I always know when it is getting close to July 4TH; and that is without looking at a calendar.
I can tell by the noise and the smell. In my neighborhood and surrounding community area, New Year’s Eve and July 4TH sound like a war zone, and there is an almost nauseating stench from the smoke of the fireworks.
I live in the state of Washington, where many fireworks are illegal. Things that explode, or go up into the air and explode, are illegal. Indeed, many cities have banned all fireworks, including the so–called “Safe & Sane” fireworks.
As a former firefighter, I realize there is no such thing as safe & sane fireworks. For instance, consider how hot a cake pan is at 350 degrees, and that glass melts at about 900 degrees. The average “sparkler” burns at about 1,200 degrees, around the same temperature as a welding torch. A lit sparkler, or the hot wire of a burned sparkler, can be the cause of burns to the young and elderly.
Across the United States, each year all sorts of fireworks are the cause of many people getting injured or burned, not to mention the “accidental fires” that cause damage to grasslands, forests, businesses and homes.
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), “In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage. In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.”
That translates to: There is no cure for STUPID.
Please feel free to check out this report: http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=297&cookie%5Ftest=1
So, why is it that last year, on July 5TH, I found seven spent bottle rockets in my yard, including three on the roof of my house?
The only reason is the proximity of the nearest Tribal Lands – about two miles distant, where every conceivable firework known to humankind is available for sale.
There are about 32 Tribes in the state of Washington, and many of them sell fireworks. There is a website devoted to Tribal fireworks.
In case you are pining for the sounds I have been hearing every night for the past month, here ya go: http://www.indianfireworks.us/
Of course, some of the Tribes operate casinos. Once a year, they doll out some donations to various agencies in the local community.
Therefore, no one dares to criticize the Tribes for their fireworks sales. Each year, the Tribes must harvest MILLIONS from fireworks sales. Regardless of the County, one would never see the local police, the County Sheriff, or the State Patrol with roadblocks set up to seize illegal fireworks.
The Tribes operate with impunity, because they are a Nation within a nation. They can just about do whatever they please, and everyone else nearby just has to deal with it.
That is why I hope it rains real heavy on July 4TH – not because I am unpatriotic. I am very patriotic, but I am very tired of flinching from the quarter and half sticks of dynamite, and all the racket from bottle rockets, the smoke, and the debris left in the streets.
There ought to be a law.