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I hope the city's announced crackdown on fireworks this holiday season does some good. Not that I'm an anti-fireworks fanatic. I was a serial offender myself for many years, blowing off fireworks in my front and back yards, in the alley, in the street, on the McKinley School playground, etc.

My conversion to a law-abiding citizen came with the acquisition, some five years ago, of an extremely skittish dog. No, not skittish, just super-sensitive to loud noises, even distantly heard loud noises. The sound of trains being coupled eight or nine blocks from our house sends her under the bed in the far corner of the house, where she whimpers for a while before daring to come back out.

When I think of all the dogs I must have terrorized in pursuit of the cheap thrill of fireworks, I am seriously embarrassed and ashamed. I will be doing part of my atonement again this 4th of July, when I stay home and comfort my tranquilized hound.

And by the way, Police Chief Rich St. John, in the article referenced above, refers to sparklers and dry-ice bombs as "PEDs --- pyrotechnic explosive devices." Did he make that up, obviously thinking of the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) causing such havoc in Iraq? I was reminded of "intermittent explosive disorder," which was in the news a few weeks ago. Could that be a defense in a fireworks case? "I'm sorry your honor. I made a PED because I suffer from IED."

Anyway, good luck to the cops.

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