No Such Thing As Freedom Without Risk

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.

One comment

  1. I can’t make up my mind about the most appropriate word that fits this argument: mundane, trite, or insipid. Banning fireworks is neither infantile nor petty. Each July 4, I wince throughout the evening, hoping that fireworks ignited in east Anaheim by patriotic voters with good sense and who value freedom will not cause a major fire.

    Because these same patriots have blatantly disregarded the ban on fireworks for many years, it makes no sense to reward their irresponsible and illegal behavior by approving the very activity they so callously disregarded. “The freedom of Americans to celebrate their liberty and independence” by lighting fireworks is not an acceptable quid pro quo for homeowners observing charred remains of their lives. These same patriots are too young to remember the $2,200,000 fire in Anaheim in 1986 resulting from fireworks.

    The problem of illegal fireworks is not diminished by their ban–but neither does their approval diminish the danger of potential fires. One devastating fire would end this lackluster argument–and the political career of Mayor Tait: “This is something I think that the people want.”

    The people also want a deal with Arte Moreno to keep the Angels, expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center, and new GardenWalk hotels to increase the balance in the city treasury. I’m looking for a yes vote from the mayor on all three measures the next time they come before the council.

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