George Graham

Ban the Rocket’s Red Glare!




The cats seem to have survived last night’s barrage, and Sandra and I are still standing – groggily – this morning. But I am not a happy camper. The rocket’s red glare lit up the sky above our Lakeland, Florida home for most of the night, and the rockets’ racket was unbearable. Our windowpanes rattled, and Sandra kept peeking between the drapes to see if our roof was on fire.

We have the misfortune of living a hundred yards or so from a marina, and patriots apparently favor the waterfront for the revelries. I guess they enjoy seeing the fireworks reflected in the water. I bet the fish, frogs and waterbirds don’t share their pleasure.

To make our Fourth of July ordeal even more unpleasant, the baseball stadium (where the Tigers spend their winter months) is across Lake  Gibson from us, and that’s a prime location for assaults on the heavens. Another favored site last night was a meadow beside the church next door.

Now I know how those people in the war torn Mideast must feel.

I suppose I once thought fireworks were fun. But that was a long time ago. I no longer marvel at the tall ships or delight in the multicolored star bursts. As for those awful firecrackers, how could I have enjoyed setting them off during my childhood? I must have been an obnoxious child.

So when the right-wing conspiracy nuts tell me President Obama is coming for my fireworks, I am not dismayed, I am overjoyed.

Unfortunately, the rumor is just another of their canards. According to an article by Lindsay Abrams in this morning’s, the President has no designs on Fourth of July festivities despite plans to expand the scope of  the Clean Water Act.

Ms. Abrams assures the patriots that:

The EPA isn’t coming for your fireworks. No one is coming for your fireworks, unless your fireworks are illegal. But maybe they should.

Apparently, my distaste for fireworks is not unique. Ms. Abrams, for one, thinks they should be banned. And she has a strong case. The article points out that fireworks poison the environment and can cause fires. Not only that, but they are loud enough to damage the hearing of children, arouse sleeping birds and send them crashing into buildings, and make animals (such as our cats!) “freak out.”

Ms. Abrams also reminds her readers that “people are idiots” and cannot be trusted to handle fireworks safely. She writes:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission just released its annual tally of everything that went wrong in 2013. In the U.S., it found, fireworks were associated with eight deaths and about 11,400 injuries — 65 percent of which were associated with the 30-day period surrounding Independence Day…

Most of this can be avoided by leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals, but major accidents have been known to happen at public shows, too. Just remember, it’s only fun until someone blows him or herself up.

Amen to that, Ms. Abrams. I hope someone is listening. Perhaps President Obama should come for their fireworks after all.

Click for Lindsay Abrams’ article.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for