I used to love the 4th of July. The day used to mean celebrating with family and friends, BBQ’s and waiting patiently for night to fall so we could light our fireworks. The entire neighborhood would be outside, lawn chairs seemed to line both sides of the street. So many cool fireworks to see. I couldn’t wait till I was old enough that my parents would let me light one by myself.
July 5th there would be stories of kids that got hurt, houses that caught fire and the occasional field. But, it was always user error, every single time. Sure it would get reported as an “Accident” but the news always told the story and made no attempt to protect the stupid people. It was always someone using illegal fireworks or using legal ones in an unrecommended way that would start a fire or injure someone.
Somewhere over the years it became dangerous, then cities started banning fireworks. At first they were far communities that didn’t affect us. But, then one day, it did and that was it. One of my favorite days of the years was gone. And it was taken from us all because of stupid people. Instead of punishing the stupid, communities just made a rash decision to take away our rights, another freedom gone.
I am now 43 years old and I think of all the things I could do as a kid that my kids, now all grown never got to do. I got to ride in the back of truck, used to love that. Can’t do it anymore. Used to ride my bike without wearing a helmet. Can’t do that anymore. Used to celebrate the 4th in my neighborhood with family and friends by lighting off our own fireworks and watching them glow and shine and watching the neighbors light off theirs. Not anymore. And, what amazes me, in all those childhood years I never saw anyone get hurt, from a firework. I never heard of a kid flying out of the back of a pickup truck and I nobody I know ever got seriously hurt from riding their bike.
Now, if we do anything for the 4th, instead of an all day gathering it’s become just a quick visit. I quick hello and maybe a lunch or an early dinner because everyone has some fireworks show they have to drive to. That feeling of family and community forever gone because for some dumb reason this country has decided to protect the stupid people at the expense of everyone else. It’s just sad and what bothers me even more is that no one seems to care anymore. We so easily just lay down as one thing after another is taken from us in the name of “Our own good.”
Sorry about the rant, it just sort of happened. My kids are coming up this weekend to celebrate the 4th so yesterday, sadly was pretty much just another day, except for when it got dark. That’s when all the stupid people with their illegal fireworks go out and start lighting their stuff off and it goes on until till at least midnight or later so if you have to sleep you can’t. So I sit and feel punished, so much taken away from us and the only people not affected by it, are the ones the ban on fireworks was intended to affect.
So I sit here this morning and watch the news of a legal fireworks event, where as sheep we are encouraged to go so that we can watch fireworks safely. So what happens, dozens of folks injured when something goes wrong. Really? Then there’s another story of an idiot with bottle rockets and another with roof made out of wood shingles. Wood shingles been illegal in California for about 15 or 20 years and this roof catches on fire. Who do we blame? The idiot with bottle rocket or the idiot with the wood shingled roof? My guess it will be neither. Bottle rockets and wood shingles are illegal. The thought of actually going after the stupid, the law breakers, it’s never gonna happen. There’s no money in that. It will be ignored unless the government can figure out a way to connect something to it and then ban it because the alternative makes them money. It’s just sad. So many good memories, so many future memories we will never have.