2012-07-19 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Time to legislate common sense


Phil Foley — Staff Writer Phil Foley — Staff Writer “Nothing says, ‘Let’s celebrate America!” quite like drinking beer and playing with explosives” read a recent post card from a friend of mine.

God help me, my first reaction was, “Oh, heck yes.”

Deep within most guys lives an eightyear old boy who wants nothing more than to run around blowing stuff up.

In the spirit of full disclosure, when I was 16 my buddies and I found my father’s 1923 high school chemistry book, which not only explained that most modern high explosives were nitrogen compounds but explained how to make them. My buddies and I merrily mixed up batches of explosives and set about making really big holes in pastures and transforming hollow trees and outhouses on abandoned farms into kindling.

By the end of that summer I realized what we were doing was at best dull-witted and at worst potentially fatal. Luckily our destructive little band made it through the summer without losing any body parts or encounters with the authorities.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

John Adams, wrote to his wife, saying Independence Day should be a celebration “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations.”

Americans have taken that to mean they should go out and blow stuff up. It is, after all, a god given right.

Well, sort of.

Every right has its limits and those limits are when the infringe on other’s rights.

We have a first amendment right to express ourselves, a right I hold particularly dear. However, I suspect that if you yell “Fire” in a crowded, dark theater or if you go down to the state capitol steps and urge the mob to drag your political foes out and kill’em, there will be more than a few folks who take a dim view of that.

The legislature lusting for the tax dollars flowing to points south, seemed to have forgotten that the state banned most private fireworks in the 1920s because they turned the place into a war zone. In Detroit alone, 69 Fourth of July fires were attributed to fireworks in 1926. The city banned the sale of fireworks after seven people died and 46 were injured in one holiday weekend, the youngesta21/2-year-oldboy.

So far this year fireworks have been connected to the destruction of a Catholic Church in Kentwood, 38- year-old Kalamazoo woman suffering severe facial burns and a

Taylor man blowing off half his hand and a Acme

Township man blowing off his genitals.

Perhaps some things should be left to the professionals. Instead of buying a box of firecrackers that might well take off your finger or put out your kid’s eye, maybe it’s better to donate that $20, $30 to your municipal or lake association fireworks display.

The other night Almont Village Council member Richard Lauer said, “You can’t legislate common sense.” I beg to differ. Common sense would say it’s a bad idea to drive 100 mph down I-69 with a bellyful of Jack Daniels.

While the legislature seems to have once again jumped on a bandwagon without getting a good look at where it was going, the majority of the Almont Village Council seem to be displaying some clearheadedness.

The council has voted to limit the use of fireworks to the 11 national holidays and the day either side of that where are “protected” by the state’s new fireworks law.

That gives the eight-year-olds in all of us 33 days to blow off their fingers and 332 nights to sleep for the rest of us.

Works for me!

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