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On Bryce’s Mind

By Staff | Apr 5, 2013

We at “On Bryce’s Mind” love fireworks. By fireworks we don’t mean snakes and sparklers, nor do we mean snaps and firecrackers. We really mean the big stuff; artillery shells, fountains, heck if there was a combo of the two we would be on that like over 2 billion people on a McDonalds sign. There are times we wish we could light them off at our leisure, or use them to make celebrations, or regular occurrences more epic than they usually are. A birthday celebration for Grandma, or even the most boring of meetings could probably use a pyrotechnic display. Open a box on Christmas to find the blandest of sweaters? BAM! A shower of colorful sparkers just made opening that present a memorable experience. Plus why should all the big cities have all the fun when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve? Such a celebration merits colorful explosions in the sky, even if it may seem like a weird time to do it, or if it may be against the law.

Last week, in the midst of personhood and abortion bills and resolutions, the North Dakota Senate passed a bill (HB 1259), by a narrow 24-23 margin, which would revise Subsection 2 of Section 23-15-01 of the North Dakota Century Code. It would keep the dates fireworks were to originally be sold, June 27-July 5, and add another week on to that, December 26-January 1. In a YouTube video of the debate on the bill, posted by Say Anything Blog, District 33 Senator Jessica Unruh (R-Beulah) had said that some concerns were expressed in committee, including the potential for fires, injury and people being annoyed, and that the Committee on Industry, Business and Labor voted, 5-2, and gave the bill a “do pass” recommendation. District 32 Senator Dick Dever (R.Bismarck) brought up a concern about heaters being used in tents and sheds where fireworks may be sold. District 2 Senator John Andrist (R-Crosby) said that he has heard complaints from many elderly constituents about noise in the week leading up to the 4th of July, and that this bill has another side that needs to be explained.

While having fireworks on New Years sounds cool, there are some cons to it. So if these are the side or sides that Andrist said needs to be explained, we at OBM will be happy to do so.

First, aside from last year’s fluke, North Dakota from December to March (with some exceptions) is not exactly the warmest of places. As smokers can attest, lighting a cigarette when there’s wind is a bit of a challenge. (We at OBM don’t smoke, but we can’t imagine being out there in subzero temps to get a nicotine fix.) And a cigarette burns, on average, anywhere from 2-7 minutes. Now imagine trying to light, in the wind and cold, something with a fuse that burns from 2-7 seconds. Without burning yourself.

Second, all it takes is one goof, one moment of immaturity, one huge error, and any horrible thing could happen; a building gets set on fire, or someone gets disfigured and/or killed. This could happen at any time of year, and even with fireworks.

Third, Dever is right to be concerned about portable heaters. If used incorrectly, or if they’re not functioning properly, they could become fire hazards. One spark in a structure full of fireworks, well you, Tribune reader, get the idea. Fires and explosions.

Fourth, no sane, rational person wants to stand out in the cold for long periods of time for ANYTHING. Even that in and of itself is dangerous, what with hypothermia and frostbite.

Committees in the Legislature may have tried to consider possible options, but we still think that while selling fireworks and lighting them off on New Year’s may be novel idea. Just think of the businesses and sales that could crop up. But it’s also not all that great of an idea when you take the seasons, and the possibility of injury, into account. If someone wanted fireworks for New Year’s, then perhaps they should’ve bought fireworks in June/July and rationed them out, or the Legislature/local governments should allow fireworks to be bought/sold all year round, but place restrictions on when they can be lit at certain times of the year (other than July), and for what purpose (other than celebration).

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