It's illegal to shoot off fireworks in Indiana. I said, it's illegal to shoot off fireworks in Indiana. I SAID, IT'S ILLEGAL TO SHOOT...nevermind, I'll tell you Thursday, after the fireworks die down.
About a decade ago the World's Third Worst State Legislature™ decided, in the interests of a free economy, that it would be just ducky if every vacant storefront in Indiana could become a fireworks store from June through July. There was that little problem with them being illegal, but nothing is too great an obstacle for these guys, except maybe deciding what time it is. They simply required anyone purchasing fireworks to sign an affidavit stating that they are either a licensed pyromaniac or promise not to set the things off inside the state lines. It's worked like a charm. This is the same legislature which decided a few years back that Hoosiers weren't paying enough for beer.
Okay, I'm a stick in the mud, a killjoy, and a party pooper. And, call me a liberal, but I do have a vague awareness that other people live nearby, and some of them share living quarters with very excitable dogs, neither of whom I want to scare the bejesus out of for no good reason. I really don't have a problem myself with people shooting the damned things off to celebrate the Fourth. I'll even grant them the whole weekend in this instance. But the shit starts blasting the last week of May, and there'll still be one idiot middle of next month sitting in his backyard at midnight going psssssst....BANG! psssssst....BANG! psssssst....BANG! for two fun-filled hours.
What seems new this year is that it's not just the people working on the second case of Old Milwaukee (unpalatable swill, now at premium prices!) who start up in the middle of the afternoon on June 29, it's also the thrill-seekers with money for these Tactical Suburban Mortar Emplacements (TSMEs) which fire stuff 75 feet in the air. I'm not quite sure what the attraction is, and if I was I'd have to wonder why you're shooting them off in broad daylight. Maybe it's the simple embarrassment of riches. When I was a kid people had to drive to Tennessee to get this stuff, so they were more frugal with their ammo. Anyway, I'm up on a ladder Friday afternoon, clearing a blocked gutter, when my next door neighbor fires off about 80 rounds out of the blue. I nearly jerked myself right off the ladder. And, lemme tell you, liberal or no liberal, at that point we would have been putting the laws of the Sorry State of Indiana to the test. Not the one about fireworks. The one about justifiable homicide.
As you know, I'm nothing if not positive, and I have a simple solution. I sent it to the State Fire Marshal Saturday. The Fire Marshal used to campaign pretty strongly against this stuff, but with Republicans in control you can tell he's become dispirited. This year he called a press conference, and instead of warning people about the dangers of fireworks he said, "Go ahead, let your kid blow his damn arm off. But we're not helping you look for it." I've suggested that instead of making people pledge not to shoot off illegal fireworks in state, we just ask each of them, "What happened on July 4th?" That ought to cut sales by 98%.