The story about the fireworks bill on the way to Gov. Mark Dayton has struck a chord with several MPR readers. Some of them favor allowing the sale of big fireworks to people. Some are steadfastly opposed, but all of the responses involve some “fireworks memory” of a previous time.
Joan Wilson’s story, however, was particularly compelling. The Edina resident grew up in Loveland, Ohio, near a fireworks factory, she says.
My grandmother ran a daycare on their home on 10 rural acres just outside Loveland, and I spent most of my days there because my mother worked at Grandma’s Daycare. There was an 8 acre stand of trees behind their home, and the infamous shacks of the “fireworks factory” were on the other side of a chain link fence behind our woods. Every so often (at least 4 times in 10 years)the fireworks factory would explode, and for about 3 to 5 days after each “accident”, we were all confined to the house while a team of local volunteers would scour the area for a half mile in every direction, cleaning up body parts and un-exploded materials that rained down on the nearby residential areas. My Grandfather would stay home from work on these days so that he could help with the cleanup. I recall him coming home and vomiting extensively, whil e crying, trying to tell my grandmother about the human remains that were hanging from trees and littered about the ground. The explosions were never mentioned in the local paper, and the workers, mostly undocumented, were forgotten and replaced by the next batch of disposable workers/victims. Even as a child, I felt the true cost of our “fun” was not worth the cost in human lives and misery, and I have never been able to understand our need for such dangerous and polluting chicanery.
Supporters of the fireworks bill see it as a “freedom” issue. If people want to get hurt with fireworks, they should have the right to get hurt with fireworks.
“We need to start treating people like responsible adults and quit babysitting them,” Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, the bill’s sponsor said.