Don’t Forget the Children
Do you remember when you were a kid? A long time ago for some of us but think back a little. What got you really excited? Well, Christmas did for many of us, no matter our religion. We still believed in Santa Claus and the anticipation of what was left for us in our stockings and under the tree, built to a crescendo over many weeks. Fireworks were special too; at New Years, Victoria Day, Canada Day and Thanksgiving. We would often gather as families on these special occasions and fireworks, sometimes at a community event and sometimes in our back yard or on the beach, were always a climax to a glorious day. Those were some of the happy times I remember.
Now some people in Huntsville want to ban fireworks. To that I say, bah, humbug!
At a committee meeting of Huntsville Council recently some Councillors raised the spectre of prohibiting fireworks, some altogether and others on residential properties. Reasons given for this were danger, the environment and the effect on wild- life and dogs. Let’s examine these one at a time.
There is always a risk of danger in almost everything we do, whether it is driving a car, walking across the road, running in a race or lighting fireworks. Common sense applies to all of this and more, but we are allowed to take risks. It is not the job of government at any level, to protect us from ourselves. As for danger to others, when it comes to fireworks, there has of course, been the odd accident. But reports of serious incidents caused by fireworks on special holidays are few and far between.
As for the environment, that has become the catchword of the century. If you want to put another rule in place, blame it on the environment. Almost everything relates to our environment, one way or another and to different levels of effect. There is almost nothing one can do, that someone or some organization will not find to be detrimental to our environment and fireworks are no exception. However, I can find no empirical evidence that this has been a particular problem around here, certainly not to the extent of an environmental emergency. There are, in my view, many other things that we do, that would rate much higher, in terms of harming our environment.
I do empathize with people who are concerned about frightening wild- life and domestic pets. Noise does affect animals as it sometimes does humans. But unwelcome and disturbing noise; thunder, lightning, gunshots, backfires, is part of their lives as it is ours. Wild-life know how to be wary of unexpected activity and domestic pets have their humans to comfort them. Fireworks a few times a year, will not add significantly to their discomfort.
There is an economic side to this as well. A favorite place for many people to let off fireworks is at their cottage. We have literally thousands of cottages in the Huntsville area and most of them buy their celebratory fireworks here. It is unfair to them and to the merchants who sell to them, to ban fireworks without a really legitimate reason.
I sometimes wonder if we forget when we were young, when awe at things beyond our imagination was rare and magical when it happened. Fireworks, at least for me was one of those times. I still enjoy them. Perhaps, as we get older, we forget how important the joys of childhood are. Sometimes we go to bed before the fireworks start and get grumpy when we are awakened to the bright light and loud bangs. Sometimes that happens to me, but then, I remember.
I also worry about the growing trend of Governments telling us what we can and cannot do. While the potential banning of fireworks is hardly an earth- shattering issue, it is an important one, because it is one more signal, albeit, a small one, of government controlling our lives, limiting our freedoms and turning society into one big common denominator of political correctness. That is not something I support.
Fireworks are a part of our national life. They are not trivial. Handled properly, they are not harmful, and they serve an important celebratory role on certain occasions. I am not sure why this is ending up on our Council table at this point in time, although one could guess. It may well be the politically correct thing to do, but it is not the right thing to do.
Please, remember the joy of childhood. Remember that life is worth celebrating. Let the fireworks begin!
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