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home : opinion : letters to the editor April 24, 2015

7/11/2013 10:57:00 AM
Fireworks

Editor, Times-Union:
I was going to write something up for the newspaper about fireworks when I read this blog. He says it masterfully.  Here was my response to the author:
Thank you for putting words to my frustration. As a small government person – not quite libertarian – I was almost afraid to let those words come out of my mouth. This year was absolutely awful. We live dead center in the middle of town, and I nearly sent my husband to our roof to hold a garden hose. The war raged on until about 3 a.m. No one slept for about five days straight. Great piece Scott.
Blog by Scott Tibbs at conservatibbs.com
As a philosophical libertarian, I do not believe government should be protecting adults from themselves. So long as people are only harming themselves, government should generally not prohibit behaviors we see as “risky” or we personally dislike.
When government needs to step in is when the behavior of one person harms or unnecessarily endangers another person. That is why we have laws against drunk driving, because operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated endangers those around you and therefore violates their rights.
This is where our laws about fireworks come in. Matt Tully had a well-researched article last month about fireworks laws and the influence of fireworks industry lobbyists, and why the trajectory has been toward a more laissez-faire approach to fireworks laws.
The right of one person to set off fireworks should end when it endangers the lives or property of someone else. Specifically, allowing people to shoot explosives high into the air in a residential neighborhood is an invitation to disaster. All it would take is one rocket that does not explode in the air as it is supposed to and instead explodes after it lands on someone’s roof to cause immense property damage and potentially cause serious injuries or even fatalities.
More to the point, the absolute right to set off fireworks around the Fourth of July and New year’s Eve is absurd, especially in severe drought conditions like we had in the summer of 2012. We should trust local governments to know what is best for their communities and enforce local bans when appropriate, even around July Fourth. It is insane to not allow local governments to protect public safety in a situation like that. This should be repealed.
Let’s not completely ruin everyone’s fun. We all like to celebrate events like the Fourth of July. But we need to have common sense laws that protect public safety, as we do with drunk driving. The legislature should tighten the restrictions on what fireworks can be sold in Indiana, since making people promise to use them elsewhere is absurd.
The first place to start is with fireworks that launch high into the air, which should only be used by people with a license in a designated safe zone. That, and allowing local government to ban fireworks use when necessary, are two common-sense reforms that should be easily achievable.
Submitted by Monica Boyer
Warsaw, via email



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013
Article comment by: INguy1980@yahoo.com

You can't claim to be small Government and NOT be Libertarian. Libertarians want a Government that is held within the confines of the Constitution. Supporting other countries above all others--for example Israel, is morally wrong, legally wrong, and against what the Founders wanted. Monica Boyer maybe be small government in theory, but not in fact.



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