Friday, July 5, 2013

The Morning After—4th of July Rant

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?


  1. Amen! I feel sorry for the police trying to enforce this ban when no one is controlling the sale . . . Scariest 4th I ever experienced was in L.A. on the beach to watch the sunset, totally unaware that we would soon be in the middle of massive amateur fireworks.
    The quietest was the year I was teaching in Jamaica. I did see a few rockets on the 4th. A friend said they were from the U.S. embassy. "Those fools always do that . . . " I think he nailed it.

  2. Hi Linda,

    May I join your rant, please?

    Here in Tucson I worry most about the gunfire on the Fourth of July. It's bad enough every other day of the year after the bars close, but I'm usually not tempted to go outside at that time. It's not unusual for someone to be hit by a bullet that dares to return to Earth.

    The time around Independence Day has much wider margins then the bewitching hour following bar closing. The Fourth of July brings a week or two of noisy celebration. Why? Celebration of what? The worst offender I know of is a teabagger down the road. He calls himself a patriot while believing the U.S. Constitution is outmoded and that it's time to replace our government by force. That's a patriot?

  3. Oh yeah, Reine. I saw a news item today that said Americans are trying to take guns on planes at an alarming rate, according to the TSA. Just gun crazy.

    They're still out there right now, exploding fireworks and shooting off guns. It will go on through much of next week. *sigh*

    1. We've been having a thunder and lightning storm all evening, so the fireworks and guns seem to be put away--at least for now.

      I remember when Gabby's office was shot up. And I remember the teabagger rally here in Tucson with Sarah Palin's ads showing democrats in the crosshairs. You know the rest.

      New accessible iPhone arriving on Monday.

  4. I don't mind it. I live in San Antonio and I don't pop fireworks because I'm not a kid anymore. But I LOVE to see my neighbors and family having fun, doing all the things I got to partake in when I was un niño. And something about the reminiscence of the popped fireworks laying all over the streets and sidewalks the next morning has always moved me, even as a child. I even like to clean it up (on my street anyway lol) As far as the noise...c'mon. Go inside and I think you'll be just fine. As far as pets go...they're the only ones I feel sorry for but at the same time, something tells me they're just like us... Some people love em and some people hate em. Thanks for sharing (:

  5. Clint, maybe your neighbors use different fireworks from mine. My neighbors do the big loud explosions (M80s and M90s) that rattle my windows (in fact, broke one once). Go inside to get away from the noise is not an option here.

    Thanks for stopping by. I love San Antonio, and I'm glad to hear they're not as bad as KC on that.