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Second thoughts about fireworks law

July 19, 2012
By Andy Heller , Daily Press

FLINT - You may have missed this one but in celebration of Michigan's new fireworks law a man in northern Michigan accidentally blew off one of his biscuits last week with a mortar shell. He apparently thought the shell was a dud and it went off when he checked on it, presumably turning himself into an instant tenor.

Several points/questions before we move on:

1) This happened in Acme Township, near Traverse City, which, as a fan of the Road Runner cartoons, is so ironic it hurts Acme being the name stamped on most of the coyote's death-dealing purchases, including explosives.

2) The guy checked on a dud? Good grief, man, do you also put your face down next to stray pit bulls and coo, "Who's a good boy?"

3) As someone on my Facebook page wrote, "I wonder if he said, 'Hey, fellas, watch this ...' just before it blew?" It's likely he did. Those words precede most mayhem.

4) Is this as other online friends asked another example of the Darwin principle at work?

If you're unfamiliar with the term, the Darwin principle refers to the

self-cleansing of the gene pool that sometimes occurs when people do dumb things. It's hard to argue that it doesn't apply here since and I'm repeating myself because it's just so unbelievable - the guy checked on a dud!

Everybody knows you don't do that. That's like checking on the villain in the movies after he's only been shot once. You know he's not dead. You know he's going to roll over and stab you once you draw near. So don't do it. Shoot him 12 more times THEN check on him. Sometimes the stupidity of people astounds me, and I say that as someone who regularly pushes on doors that say "pull." Then again, what'd we expect would happen when lawmakers dumped Michigan's age-old ban on what my teenage son calls "good fireworks" that injuries would go down?

We should be happy that they apparently didn't skyrocket, pun intended, although we don't know that for sure yet. I've only seen anecdotal hospital reports to date. My lack of faith in my fellow man tells me we may ultimately discover injuries were in fact up.

What we know for sure, though, is that a lot people, including public officials, aren't happy about the law. Grand Rapids, Warren, Ferndale, Novi, Birmingham and Royal Oak, to name a few, passed ordinances to keep people from using the

fireworks other than on the Fourth and nine other protected holidays and the days immediately before and after those holidays. Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, in fact, has called the law "an unmitigated disaster."

The noise has been unbelievable - morning, noon and night. Personal safety has been a concern, too. (I love bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers. But I don't trust anyone other than me firing them off near me.) The biggest issue, though, has been a complete lack of consideration. Fireworks users haven't seemed to care if they're bothering others.

That's why I wouldn't be surprised to see changes made. I get the sense many people who at first liked the law - including me - want this revisited pronto, and it looks like we'll get our way.

State Rep. Harold Haugh, D-Roseville - who wrote the law - wants his colleagues to rethink the thing. I hope they do.

Biscuits are a terrible thing to waste.


EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Visit his blog at



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