The Rocket’s Red Glare…

If you’re reading this column then congratulations for surviving another Fourth of July holiday!

According to an article in Newsweek which cites data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an average 230 fireworks-related injuries near and on the 4th of July.

There was a death in Billings. The Billings Gazette reports that a 32 year-old man was hit by a mortar round and killed in what was called a “horrible” fireworks accident.

Probably the most publicized death this year was the 22-year-old man from Maine, who tried to fire a mortar off the top of his head and was killed when it ignited. Reports say he had been drinking…

Locally, the Great Falls Tribune reported that Great Falls firefighters responded to 51 fire calls in a 24-hour period beginning on the Fourth of July and ending at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

Great Falls Battalion Chief Bob Shupe put it all in perspective when he told the Tribune that it’s only a matter of time before the misuse of fireworks in the city causes a major problem.

I think Shupe is on to something. Officials need to give the current fireworks rules some serious attention.

In the middle of “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” evening it kind of reminded me of Lt. Col. Hal Moore from the movie “We Were Soldiers.” Moore and his men were being overrun. He was talking to his superiors and was asked to assess the situation. Moore said, “It’s getting pretty sporty down here, sir!”

I stayed home for most of the evening. As it grew darker, I sprayed my home, garage, and yard with water just in case. Someone down the street from my home was firing off mortars every few minutes throughout the night. They reminded me of my military days when we used flares to illuminate dark areas. They did not sound legal. They freaked out my dog no matter which part of the house she hid in. They freaked me out, too.

When the weather front moved through and the winds kicked up to 45 mph, the “scholar” down the street was bound and determined to fire everything in his/her arsenal before it rained. That’s when it got a little “sporty” because the mortars went up a few feet and then went sideways.

God Bless America…

## END ##