Apparently I can’t buy fireworks here in Massachusetts because I’m going to blow myself up.
Perhaps before I was born in 1972 there was a rash of human explosions, but no matter how far back I look, I can’t find even one death by firework in Massachusetts. In a new report released this month by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, only eight people died in the United States in 2013 in incidents involving fireworks, none of them were in Massachusetts. Half of them were in Virginia where fireworks are illegal.
According to the National Weather Service, twenty three people died from being struck by lightning that same year. That means you had a 288% better chance of getting killed by lightning than dying by fireworks that year.
But let’s take a closer look at those unfortunate eight people who died in 2013:
- Two people in Arkansas were taking fireworks apart inside a building, while they were smoking, and lit the building on fire. They succumbed to the fire.
- One guy in South Carolina, while drinking, decided to open up a big mortar shell with a knife, held it up to his chest, and lit it on his enclosed porch. He died of the resulting explosion after he made the firework unsafe.
- A guy in Virginia was also performing surgery on fireworks, while smoking of course, and lit his house on fire. He and another woman died in the fire.
- Another guy in Virginia sat inside his trailer filled with fireworks, gunpowder, and other chemicals, cutting fireworks apart and trying to make new ones when he blew himself up.
- A dude in Virginia set up a large PVC pipe on the beach, put a shell into it, and then placed his face over the pipe while he lit it.
- A different dude in Michigan did that, too.
That’s all eight of them! There isn’t one story of someone dying by using fireworks responsibly, or being near people using fireworks responsibly. Every story reads like entries to the 2013 Darwin Awards.
Apparently, your risk of firework death goes up in direct proportion to your level of stupid.
The year before only six people died from fireworks accidents, all of them from being stupid. Of course there were twenty eight deaths from lightning strikes that year, too. Yep, in 2012 if you went outside to light off a skyrocket, there was a 467% greater chance of getting killed by a bolt of lightning.
I can’t stand when lawmakers try to protect me from being stupid by passing laws prohibiting things. You know, for about sixty years here in Massachusetts it was illegal to own a ferret, because they were dangerous. Yes, ferrets were illegal. Then in 1995 it became legal to own one. Do you know how many ferret maulings there have been since? None.
Legalize my damned fireworks, please!