Published DateTo the editor,
Every year — as the weather goes from ice and storm to nice and warm — a familiar fear creeps into my life. Seems like every weekend (and holiday) we hear boom boom boom — the sound of people setting off fireworks in my neighborhood. And for us, with it comes visions of houses in flames, forest fires, blown-off body parts and now, the much more horrible bombing with home-grown explosives.
Ironically, while people cry out for stricter gun control, who'd a thunk that all someone would need is a pressure cooker and some shells from their local fireworks store. . . that some cash and a little know how (which can be found on the Internet) would establish a new breeding ground for "do it yourself" terrorists!
Why would anyone risk their life going through a school shooting everyone in sight? Now they can just get their supplies from one of the many fireworks stores (which are almost as plentiful and accessible as a Walgreen's chain), build a home made bomb, plant it and blow it up! In my community alone, there are two ginormous fireworks stores not more than about 10 miles from each other. And you can bet they don't check anybody's background as they purchase their "supplies"
Today anybody can be a fireworks "expert" Only problem is — do they know what they are doing? We've heard fireworks going off during severe droughts — when everything is potential tinder. We have heard them fired during heavy winds — when one spark can fly and devastate someone's property. We actually saw someone blow off three of their fingers with a cherry bomb and while attending a barbecue one July 4th, we saw a misdirected rocket hit someone's head — even as they watched from a "safe" distance away. And I don't even want to think about the back yard Joe who looks to introduce his children into the "art" of pyrotechnics with some "hands on" experience. Talk about the blind leading the blind. For us, we don't care HOW careful he is being — when dealing with pyrotechnics, you care dealing with EXPLOSIVES and so you can't ever be careful enough.
Then, of course, is the scarier alternative — a person who DOES know what to do with all those incendiary supplies. We are talking about shells and gunpowder here folks — that's why it can make such a loud BOOM... and such a lethal home-made bomb!
During the Boston Marathon bombing, I heard the term "stay safe" being bandied about. If we are going to try to control fire power, why don't we start with restricting the unlimited supply of shells, gunpowder and other incendiary items that can be found at our friendly, local and tax-free fireworks stores. Better yet, if we truly wish to "stay safe", why don't we start by restricting purchase and use of fireworks to licensed professionals and the display of fireworks to public places only. If this had been the law in the first place, perhaps all those lives would not have been destroyed.
The door has been opened - people know how to do this now. And so it might be a good idea not to wait too long before we do something about it!
T.K. & Bill Whalen