July 3, 2004

QUEST FOR FIREWORKS: When I was a kid, I read a book (already old by then) called Henry Reed’s Journey. Reed is a boy who, on a cross-country drive, is trying to buy fireworks, but they turn out to be illegal almost everywhere he goes. As I noted back when InstaPundit was new, it’s a sort of metaphor for creeping nanny-statism in America, and Reed’s wry commentary now seems prophetic.

That seems to be changing, though. Fireworks have always been a booming business around here, but there are more and bigger stores, catering largely to tourists passing through from less-enlightened regions. And my sense is that there’s a bit less hostility to the idea of fireworks in general. I hope so. Yeah, fireworks can be dangerous. But so can lots of things. A bit of danger is part of life, as is learning how to handle dangerous things without being hurt. If you celebrate the Fourth with fireworks, I hope you do so safely. But also loudly.

Celebrating with one of these, however, would be amusing:

Some Americans this Fourth of July plan to get a bang out of blowing Osama bin Laden’s head off. The bin Laden Noggin, a cone-shaped pyrotechnic device with a cartoon of bin Laden’s face, has been a hot seller at some fireworks stores around the country. When lit, the bin Laden cone erupts in blood-red flames and screeches for 60 seconds. Two shots blow his head off.

It is part of an Exploding Terrorists Heads four-pack that also includes Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Moammar Gadhafi.

Of course, not everyone is happy:

Lisa Myer of Papillion was appalled when she heard about the fireworks while shopping for smoke bombs and sparklers for her son.

“What are we trying to teach our children?” she asked.

I’ll bet Henry Reed could answer that question.

UPDATE: Yep, I did this, too. But we wore shop goggles for safety. Meanwhile, Michael Ubaldi is unconcerned about creeping nannyism:

If Nanny is wrapping her arms around the 4th on paper, she’s accomplished nothing in practical terms. Fireworks are strictly regulated in Ohio but every Independence Day evening, as long as I’ve lived, I’ve heard and seen the incendiary stuff going off in every direction.

People have been testing their kits out around here for weeks. Given the day in question, I kind of like the irony.


ANOTHER UPDATE: SKBubba, proud owner of a Nikon D70, offers fireworks photos taken at the Alcoa, TN duck pond last night. Very nice!

MORE: Dean Peters is collecting fireworks related blog posts. And reader Bradley Ems emails with these thoughts in response to the photograph above:

How much have I dropped in your state at the Tennessee-Alabama fireworks stands on I-24 outside of Chattanooga on our pilgrimages to Atlanta and Florida? I shudder to think. Best damn fireworks stores in the US.

Tennessee — exporting liberty!

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