Bottle rockets, pipe dreams fizzle thanks to veto

By CHRIS HAMBLE – Gazette Columnist

Well, we almost did it. We almost brought the fun back to the Fourth of July.

A bill to bring back the "good" fireworks, even for a limited time, saw bipartisan support in both the state House and Senate, but Gov. Mark Dayton, spurred on by the bane of every U.S. citizen and the enemies of common sense, the "special interest groups" and "experts," decided to veto the bill.

Needless to say, I’m not happy. And while I respect the office of the governor, I must say it is not without its bone-headed moments, and this happens to be one of them. Why am I so angry? Is it some selfish need to blow stuff up? Partially, but I have many other, more important reasons to be irked at the veto. Here are a few on them, conveniently condensed for your reading pleasure.

Jobs

In this time of economic uncertainty, even a part-time, seasonal job would be of great help to those of us out here willing to work. With more legalized fireworks, what a great opportunity to get out there and work. Sure, the month or so they would be available wouldn’t bring in enough to live the rest of the year on, but that extra money could go a long way to help out those who are struggling paycheck-to-paycheck.

What a Bonehead move. Targeting a specific business and telling them what they can sell, then telling them another product exactly the same as the other stuff you are selling, is not legal. The only thing that does is hurt the business owner and the people they employ. Or would have employed had they been able to expand. It’s a good thing places like Stillwater aren’t like that …

Money

People are going to buy the "illegal" fireworks anyway. Let’s be honest here. The Fourth of July is a celebration of America’s freedom, and it’s more than a little ironic that we continue to lose more freedom in regards to how we celebrate that day.

Long story short, people are proud of their country, and are going to celebrate accordingly. And in doing so, Wisconsin is going to make a killing in extra tax revenue that could have been used in this state. But that is what you get when you say this item is illegal, but these other things that are just as dangerous, but just don’t "seem" as bad are legal.

The money leaves to the surrounding states and communities, and you are stuck penniless. Again, I’m glad they don’t do these kind of boneheaded things in Stillwater. I mean, it’s nice to live in a town where, if I’m out of stogies, I can go buy a tobacco pipe, and not have to travel a few scant minutes out of my way to a surrounding community, and continue to kill myself slowly and flavorfully. Right?

Safety

Blah blah, "safety," blah blah, "blow your hand off," blah blah blah. I don’t care. I don’t.

I don’t mean to sound heartless, but more people die from auto accidents each year than from fireworks. shall we outlaw vehicles, too?

Are fireworks dangerous? Yeah, so what? You aren’t selling them to minors, and last I checked, adults claim to be mature enough to handle things such as exploding gunpowder.

It’s not my problem, and look on the bright side. They are keeping doctors and ambulance drivers employed, so, it’s not really a bad thing after all. Sure, a few people might get hurt, but they could get hurt with a sparkler, too.

Making the big ones illegal is kind of like making certain tobacco pipes illegal because some idiots use them for nefarious means. Sure, you could rig up a two-liter bottle, or even and apple, to be a pipe, but dang it, if I want to enjoy my sweet, sweet Cavendish, I want to use a pipe. And even though it looks like something out of Sherlock Holmes (the greatest pipe-smoker ever,) I can’t pick it up because it’s made of ceramic, which is cheaper than real hardwood. Which I would buy, but I’m dirt poor. Besides, it’s not like I live in a town that would let that happen. right?

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.

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