EDITORS NOTE: I know there isn’t an editor for the blog but I didn’t know a proper way of apologizing for this post. I pride myself on not using a lot of profanity on the blog but I figured what the hell and write a little more like I talk. So, with that said, today’s Raskin’s Rhetoric is for mature audiences.
There are two things I know at this point in my life. One, The Rockford Files is a totally kick ass 70s detective show and it’s a shame I didn’t really discover it until I turned 38. Two, fireworks and target shooting in Utah during this heat wave is fucking lunacy.
At this very moment, there are NINE active fires in Utah. Colorado looks like Hades and the rest of the West if filled with uncontrollable wildfires. The weather in the state has been hovering around 100-degrees for a couple of weeks and there is no relief in sight from the heat.
As westerners we know all too well that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting. For a land that lacks water, despises federal intervention and has a strong sense of self-reliance I can’t for the life of me think why Governor Gary Herbert isn’t taking a proactive and brave stance and boycott fireworks immediately for the safety of both the state and her citizens.
Well, that’s not necessarily true. Herbert won’t do it because he is terrified of being portrayed as someone who is stripping Utahns of their 2nd Amendment rights. Like all cowards and bullies, Herbert is afraid to do the right thing in the face of reason and common sense.
I love fireworks. My dogs sure as shit don’t but I do. I like the sound, smell, colors and danger that come with fireworks. I have done some of the stupidest things in the world with fireworks like wrapping a Piccolo Pete in electrical tape, take a hammer to the belly of the firework and light it. The bastard explodes like an M-100 and does horrible damage to property and person. I did it because I was young and drunk and showing off in front of my brothers.
What’s Herbert’s excuse?
I’ve been target shooting before. We were up in Cache County months ago and discharged enough weapons to put us on an ATF watch list. We were careful with the exception of the mouthfuls of Canadian Mist washed down with Miller Lite we drank between killing clay pigeons and empty cans. We were at a proscribed area and were careful not to discharge the weapons around anything that might ignite. I guarantee every hillbilly freedom loving son of a bitch thinks that they will be as careful of us but they won’t. Wanna know why? It was winter. My boots were covered in mud and the only thing dry was the cooler at the end of our target shooting session.
I live in Utah for so many reasons but at the top of that list is the natural beauty of the state. We work hard to keep the Beehive State clean and clutter free and guys like Tim DeChristopher will be going to jail to keep Utah free from rampant destruction and waste. What makes Utah a magical place to live is the fact that as citizens we usually do the right thing without having the government telling us what to do.
I am not an activist by any stretch of the imagination. The vast majority of every blog I have ever written have been about d-bags and JagerBombs. Every now and then, I like to write about current affairs but even then I am trying to find the best way to squeeze in a dick joke.
Fireworks in Utah this year during the Fourth of July is no joke.
People have lost their lives, homes and countless folks have been put into harm’s way trying to stop the spread of fire throughout the state. And yet, we are still able to find, purchase and ignite flaming projectiles whose beauty is overwhelmed by the inherent danger of the product.
We live in Sugarhouse. Sugarhouse Park hosts the Fourth of July firework display for the community. Last year I remember dropping a $10 bill in the slot of a grocery store to make sure that we keep fireworks in the neighborhood. I felt that it was important that Sugarhouse keeps the fireworks and we offer a show for anyone willing to fight the crowds.
I am not against the city lighting fireworks. I am against untrained, guaranteed intoxicated people lighting fireworks with no contingency plan to extinguish any errant flames. Think I am a firework Nazi? Good. Because at least I have a position and I think it is criminally negligent to allow people to light fireworks this season. For all of you that say, “You can have my sparkler when you pry it out of my cold, dead hand,” I say blow me. You’re a douche and I don’t think I want to pour you anymore JagerBombs.
I propose a new holiday for Utah. Call it the Winter Gala or some other horseshit name and make it the first Saturday in December. On the Winter Gala, make it a free-for-all firework day. Friends and family can get together in the wet winter and take a piece of the summer and watch it explode in the sky. There will probably be a foot of snow in the yard but I guarantee the amount of accidental fires will go around. The misallocation of police and firefighters time stopping ticky-tacky fires will go down and they can get back to the business of busting drunks on the road and minors drinking.
The Fourth of July honors the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A bunch of rich, white slave-owning revolutionaries signed Thomas Jefferson’s masterful document telling King George the III that enough is enough and Brits out. The Fourth is Independence Day because we were done with the Royal Crown and were ready to strike out on our own as free people. The idea was really more about people living in their individual colonies and communities knew better than the King did in how to be rules.
You’d think after 236-years, Herbert would wise up. What’s best for Utah is not a state burning to the ground and a reasonable ban on fireworks. Too many up-tight rightwing crack-cases running the state are risking the lives of too many people when they should be doing the right thing. They are literally playing with fire and demonstrating the sort of leadership that makes me proud to be a Democrat in Utah. Collectively, we need to act fearless when we tell them that they are wrong.
Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Check out his podcast, SLC PubCast, on iTunes. He feels bad about all of the potty language and hopes everyone has a safe, firework-free Fourth of July.