This is why having your own firework display is the most idiotic thing you can do this weekend

  • Fleet Street
  • 03/11/2017
This is why having your own firework display is the most idiotic thing you can do this weekend
Are you an idiot?

I'm sure you are not. Well, actually I just hope you're not.

I can't know for certain and, this being the internet and a country where we actually seem to vote dim, entitled perverts into power, there's an abundance of evidence about idiocy in general.

Anyway. YOU'RE probably not an idiot, even if HE is. Or that's what you tell yourself, while idly buying some explosive chemicals you're not qualified to deal with and then igniting them close to your own face.

And why not? After all, the children love it, right up to the point they eat something which makes a green flash and is also used in rat poison, shove a lit sparkler up their brother's nose or are scalped by a rocket daddy set light to just a few feet away.

But that all happens to other idiots, of course.

It doesn't happen if you read the instructions and are sensible, and never mind that gusts of wind can't read and children are never sensible, especially when it's cold and they've just eaten a partly-pig by-product with nuclear sauce and their little brother's being annoying.

So don't you worry about the fact that the people most likely to be injured by fireworks are children.


And if the doctor in charge isn't EXHAUSTED FROM 90 HOURS OF REPAIRING SCREAMING BURNED CHILDREN already this week.

You've done it before. No-one was hurt. Who cares?

Well, the veteran down the road with post-traumatic stress disorder from conflicts on three continents who has to relive it all with every pop and bang. He might care.

Around one in 25 service personnel are diagnosed with PTSD, and others are never diagnosed and instead try to numb the problem with drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse or criminality.

That veteran down the road who the children call Mr Limpy might be absolutely fine with your fireworks, and then again he might be pushed over an unnoticed mental precipice into a crisis and hurt himself or someone else. But don't let that stop you giving him a fright.

Then there's the elderly couple. And the family with the autistic little boy. And the person on shifts who just wants an early night because they've got to start work at 3am in a casualty department filled with burned children.

And no, they can't just expect it on November 5. Because it's any night, any time, for a fortnight.

And then there's the animals.

Well, they're only animals. Balls to them! So what if pensioners, the odd kid, the veteran, the hard worker and that yappy dog at the end of the street don't like it? THE KIDS LOVE IT.

According to the RSPCA there were 21million domestic pets in the UK in 2014. That's dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits, goldfish, Westminster tarantulas, the lot. At the same time, there were just under 11m children. If you're being logical about it, what the pets want - and their, by extension, 21m to 42m owners - outweighs the brats with sparklers by some margin.

Then there's the birds. The sparrows, pigeons, tits, chuffs, starlings, robins, swans, ducks. Then the foxes, hedgehogs (not many of them left, either, check your bonfires before you light them), rabbits, field mice, and any badgers not yet slaughtered on government orders.

Not one of those creatures knows about Guido Fawkes, the anti-Catholic dogma of the 17th century or Chinese inventions involving saltpetre.

Whether in the field, under a hedge, inside a house with the curtains drawn, quaking behind the sofa or with a blanket put over their cage, these animals are all s***ting themselves because you decided the children would ADORE it if you set light to some chemicals within easy ignition distance of the home you haven't paid for yet.

According to Churchill Home Insurance 2m British homes have been damaged by fireworks, costing an average of 307 each - with damage including broken windows, smashed roof tiles, and fences catching fire.

And that's WITHOUT the fact that your home insurance probably doesn't cover you for burning a hole in your neighbour, a guest, or the property next door.

Then there's exactly what it is that you're cheerily igniting in close proximity to the people you love most in the whole world.

Barium is used to make the green colours. It's used in rat poison, welding rods and fluorescent lights. Get too much in your system and it can lead to hypertension, muscle weakness, respiratory failure and seizures.

Many fireworks contain arsenic, which can cause nausea, vomiting, profound diarrhoea, haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, heart problems and delirium. Get it in you and you will need your bowel "irrigating", which sounds like a lovely way to spend some family time.

Firecrackers purchased in the EU can legally contain 4mg to 9mg of phosphorus, even though the lethal dose for humans is just 1mg. You can absorb it through your skin and it causes liver failure - that's if it's not the sort that explodes on contact with the air first.

Perchlorates, a firework accelerant which can cause thyroid problems in humans and is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, has been found in high concentrations in lakes where fireworks are regularly set off. They're not very good for wildlife either.

But, by all means, pop down your local store and buy some of this stuff, because YOU'RE not an idiot and you KNOW all this and the KIDS LOVE IT.

Don't, whatever you do, stop to think about the wisdom of explosives being sold in a garden centre or newsagent's, or how you're helping to make it more likely that an 18-year-old undiagnosed psychopath with a low boredom threshold will also be able to buy a Super King Size Whizz Banger for a very affordable 10.

Don't think about how someone between the ages of just-loves-the-spectacle and responsible-adulthood might use the cheap, accessible and flammable materials you, by buying them yourself, have made it easier for him to get his hands on.

Don't think about the stray cats and dogs with bangers tied to them. Don't think about the disabled woman who gets a firework shoved through the letterbox. Don't think about the irks who let off fireworks inside shops, at people they mock, or even at firemen who risk their lives to put out the fires they've started.

And especially don't think about the firemen and women.

Don't think about the fact the British fire and rescue service nationwide has had a budget cut of 30% since 2010, and we've 10,000 fewer firemen to come and sort your misfired rocket out.

Don't think about the fact there are proposed cuts of a further 20% in the next four years, and fire stations are closing down or going part-time all over the country.

Especially don't think about the 40,000 people fire crews saved last year, and how different that number would be if idiots stopped lighting explosives in their gardens.

Why should you stop to ask yourself who's going to come and put out your house if it's on fire, or your neighbour's house? Who'll give you first aid, who'll carry your granny through the flames, who'll douse the car and damp down the hedge and do it all night long for an untold number of idiots who keep saying BUT THE KIDS LOVE IT.

It's not like the fire brigade have people to cut out of crashed cars, floods to pump out, chemical spills to mop up, industrial disasters to halt, collapsed buildings to burrow through, animals to rescue, children's heads to remove from park railings or accidental fires to extinguish which aren't the homeowner's fault.

Don't worry about it. Instead give your children a sparkler, which burns at a temperature 5 times hotter than cooking oil. Heck, give them three at once because combined that's as hot as a welding torch and who wouldn't let their children play with one of those?

Set off the biggest rocket you're allowed to buy, and keep your fingers crossed that the translation-from-the-Chinese instructions didn't have any mistakes in it and the 150mph missile goes where you want it to.

Explode a shell at 200metres so that every animal within a 10-mile radius loses their lunch, why don't you.

Don't think about the fact most firework injuries happen in people's back gardens, to people under 17, and they are most likely to damage the hands, eyes and face.

Don't think about the vapours, the poisons, the strontium, the copper salts, the overworked doctors, the understaffed firefighters, or the knife's-edge mental state of your nearby war veterans, vulnerable humans or terrified family pets.

Don't bother to think about the fact people who aren't idiots go to professional public displays, because they're not stupid and it's only a fiver and it's over after an hour and you're less likely to get burned to death and everyone can relax.

Don't think about the fact that doing it in the wrong place, or at the wrong time of day, could get you a 5,000 fine or 6 months' imprisonment.

Tell yourself that, because YOU think you're not stupid, the best thing to do is to buy some explosive chemicals you're not qualified to deal with and ignite them in your back yard.

Because, if you're very lucky, you'll just burn your own face off and the rest of us will be relieved of one idiot.
  • Source: Mirror
  • Author: Fleet Street
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