Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Community News Network

July 4, 2014

Happy birthday, America. Now legalize fireworks.

I grew up with a responsible, safety-conscious firefighter father. And plenty of fireworks.

It didn't take long to learn which of those forces had the upper hand. One Fourth of July, we almost destroyed our garage trying to set off fireworks in the rain. A rocket went awry, and we were chased down the street by red, white and blue sparks. It was awesome.

Through the smoke of Roman candles and bottle rockets, the absurdity of Americans' obsession with do-it-yourself explosives is nonetheless clear: One day each year, we gather with neighbors, friends and loved ones to blow stuff up in our backyards. Go, U.S.A.!

Well, almost all of us. New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Massachusetts ban the sale and use of fireworks. Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Ohio and Vermont allow only "novelty" -- nonexplosive, nonaerial -- fireworks. (If you can find "novelty" in fireworks that don't fly and don't explode, you have a lower threshold for entertainment than I have.) The rest, including Washington, D.C., allow some or all types of consumer fireworks, which are regulated nationally by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July isn't just fun; it's patriotic. Fireworks are part of an American tradition extending back to the "rocket's red glare" of the country's founding. By 1783, fireworks were available to the public in Philadelphia.

More firework sales mean more revenue in taxes and fees for states. Since 2000, 11 states have eased restrictions on fireworks. Michigan has collected about $2 million more in taxes and fees each year since loosening its rules in 2012. In 2013, U.S. consumers lit up more than 160 million pounds of decorative fireworks, seven times the amount used in display shows, spending $662 million in the process, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. The majority of that spending -- about 90 percent in 2012 -- goes to Fourth of July celebrations.

Not everyone loves the flashing red lights, however. The National Fire Protection Association and the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks seek to educate consumers about the dangers of fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the month around July 4, about 240 people go to the emergency room daily due to fireworks injuries. There were at least eight fireworks-related deaths and 11,400 injuries in 2013. Sparklers caused 31 percent of the injuries, so maybe don't hit your sister with a stick that can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit while emitting colorful sparks.



 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014