Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fireworks Now And Then (aka I'm Old)

On this New Years Eve as I sit in my house with my faithful dog cowering behind my computer desk in fear from all the loud noise from the obscene amount of fireworks outside, I am reminded of the fact that Fireworks are indeed illegal.

I know I'm getting old when I say this, but when I was a kid, you got small firecrackers or bottle rockets (if you were lucky) and sparklers and you were happy. Fireworks were illegal due to safety concerns.

Now, there is a Fireworks store/tent setup on every other corner and some actual Fireworks stores that stay open 365 Days out of the year. Keep in mind that the laws haven't changed, Fireworks are still illegal but our very own government has created a massive loophole to allow the sale of pretty much any form of "fireworks" one may desire.

This loophole says that it is not illegal to sell Fireworks, it is just illegal to use Fireworks. However, there is one provision which makes using Fireworks perfectly legal. The one caveat, you have to be a "Farmer". Yes, our government has decided that "Farmers" may have the need for deadly explosives to fend off dangerous rodents which may destroy their crops.

When you go to a Fireworks store or road stand, you can buy wondrous things that are as powerful and at times even more impressive than what you may see at a "Professional" Fireworks Display. All you have to do is sign a little form that says "I am a Farmer".

Keep in mind, that it is illegal for non-farmers to actually use Fireworks but that is the brilliant part about the "loophole", nobody checks.

That's right, you can set off a Fireworks Display in your very own front yard that rivals that "pro" Fireworks Display downtown and no cops will ever come to verify that you are a "farmer" and attempting to use the Fireworks to fend off rodents. Sure, your neighbors may get upset and they may even call the Police but nothing will ever happen.

This just doesn't seem right. I remember once when I was 10 years old I was foolishly playing outside on July 4th with a friend that had a miniature gun powder cannon. It was about a foot long, nothing big. We fired it off and then instantly a Cop showed up to warn us of the laws we were breaking. Being kids and stupid, we did it again later and yet another Police Officer showed up to make sure we understood the laws.

Today, that just doesn't happen. I could stand outside with a Roman Candle in my hand and put myself in the Hospital and never so much as get a warning or worse, a ticket for the violation.

Am I getting old and losing my sense of adventure? Maybe, but a law is a law. If we casually turn the other way and toss in "loopholes" to make ourselves feel better about lawbreakers, where will that end?

Every year Fireworks use grows more and more around July 4th, Christmas and New Years. And every year more and more people end up in the Emergency Room because they were drunk, stupid and shooting off Fireworks.

Fireworks are so easy to purchase and obviously cheap because around my house people start shooting off Fireworks anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks before a holiday and continue shooting them off for the next 1 to 2 weeks following the holiday.

I remember a story from New Years a couple years back where a friend of mine couldn't get to sleep because it was 3:30am in the morning and some fool was shooting off Fireworks like there was no tomorrow. After walking around the neighborhood it was discovered that some guy was sitting out in his driveway completely drunk shooting off Fireworks and he had absolutely no idea what time it was. He didn't even have friends or family around him.

Am I making too big of a deal about this? Maybe so but again, if the government is going to create a Law they shouldn't follow that up with a loophole that allows any idiot to go blow his paycheck on explosives and beer.

That's my rant for the Evening.... Happy New Year :-)

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