When Fireworks Don’t Work

The Fourth of July is coming, along with all the traditions that make the holiday so immediately memorable, especially to children. There are barbecues, gatherings of friends and family, and of course, fireworks. I love fireworks as much as the next guy, probably a little more, but I’m not ignorant of the risk involved.

On Sunday, the Denver Police Department found a huge cache of what they are referring to as a “recreational explosives” in Denver. They found an entire garage full of fireworks, describing it as equivalent in danger to having a meth lab next door.

Without getting into the wisdom and worth of a fireworks ban, it is worth noting simple facts. These are explosives, as such, they are dangerous. When they explode in the sky, they are beautiful and awe inspiring. When they explode on the ground, they start fires. When they explode next to a person, they cause injuries.

I will never forget one Fourth a few years back, I was on the beach in Malibu with some friends watching a local resident fire fireworks off a cliff on his property. We, and the hundred or so spectators who had gathered to watch this impromptu celebration, were all appreciative of his effort.

Until the fireworks started a fire on the hill side.

This Fourth of July, be safe, be aware, and have fun.

Nathan T. Swanson
Summer Intern
JD Candidate, 2009
University of Denver