Myths and Facts about the Dangers of Firecrackers

Myths and Facts about the Dangers of Firecrackers

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  1. Have you ever seen one of those public safety demonstrations where some government worker tapes an M-80 to the hand or arm of a mannequin and lights it, and the mannequin’s entire arm shatters into a million pieces, at which point the government worker looks solemnly at the news cameras and says, “That’s what can happen to you if you try to handle fireworks.”

    I love those newsreels; nothing makes me laugh more hysterically. I mean really, do they expect us to believe that our entire arm will blow apart like a Tiffany bowl smashed by a bowling ball launched from a cannon?

    Now, don’t get me wrong: explosives like M-80s and their larger cousins are dangerous if mishandled and can even cause severe bodily harm, which is why most of them say right on the packaging, “Do Not Hold When Lighting!”

    Holding an M-80 when it goes off can result in the loss of fingers, especially those grasping the firecracker. If you hold the thing in a closed fist, the flesh and bones of your fingers and hand will become shrapnel, which isn’t any fun for anyone present, especially the poor schmuck holding onto the M-80. If, however, you hold the firecracker in the palm of your open hand, it’s unlikely to blow away any fingers because the brunt of the explosion will be directed away from the hand. However, it may break bones in your hand and will certainly give you a horrible burn, so I strongly recommend that you don’t do this. If the firework explodes too near to your head, it can—and likely will—render you deaf in the ear nearest to it and you risk the real possibility of permanently blinding. Therefore, if you must play with fireworks that are illegal in most states (with the exception of Indian reservations)—which in itself is stupid because you risk arrest and stiff fines as well as bodily harm—place it on the ground well away from people and light it with a long match or a punk.

    As for the larger cousins of the M-80, if you’re stupid enough to hold one when you light it, maybe you’ll be doing society a favor if it should kill you or at least render you incapable of procreation. The world has enough dumb people in it already.

    Black Cat firecrackers are also illegal in much of the United States, which is a thing that I have trouble understanding. Yes, if a Black Cat goes off an inch from your eyes, it can cause damage and may result in blindness—but the same is true of Piccolo Petes, and they’re legal in most areas. Yes, if you hold a Black Cat in your closed fist, it can damage your hand permanently, but so can a ground-bloom flower if you clutch it in your fist, and they’re also legal in most areas. Heck, you can set a disliked neighbor on fire very easily with the government-approved “safe and sane” sparklers that millions of parents give to their small children every year!  

    The fact is that all fireworks are potentially dangerous. How can they not be? They shoot fire!

    I can attest from personal and (eventually) painful experience that if a Black Cat blows up while your holding it between two fingers, it will not blow away said fingers. This happened to me when I was about twelve years old. Regardless of the mild powder burns, I felt no pain at all but merely an interesting tingling sensation… for about ten minutes. When sensation returned to my fingers, it was not a nice sensation and they stung for the rest of the day, but I did not suffer any permanent damage. Maybe I got lucky; maybe I was not grasping the firecracker firmly enough for it to cause damage, because I have heard of cases where some kid did the same thing and wound up with permanent nerve damage, usually a loss of feeling; or maybe the ones who suffered such injuries were a minority whose case the media shouted until the government, in its infinite wisdom, banned Black Cats.

    But isn’t that always the case? Whenever a small number of people have a negative experience with something that millions of people enjoy, our brilliant government steps in and bans it for everyone.

    God bless America!

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