
He didn't hear this thing being launched, and I doubt if he heard it detonate, given that there are two jet engines behind his head. Therefore he must have seen it detonate.
Assuming that out plane is travelling well into the subsonic speeds (don't want to piss anyone off... shoot them yes, piss them off no), we'll take that speed to be 500 MPH.
(500 * 5280) / 3600 gives us a speed of an average speed of 733 feet/sec
Now lets just hope that said pilot radioed base to see what they thought..
<Pilot> Pilot to base, we have a bit of a problem here. I'm seeing funny bright flashes in the sky, which *might* be mortar fire. Has there been activity in the area over the past few days???
<Base> Thats a negative on any activity. No reported activity in the area...
<Pilot> Any idea what I should do, Base???
<Base> Fucked if we know....
<Pilot> Thanks for that, base. I'll turn around and take a look-see. Have the kettle on when I get back.
How long would that conversation have taken? A minute perhaps?? In that minute the plane would have travelled
(60 * 733) / 5280 , or 8.3 miles. And this is assuming that the pilot didn't take the recommended course of action of pulling back the throttle and gaining as much altitude as possible to allow room to manoevure (A pilot doesn't roll until he has enough room between him and the ground to do so). If we had fireworks capable of travelling 8.3 miles, we'd either have a DIY balistic missile, or the first civilian in space. It also means that our pilot must have circled back in order to pass over the wedding again, and if he did, it wasn't to take a photo of the happy couple.
The point I'm trying to make it that it is a "big fucking deal", as you so eloquently put it. Accident it may be, but the bomb did not fall out of it's cradle on its own, a button was pressed by the pilot, in either an act of aggression, or more likely, as a result of orders that he was given by someone higher up in the chain of command.
It was bad decision making, pure and simple, and in a war where civilian lives are at risk, there is no room for error. If you're not sure, you check again, and again, until you are sure. I can't see the logic in bringing up an incident that happened over 50 years ago, and comparing it to current events in terms of public reaction. Also, there have been countless books written about Dresden, as you will see if you do a quick web search.
I'm also aware that my comment that you quoted is absurd. Saying that civilians somehow invited their own deaths by firing into the air??The reasoning behind it is rediculous, I completely agree. But it wasn't my
reasoning, which you'll see if you read back a few posts...
Not being interpreted as flaming, but I posted that absurd comment in an effort to highlight the implausibility of certain reasoning here...[/edit]