FIREWORKS - PRO AND CON
Here we are again, only a couple months from that most American of celebrations, Independence Day. It's a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of our nation, to be thankful for the freedoms provided to us and remember the sacrifices made by the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams.
A DAY TO CELEBRATE
It's a day when we usually draw together as families and neighbors to share good company, good food, good weather (usually) - and fireworks. It's also a time when most of us adults hold our collective breath while our young ones play with safe and sane fireworks and, in some neighborhoods, some older ones fire off some that are neither safe nor sane.
UNLEASHING THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARSENAL
We silently pray that none of those glorious bottle rockets and roman candles end up igniting a neighbor's roof. As M80s rock our homes, we hope that no one loses an eye, hand or worse as they fire off that pseudo-military ordinance and flail around with those ubiquitous sparklers that I enjoyed as a kid, but that are now illegal. We hope our neighborhood pets don't suffer long-range emotional trauma from the explosions.
ADULT BEHAVIOR WANTED
We hope that everyone acts like an adult as they use the fireworks, but it's not always the case, as witnessed by this lunatic at a local fireworks celebration last year. Strapping a helmet with a fireworks launch-tube attached and running around with the fireworks flaring away is hardly responsible activity. It is amusing - unless his pants catch fire or he ignites a neighborhood tree.
PRO AND CON
Every year at this time the folks who are dead set against fireworks in our city rally their forces and try to point out the dangers. Every year those who support fireworks in Costa Mesa jump right up and defend the practice, saying that to outlaw them would be unpatriotic and would significantly deter youth sports organizations from raising funds for their activities. Every year our good friends a couple blocks away in Newport Beach skulk across the border into our neighborhood and shoot off their stash of fireworks, leaving our neighborhood streets a mess for someone else (us) to clean up.
I SAY "NO!"
A few years ago we almost lost our home as a result of the careless use of fireworks, when a neighbor boy accidentally burned his garage down. Only the quick thinking of other neighbors headed off the conflagration before it reached our garage and home. At the risk of alienating every one of my neighbors, I must state that I'm one of those guys who thinks the City of Costa Mesa should abandon the sale and use of so-called safe and sane fireworks and replace it as a fund raising event including a municipal fireworks extravaganza. At the same time we should pull out all the stops to apprehend and punish those who use illegal fireworks in our city.
THEY SAY "YES!"
Many people in town feel strongly that we should be allowed to continue to shoot off legal fireworks. They make eloquent arguments on the subject. They say we would be punishing the majority of folks who use fireworks safely for the transgressions of the few who don't. This issues is almost like trying to discuss religion... most people have their minds firmly made up and can't be swayed. I think there simply must be alternatives to the urge to explode things and raise funds for the kids. 90% of the cities in Orange County managed to do just fine in both areas without selling or permitting the use of fireworks within their borders.
I love a good, professional fireworks show - I think most people do. Perhaps Mike Scheafer and his pals at the Lion's Club would re-schedule their Fish Fry for the July 4th time frame, hold it at Orange Coast College - with the rides and games and food - and have it topped off with a huge municipal fireworks display at the stadium. Proceeds from the events could be distributed to all the youth organizations presently benefiting from fireworks sales. This year, for example, with July 4th on a Friday, it could be a long-weekend event, with fireworks at LeBard Stadium on both Friday and Saturday nights. It's just a thought.
LET'S HEAR YOUR VIEWS
I'd be very interested in hearing your views, whether you agree with me or not. As always, I expect courtesy when expressing a viewpoint and I will not publish anything submitted as "Anonymous" - pick a name, any name.