A Night of Civil Disobedience – You Too!

Baghdad, No. Belgrade, no. Washington DC, no. How about Tacoma, Washington State, USA? How about Oklahoma City, OK, Alexandria, VA and so on. Despite local newspaper reports that a fireworks ban is obviously working, I’m typing to the sounds of pop-pop-pop and see shells going off outside my window that are not part of the official fireworks, despite the threat of a US $257 fine (no idea where that number came from; it is the local fine). Right, Crackdown seems to quiet fireworks My summary on that is someone at the NewsTribune is taking drugs, or is doing a public service by hiding the facts.

Neighborhood fireworks apparently fizzled in Tacoma this holiday under the threat of a $257 fine.

Though citation statistics won’t be available until at least Thursday, Tacoma Police Department spokesman Mark Fulghum confirmed what your ears are telling you.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to says the same thing,” Fulghum said this evening. “It’s a lot quieter than it used to be.”
The city recently announced it would begin enforcing a new fireworks ordinance. Though fireworks have been banned in Tacoma since 1992, violators usually received a warning or lecture.

In a city surrounded by jurisdictions with legal fireworks, and Indian Reservations selling really neat fireworks (all legal under federal rules, and yes made in China), guess what, fireworks are available. Wow, those shells were really near. And fireworks are EVIL, just like Bush is EVIL.

This is a conflict of nannyism and reality. Why are fireworks evil? In an area with large rainfalls?

I agree fireworks in Southern CA are a dumb idea. Need to be banned.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. markm says:

    “The good stuff” is illegal here in Michigan too. We can drive to Ohio….or buy them in Michigan at a roadside stand if we really super promise to take them out of state. In all my years of buying and lighting fireworks I know of NOBODY that has ever gotten ticketed. Hmmph!

  2. just me says:

    Good stuff is illegal here, and I think there is even a City ordinance that you can’t shoot them off (tons of civil disobedience-I heard “Pop! Pop! Pop! Bang!” all night long.

    I can’t say that I know anyone-either as a child or an adult who was cited for a fireworks violation.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    How do you think the negative externalities of widespread fireworks usage should be handled?

  4. markm says:

    Negative externalities?

  5. John Burgess says:

    Dave: I put those negative externalities into the category of ‘bad luck’. The world can survive a few blown-off thumbs. The individual may regret the consequences, but life ain’t fair.

    For things like starting blazes or burning down buildings, then yes, law may have to trump stupidity.

    I actually don’t know what local ordinances are, but July 4 usually starts around July 1 and ends July 7 around here. Fireworks of different varieties are heard from dawn to the early morning hours. But perhaps I’m inured: The minor league baseball stadium a block away has fireworks a half-dozen times during the course of the summer and I just get used to my windows rattling.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Of the roughly 10,000 fireworks-related accidents annually about half are to kids under 15. Undoubtedly, some substantial proportion of those are to kids whose parents have no insurance. They go to the emergency room without insurance and all of our insurance premiums go up.

    Fire, destruction of property.

    I’m not arguing one way or another on the subject. I have no opinion. But there are negative externalities to be dealt with and it’s reasonable to think about how that should be done.

  7. Michael says:

    Losing a thumb will probably make you less likely to use fireworks in the future than getting a $250 fine, so I’m with John there. Sure it costs taxpayers money for the ER visit, but it’s not like it’s the only, or even the major, source of ER visits. It probably costs the average tax payer less than the $250 fine they themselves could get.

    As for fires and property damage, don’t we already have laws that cover this? Why would fire damage from fireworks be treated different from fire damage from cigarettes or matches?

    Sometimes letting a few bad things happen is overall better (and cheaper) than trying to prevent all bad things from happening.

  8. Alan Kellogg says:

    You know, since an outright ban isn’t working, maybe showing people how to safely use fireworks would. There would still be people getting themselves killed or injured, but we could always call this evolution in action.

    Or am I expecting to much initiative and wisdom from the emotionally insecure?