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Breaking The Law

by James M. Vinoski

I spent the evening of this past July 4th breaking the law.

Of what heinous endeavor was I guilty, you wonder? Theft? Rape? Murder?

Alas, no. My crime was that of celebrating our country.s independence, along with millions of my countrymen, with things that fly and go .boom.. I used illegal fireworks.

Isn.t it ironic that annually, on the day this nation celebrates liberty from oppressive rule, thousands and thousands of Michigan residents become lawbreakers, openly flouting our state and local ordinances against firecrackers, bottle rockets and the like? For I was most certainly not the only lawbreaker in action on that night. All around me, explosions and streaks of light identified the locations of my fellow criminals.

Why is such lawbreaking tolerated? It.s patently obvious that the location of the perpetrators is readily apparent . where were the police? Why was there no crackdown?

Could it be . and I.m only speculating here . that 1) the police have far more important things to do with their time, and (even more important) 2) these laws are stupid, and not worth enforcing?

Point one above is obvious. For the thefts, the rapes, the murders, and all the other real crimes don.t stop on the Fourth of July. Our police have their hands full year-round. But point two is equally true.

Oh, I can hear the busybodies now. .12,000 Americans were treated for fireworks injuries last year!!. .Fireworks are a nuisance!!. .We.ve got to protect the children!!.

As to preventing injuries, anyone who wants illegal fireworks can get them. Our laws aren.t preventing any injuries. Nor should they be; in a nation founded on liberty, each of us should take responsibility for ourselves. If we hurt ourselves, we suffer the consequences . that.s the way liberty works. For liberty also means responsibility, and when we expect laws to protect us against our responsibilities, we also lose our liberty. And that just ain.t worth it. Ask the Soviets. Oh, and, by the way, 12,000 Americans means 0.0044% of us were injured by fireworks last year . that doesn.t make a crisis, now does it?

Nuisances? Well, two things: first, you live in a society, and you can.t always have things the way you want them. Sometimes your neighbors will do things to annoy you. But if such things get too bad, laws to address the situation existed long before we wrote the idiotic ones about fireworks: against disturbing the peace, against burning down your neighbor.s house, against anything fireworks might cause if used improperly. Adding more laws doesn.t make things better . see my previous paragraph.

And now, about .protecting the children.. This nation is about to lose its very soul to totalitarians in sheep.s clothing over this one. We have to make social drinking illegal .to protect the children.. We have to pay a new $500 billion in taxes for smoking .to protect the children.. We have to pay more for our cars to add airbags .to protect the children,. then we have to turn around and pay even more to be able to turn off the airbags .to protect the children.. Wake up, folks . this is one of the most evil phrases around today. Just listen to all the ideas for onerous new laws that constantly emanate from our statehouses, and you.ll notice every damned one of them is about .protecting the children.. Don.t buy it.

I have a proposal. The Fourth of July holiday for 1998 is come and gone, and lots of folks like me broke the law that day. How about if our legislators in Lansing start working now on a gift for all the residents of Michigan for July 4th, 1999 . a repeal of the onerous, oppressive laws against the fireworks people in so many other states of our fine Union have the liberty to use legally? What a way to celebrate our independence that would be!

Mr. Vinoski can be reached via e-mail at: vinoski@michweb.net

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