Monday, July 4

Happy 28th Through the 11th

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%.


D. Sidhe said...

It's illegal in my little part of the world, too, not that this stops anybody.
Someone burned down a garage and part of a house Friday night while screwing with some of them.
I'd like to see a law that makes the sellers responsible collectively for all damage--from wildfires to housefires to injuries to vet bills to emergency response costs to anything else anyone wants to sue for--statewide.
And implemented in every state.
"Fireworks don't cause fires, pyromaniacs do."
Yeah, maybe so, but with fireworks, there's a better chance of starting a fire on someone *else's* property.

Call me unpatriotic and all, but I fail to see how burning down forests and houses and injuring people and pets is even remotely justifiable.

You wanna watch things explode with loud booms? Enlist, morons.

Hokie said...

How many people do you think are gonna say "The Founding Fathers set off a bunch of fireworks" to "What happened on July 4th?"

Pepper said...

A bunch of them will say the Fourth of July celebrates BBQ skillz.

During my Kentucky childhood, I went to a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show ... in a lumberyard. I thought that was a little funny because fire plus wood normally equals trouble. But none of the adults thought about it in time because the whole joint was burned to a crisp by 3 am.

The fireworks sure were purty, though.

Anonymous said...

It's illegal in my town too, but I can't remember a year when the kids weren't out there trying to kill themselves. We hose down the roof, turn the sprinklers on, bring the critters in, and hope for the's all we can do.

Kate said...

It's so funny, Doghouse, because I live in Chicago and while there are a ton of fireworks going off here all weekend too, they were all bought in Indiana!! As you know, Illinoians cross the border in droves to pick up the stuff since they're illegal here.

I don't think I'd mind if they didn't smell so bad. I had to close the windows and put on the air conditioning tonight. A dad was blowing stuff up with his kids right in front of my garage. It was one of those multi-fire box thingies, with rockets, fountains, and little explosions. I had to wait for the thing to burn itself out before I could park.

I had nothing at all to do with celebrations this year. Too much heartache for this girl. I can't stand it anymore. I actually cringed when I heard the national anthem on Friday down at Grant Park. What can you do. I know it's about "patriotism," not "nationalism," but frankly I'm not feeling very patriotic this year. No flags, no Sousa marches. None of it!

Yosef said...

We had a "melee" in uptown Charlotte after the city's fireworks last night. They said the cops don't want to call it a riot.

Linkmeister said...

Out here in sunny Hawai'i there's a law that says it's illegal after 9:00pm, and you have to pay $25 for a permit to buy the things anyway. Good intentions and all that: there have been roughly 400 brush fires so far (2100HST July 5) this year, compared to the 200 there were last year.

My dog's been hungover all day from the sedative I had to give her last night to keep her sanity somewhat in line with the norm.

And the 4th is calm compared to the idiocy that is New Year's Eve.