The thermometer said 107 degrees Wednesday around 4:15 p.m. as I was getting ready to head to the park for the city’s 4th of July extravaganza. Although I was looking forward to the show and hanging out with my friends, I truthfully did not want to go. The heat was just too oppressive. I finally pushed myself out the door and hoped my heart would calm down – in this kind of heat, it was racing after just a few steps.
When I reached the park, I found a nice shady spot under a tree and rested. I looked around and saw balloon animals, face painting, a gigantic Connect Four game, some people politicking, jumpie bouncies, the Box 100 crew, a couple of shaved ice stations, ice cream, and hamburgers cooking. Finally around 6:00 or so, a big storm threatened the city. Giant clouds rolled in and the hot desert air that assaulted our faces even when the wind blew suddenly cooled down. 20 degrees was all it took for me to unfold my limbs and take a walk around the football field.
The grass on the field was amazing. Green, soft. What a nice change from the crunch, hard grass we’re used to walking on in this drought. I saw a lot of very happy children. I saw smiling adults who talked and laughed. I listened to music (Loved Missy Garnett & Six Pack Pretty for singing Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll”). Then the lights went out and within 30 seconds we started seeing a magnificent, spectacular fireworks show! Here’s my favorite picture lifted from the city’s facebook page.
But this one is also pretty fabulous.
The city planned a very nice event – free and open to the public. All of our elected officials were there. There were at least three people campaigning for elections – from alderman to state representative. This was a great substitute for not being able to shoot our own personal fireworks since we have the fireworks ban, a ban in place to keep people and property safe from the dangers of out-of-control fires sparked by a wayward bottle rocket.
Yet before we were even able to leave the park, we saw fireworks going off all around us. I saw somewhere that there were only eight officers replying to nearly 300 calls. So that would be 37.5 calls per officer last night. And that’s just fireworks. Imagine also answering traffic calls, domestic calls, and who-knows-what-else calls. Perhaps 40 calls in one night total?
The good news is that there were FAR FAR fewer fireworks than normal for this time of year. The bad news? There were fireworks still going off with a burn ban and fireworks ban in place. I’ve seen people say the city could have done a better job putting up signs and posters. However, I suggest there may not have been enough time to get signs made. Some have said the city should have shut down fireworks stands. While I “get” this line of thinking, I would NOT want to see a business close or go bankrupt because the city issued them a permit, they bought their products to sell, and then the city said, “Nevermind. You can’t now.” That would be unjust and cruel, really. And my guess is that the city would probably face some ugly lawsuits over that.
This was a no-win situation for everyone. Ban fireworks. Make people angry. Hurt businesses. Get criticized for not banning sales. Ban sales. Cause someone to lose their livelihood through job loss or businesses closing doors.
Meanwhile, we are still hearing fireworks. I have to ask you La Vergne, are the people lighting fireworks just selfish – their own desire to blow up things and see pretty lights takes precedence over lives and property? Or are they just stupid? I say shame on the people who have set off fireworks if they knew they were banned. And greater shame on the jerks who were told in person by police and fire to stop, waited for them to disappear and then went back to lighting them. Your arrogance and narrow-minded behavior could get someone killed. You really are a piece of work.
What do you think? OPEN THREAD FRIDAY.