july 4 fireworks patrioticThe OC Register published an article yesterday about the sale and use of fireworks in Orange County. Eight cities permit safe-and-sane fireworks: Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Buena Park, Villa Park, Westminster and Stanton. Anaheim will join those ranks next year.

The article re-hashes the usual arguments about legalized fireworks: safety versus community group fundraising. Getting short-shrift is the more important consideration: the freedom of Americans to celebrate their liberty and independence with the centuries-old tradition of lighting fireworks.

As Mayor Tom Tait put it when voting to place Measure E on the June ballot:

This is something I think that the people want. I think it is a good thing. It brings people together on the 4th of July, it brings neighborhoods together and it is something that I wholeheartedly support.

Yes, even there is risk of injury involved with the use of safe-and-sane fireworks once a year to celebrate Independence Day. There is also risk of injury involved with using a table saw or chopping onions or using household cleaning chemicals. We risk death every time we get in our cars or walk across a busy street or die a horse. No one suggests banning table saws or horse riding.

Banning safe-and-sane fireworks does not ban fireworks. As Garden Grove City Manager Matt Fertal pointed out in the article, every city has a problem illegal fireworks – a problem that isn’t diminished by banning safe-and-sane fireworks.

Anaheim voters had the good sense to value freedom, tradition and good sense rather than listen to voices that would infantilize us by continuing a petty ban against individuals and neighbors coming together to celebrate their freedom.