Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And The Rockets’ Red Glare, The Bombs Bursting In Air

Photo by Steve Shepard
With the Fourth of July celebration behind us, here comes the annual onslaught of those who persist in banning fireworks in our community. It never fails, before the celebration is even over, just barely begun, the Columbian’s Letter to the Editor fills up with those accusing people who enjoy setting off fireworks of illegal activities, exploding bombs, terrorizing neighborhoods, children, pets and anything else they can conjure up.

For the record, as a Vietnam Veteran who went through a sapper attack in An Khe where 17 helicopters were blown up one evening, one being less than half of a football field length away from me, who witnessed an ammunition bunker going up in flames and secondary explosions and underwent other sorts of mortar and rocket attacks on occasion, I don’t care much for fireworks. In fact, some of them really make my skin crawl.

Still, why should the community have to cater to my whims? I fully understand people enjoy the fireworks and most are responsible with them.

Yes, they make noise and if handled improperly cause damage. But, as was published in the Columbian article on July 5, 2011, Fourth of July fallout fairly minimal, the celebration went off without much a hitch, other than a record number of 911 calls complaining about the noise.

Yes, some fools did act inappropriately and cause some damage, but by and large, hospitals saw no increase in injuries. But, fools exist everywhere and foolish acts happen every day in several areas. It is simply impossible to regulate fools, although they can be fined and dealt with individually.

Why should the entire community suffer because of a handful of fools?

If some fool cuts his hand off with a power saw, do we clamor for rules banning power saws? If your neighbor loses control of his lawnmower and chops up your prized roses, do you clamor for banning of lawnmowers? No, you work out a deal with the neighbor to repay you in some manner for his mis-actions.

Yet every year, we hear and read of those people within the community demanding a total ban on all fireworks because Tabby or Rover might be bothered.

Amazingly, many of these same people heavily oppose infractions on second amendment rights or gun ownership in spite of fools misusing a gun on occasion too.

What I question the most is reading that based upon agreeable comments from neighbors and Letters to the Editor, the “majority in the community want fireworks banned.”

Is that why fireworks stands do so well in the short time they have to sell them each year and why so many within the community are setting them off all day and into the evening of the 4th of July?

It sounds to me that if the complaint is that so many are being set off up to the legal time limit of midnight, the majority just might not agree with banning them. After all, if the majority wants them banned, how is it so many are sold and set off every year?

Whiners have successfully gained a scheduled city council review of fireworks ordinances even though they have been tightened up 3 times in recent years.

From the sounds of it, Pat Campbell and Jeanne Harris favor banning them while Larry Smith is favoring a review of ordinances only at this time. I have to agree with Mayor Leavitt on this one, though as he says,
“It’s prudent for the council to have reasonable laws, limits and restrictions on fireworks. You cannot create and enforce laws that eliminate all stupidity in their usage. You can’t legislate intelligence.”

I submit that our community already has “reasonable laws, limits and restrictions on fireworks.”

With county commissioners indicating no desire to join in with any further restrictions on fireworks, do these people who yearly demand fireworks be banned in the city not realize that those who enjoy them will just go out into the county and buy them and still set them off?

If Police aren’t there to witness it, what can they do?

You want to tape your neighbor once a year to satisfy your viewpoint? That too will keep you from going to bed early, will it not?

And, if these people succeed in forcing a ban on other people’s choice of celebrating the holiday of our Independence from Britain through the Revolutionary War, how soon before they are marching on the county commission?

The last half of the first stanza of our National Anthem goes,
“And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

I wake up every morning on the 5th of July proud to be an American who is free to decide for myself whether or not I choose to enjoy fireworks and all of our other freedoms we have left.

No, I personally don’t care for fireworks all that much, but I do care about nanny state infringements on our freedoms and liberties.

For all of you who get so worked up over this every year, may I suggest you go down to the Dollar Store and buy yourself a set of earplugs.

Enjoy that you and those neighbors distressing you one or two evenings a year are free to do so.

Who knows, you might end up needing their support when one of your freedoms is being threatened by the ever encroaching nanny state.

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