2 July 2004
Every year around mid-June, they start to appear: sometimes nothing more fancier than your average roadside fruit stand, sometimes giant box stores. And they're always just outside the city limits.
Fireworks are illegal in Oklahoma City and some of the suburbs; I've seen people buy bottle rockets and such at a stand in Crutcho, an unincorporated area, only to be promptly busted by the cops the moment they crossed into Midwest City territory.
Some whole states, like Massachusetts, also ban fireworks, which generally means a quick trip up to New Hampshire. The National Fire Protection Association, as it has every year for the last few decades, is calling for a nationwide ban.
I often wonder what would happen if the sparkler, the least-impressive item in the Fourth of July arsenal, hadn't been invented until just this year. The minions of the Nanny State would go ballistic: "Are you out of your tiny little minds? You're going to set these on fire and then hand them to children? How cruel and heartless you must be." P. J. O'Rourke, now that I think about it, once said something similar about motorcycles, which are Generally Regarded As Scary among product-safety obsessives.
Personally, I'm inclined to throw my lot in with the Darwinists on this one: if you're stupid, you deserve the second-degree burns you're going to get. And make damn sure you don't point that stuff at my roof, wouldja please?