According to recent figures from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms across the country in 2006 as a result of the mishandling of fireworks. Children ages 15 and younger account for 36 percent of all fireworks injuries. --- from front page article, “Playing it safe on the Fourth,” of Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, July 3, 2008
It’s that time of year again in Pennsylvania. If you are not a resident, then you don’t know how our noble state seeks to save us from ourselves over the 4th of July holiday. The media people bend over backwards to give their “expert” assistance in this endeavor.
We are exposed to lengthy and graphic details about the dangers of fireworks. We are informed of the laws prohibiting private use of certain types of explosive fireworks – e.g. like little Ralphie shooting his eye out with a BB gun in “A Christmas Story,” so we’ll be losing an eye or both of them, losing fingers and/or getting burned with those deadly fireworks! We are strongly urged to leave fireworks alone and let the “professionals” do the pyrotechnics stuff.
See how simple it is and how our Commonwealth and mass media have our best interest at heart?
However, there is a major, major problem of the first magnitude in all this – dare I suggest there is really more than a tad of hypocrisy going on here?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in the business of selling alcoholic beverages – you know, some really hard and powerful stuff such as Jack Daniels and other varieties having a high content of alcohol. In addition to its direct selling of such beverages, Pennsylvania also issues licenses to establishments to sell beverage alcohol to customers while collecting a lot of revenue in the process of such activity – but never enough revenue to cover all the cost of damage, destruction and death resulting from the ingestion of such liquids!
And the Commonwealth has greatly expanded its gambling operations in recent years with permitting the start up of casinos and all the trappings that are a part of such financial blood letting! In the matter of the casinos, the state does not own them – it simply “oversees” and supposedly “regulates” them while reaping a harvest of taxes. It continues to own and operate its lottery which has been touted as a great success. Anyone want to tally the widespread devastation in personal lives which has taken place due to this "activity?" That in addition to the corruption which takes place among officials and a criminal element wanting to get its fingers into this luscious pie!
Now then, just a simple question – to what extent does the Commonwealth give warnings and the mass media provide details about the mass destruction, ruined lives, grief and sorrow, and shattered families resulting from Pennsylvania’s “business” operations as it engages in sales of beverage alcohol and gambling? Do we get a daily report on all who have been victimized by such trafficking on the part of our state -- it always helps to have photos which seems to be a specialty of the mass media! Rest assured that there is more than an eye or two or a couple of fingers lost in this mass assault on citizens and their families in the Keystone state!
Will the governor and an obese legislature ever face reality in this matter? Not likely, as their only message (and warning) is, “Don’t you dare light that firecracker – we’ll fine you and possibly give you some jail time!”
All to which the mass media folks, such as the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, will say a hearty, “Amen! and Amen! We’ll do it again next year so that the good people of Pennsylvania will be reminded – watch out for fireworks – they’re very dangerous and you could get hurt!”
Let's see now -- what was that word to which we made reference earlier -- hypo... something or other?
"Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" --- Matthew 23:24