Brain No Longer Finds Fireworks Fun
I remember having a certain talking point on the radio for years. Ever since I started on the air I've made no secret of my desire for the state of Iowa to legalize the use of fireworks. It seemed like Wisconsin and Missouri were having all the fun and we were being left out of our inalienable right to blow stuff up. Well, the old saying 'be careful what you wish for' certainly applies today.
Back when fireworks were illegal, there was a thrill to setting them off in Iowa. You were technically breaking the law. But in all my years of illegally setting them off, I'd never heard of someone getting ticketed for doing the same. It was a right of passage early each summer. We'd get a car full of friends, head for Wisconsin, buy a ton of fireworks and then bring them back to Iowa. Sure we were breaking the law, but the law didn't seem to care as long as you weren't a jerk when you set them off come July 4th. I have great memories of setting off 'illegal' fireworks out on my parent's farm, at friends houses, and yes, even at my home in Marion and at neighbors down the street. The cops never came. None of us were ever fined. It was FUN!
Then, the state of Iowa finally got their act together and realized the revenue that was leaving the state each summer. We finally got LEGAL fireworks! Admittedly, the first year of legal sales was a bit of a firestorm. Stores popped up all over the place looking to make a buck. And since they were legal Iowans shot them off ALL the time. ALL hours of the day. I will admit it that it was too much too soon. We were like any kid with a new toy. We simply couldn't get enough. But then cities overreacted. Some restricted the sale and use of fireworks. Some cities like Cedar Rapids, allow the sale but not the USE of fireworks. Good luck with that policy next week!
What SHOULD have happened was not the knee-jerk reaction so many went with. I get putting restrictions on where fireworks shops could go up and operate. But banning their use in some communities is just silly in my opinion. Communities should have realized that year one of legal sales was going to be a bit like the wild west. But each year the novelty would have grown less and less. Reputable stores would outlast pop up tents. And people who love fireworks like me would be the ones who more than likely would continue to set them off. Yes, you'd still have people taking advantage of the situation, but you will no matter the law.
I have yet to buy any fireworks this year. I'm not sure I will. The thrill is gone. Maybe they weren't all that fun in the first place. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I knew it was illegal. Sometimes giving the people what they want doesn't work out. But it might if you give them a chance to make it right. Will we give fireworks the chance?