Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pyrotechnic Time Again

It is the 5th of November and you can be guaranteed that kiwis all over the country will be out in force letting off a concoction of various pyrotechnic delights - aka fireworks.  I use the word 'delights' loosely and most definitely dependent on which side of the fireworks argument you sit.

I don't agree that every man, woman, and child should be allowed to buy any amount of fireworks once a year to let off to celebrate an outdated tradition.  One that dates back to a bygone age somewhere in history where some fella tried to blow up parliament in a country we don't even live in.   Whew.  That was a long sentence or two bordering on a rant.   I should elaborate.

Fireworks are dangerous.  They are the cause of many injuries, and fires which damage buildings and property all over the country.  It is a time of year dreaded by the fire departments across NZ.  The cost to our health care system and the cost to property is high.  I wonder if it is worth it.

Families that can least afford it spend mega amounts of money they don't have (yes that is a judgement call on my part - I admit it) to get a few minutes of pleasure from blowing stuff up.  It seems such a waste of money to me - its not even like they are that spectacular - poof, bang and blink, they are gone.

They are loud.  Not just a little loud but very loud.  It is noise pollution at its greatest and typically, I have noticed someone close will let off a whole tonne of them at the least appropriate moment - mainly when I am trying to listen to something else!  The inevitably wake up Squirt - at least now she is a bit older they don't scare her - but they do keep her awake.  That means a grumpy Squirt in the morning.  For that reason alone, we should ban them!

They scare cats and dogs.  Pets all around the country cower and flinch - and on occasion some of them are hurt, or worse, cruelly experimented on by psychopathic tormentors.

People stock pile them - so from the moment they go on sale, for at least two weeks afterwards, fireworks will be let off every night.  As a consequence, people will be driven crazy, making them wonder if their back yard will go up in flames from some stray explosive projectile.

But wait, theres more.  Then they will be let off again at Christmas and New Years to continue the torment.  Only it will be worse because the likelihood of the person letting them off being a little under the weather from too many 'lemonades' is higher.

It seems I am not the only 'fireworks grinch'.  If Facebook is any indication of things, a lot of people really don't like them.  There are more posts of people who are saying they are 'over' the suburban pyrotechnic displays than I can count.   I notice the local news reports this year are calling for banning the average person from buying them.  Aussie banned then a long time ago.   Maybe it is time to have a real public debate on this

Now, don't get me wrong.   I understand it has been a kiwi tradition since forever, and I recall many bonfires and firework displays as a child, all of which I loved at the time.   And, who doesn't love sparklers?  Fairly innocent things sparklers, for the most part, I would have thought.

However, there is nothing more satisfying that a really really good public fireworks display, where you get to see proper fireworks that fill the night with magic and beauty.   I am all for public displays that are accessible and open for everyone.

In the meantime, this 'fireworks grinch' will sit and watch the pretty fireworks being let off by all the neighbours.  I will be crossing my fingers in the hopes that a stray one doesn't land on our roof, or frighten our animals, and I will be content they have cost me nothing.

On the bright side (pun intended) -
tonight its raining heavily and mother nature is supplying her own display of fireworks.  This will at least keep the fire hazards down and dampen the enthusiasm of those setting the fireworks off.   Lets hope its a big fireworks fizzer!
Please NB:  These pictures were taken from the the public display at last years Christmas in the Park, and as a consequence, no backyards or family pets were harmed in the process!!

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