The fools next door, across the street, and all the way down the block on both sides were bursting cherry bombs, M80s, bottle rockets, and handguns until long after 1:30 a.m. This morning, they greeted 7:30 a.m. with a handful of cherry bombs and several strings of firecrackers, just to start the day off right. It’s a good thing I’m a believer in gun control and own no semi-automatic weapon, or I might surely have committed a grave crime indeed and left the world and my neighborhood a better place for it.
Kansas City is the second biggest fireworks market after San Antonio, although all unlicensed private fireworks displays in the city limits (and most of the suburbs) are illegal. Fourth of July here is absolutely miserable for dogs, cats, and sane people. I remember one year when my husband and I were returning from a trip late on Fourth of July and the city’s skyline looked like a war zone, clouded in the smoke of battle and explosions. Kansas City offers many legal, lavish, and free public fireworks displays, but folks will insist on spending hundreds of dollars at the fireworks stands set up just outside the city and suburban limits to blast away in their own front yards and the streets outside their homes.
Every year homes burn, often to the ground, and people, often children, end up in the emergency room with major injuries from fireworks. But still, the fools buy them and set them off (while drunk) on every street in the large, sprawling metropolitan area, usually with a passel of kids running around among the minor explosives, leaving tons of fireworks trash all over the sidewalks and streets for someone else to clean up. Fourth of July is dreaded by firemen, police, EMTs, and sane people who’ve retained their hearing because of what the illegal and stupid use of fireworks brings.
I love celebrations, and picnics, family gatherings, barbecues, cookouts, and block parties are wonderful ways to celebrate Independence Day. There are ceremonies that honor servicemen and others who have served their communities and ceremonies where speakers and politicians recount our history (albeit whitewashed) as a country, praise the wisdom and courage of our forefathers, and speak to the importance of honoring our country’s ideals today. And often there are spectacular, legal, public fireworks displays put on by professionals using all the safeguards that have been developed through the years. Why can’t people settle for one or all of these ways to celebrate and leave the illegal fireworks alone?
And why, oh why must they start with the illegal fireworks in late June and run with them until the 8th or 10th of July? How are we celebrating the foundation of a nation of based on law when we break the law in front of our kids and encourage them to do the same? What kind of example are we setting when we do something like that? On the Fourth of July, we turn into a nation of scofflaws—and the most unpleasant of neighbors
I know I’m not the only one who hates this idiocy. My Twitter and Facebook feeds last night were both full of friends all over the country complaining about the idiots near them who were blasting away and the damage this was doing to their hearing, their nerves, and their animals. The police can’t arrest a whole city, even when the citizens are openly breaking the law. It’s a logistical nightmare. Laws and the civil society that they make possible only work when most of the citizens of a place will abide by them. As we become more lawless in this way, doesn’t it make it easier for that slide into lawlessness as a society that everyone worries about?
The best Fourth of July I ever spent was in Oxford, England. No one over there even knows the day is different, and Britain certainly doesn’t celebrate the occasion of losing its top colony. Next year, I think I’m going to have to spend Fourth of July in some other country to avoid the cretins who are wrecking it in this one.
How do you feel about all the illegal private fireworks on Fourth of July?