Fireworks – a Postscript

I have received some criticism for my posting about fireworks.  When it comes to firecrackers though, I continue to be bewildered by the fuss — and oppressive regulation.  I suffered a badly-burned finger once and had my ears ringing a few times but there were never any serious problems among my 10 year old pals.  And we did have fun. . . . .  

Let’s look at statistics.  According to a 2004 study, there were 9,600 fireworks injuries in the United States.   None were fatal and most occurred in the month surrounding the 4th of July.   http://www.pyrouniverse.com/stats.htm    This number of injuries is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to other activities such as high school football where there were 500,000 injuries in the 2005-6 season including 16 fatalities (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070815154430.htm ).  I have no kneecap in my right leg thanks to high school football. . . .

I try and put things like this into some logical perspective and cause/effect context.  Firecrackers for me were a hoot and generally safe.  The cherry bombs, Roman candles and such?   Okay — I agree they should be reserved for adults.  And probably limited to rural environs.   But please tell me this — would you rather allow your son to play high school football or light off some Black Cat (I still remember my favorite brand) firecrackers?  I know what I would choose. . . . .     

Fireworks

So what do you think about fireworks? Firecrackers? Cherry bombs? Should they be legal?  I was in Wisconsin this last weekend and the fireworks stores seem to outnumber cows. And the weekend festivities were punctuated by the occasional staccato of firecrackers or boom of a larger “device.”  

When I was 9 years old (and on), I loved firecrackers and fireworks.  Loved that smell of cordite.  We used to break open firecrackers, shake out the fulmenite of mercury powder into cigar tubes with homemade fins, balance them on an incline and then light a fuse sending the “rocket” skyward (often with an enormous explosion).  We would pack match heads into the tubes, pouring in the powder for more incendiary displays.  It was wonderful!  🙂  Every guy had a supply of firecrackers, cherry bombs, M-80’s and such. 

I am keenly aware of all of the arguments of the armchair howlers  (“what about accidents?”  “they can blow your finger off!”) but I still feel that fireworks (at least firecrackers) have a place in a young boy’s life.  Wisconsin and 39 other states have got it right.  Illinois – as usual (with its ban) – is marching to the wrong drummer. . . . .