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[Ben]:Some Thoughts on Fireworks No discussion found
At the last moment, Nate's parents decided that they'd allow a smallish fireworks celebration on their property after it had been repeatedly vetoed. My schedule also freed up at the last moment with bathroom remodeling being put off for a day.

While we were unwrapping fuzes for a few dozen shells, I listened to the distant rumble, blasts and machine-gun chatter of other folks showing their celebration of our nation's Independance in the best way possible - expending low level explosives for family entertainment and making the whole county sound like Marines in a target rich environment. Periodically, you could see clouds lit up from below by bright flashes of light and sparks suspended briefly in the air near the horizon, their distance dulling the sharp edges of the explosions and making them seem almost like burning cotton.

After an angry hissing of fuses, our own mortars would go off. The propellant charges thudded in my chest and above we could hear the booms of our shots breaking, followed by the "Oooh!" and "Aaaah!" of the young kids who served as our primary audience, followed by smartassed remarks from a couple of the adults. Uncalled-for remarks, as all of Nate's displays are only overshadowed by professional pyrotechnicians, and only the better ones at that. As the smoke drifts over us, I think I make a subconcious connection between the smell of burning gunpowder and freedom.

More important to me than the amusement of kids with explosives, and even more important than remembering the birth of a nation on an aribtrary day is the widespread civil disobedience associated with fireworks. How often do you hear of someone buying "out of state fireworks" or getting "some real M80s" or the like? It's so common, you could invite entire police departments to a show featuring illicit fireworks without fear of being arrested. In fact, a good number might be convinced to contribute some prohibited explosives of their own. This gives me hope. It tells me that even though we're constantly being loaded down with floods of increasingly unnecessary and ever-more-restrictive laws, the spirit of Independance is still present - even if it is just one day out of the year.

So, next time you touch a match to the fuse of the rocket that would look at home being paraded down a Soviet street, which contains decidedly more explosive than allowed by law, remember that laws can not be the aribiters of morality. They must not be.

And be safe.
  2004-07-07
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