Column: Time to take fireworks out of people's irresponsible hands
Enough is enough. It’s time to ban the sale of fireworks.
We’re too selfish to be trusted to have a wee display in our back gardens any more.
These days, November 5 means getting the biggest box of industrial strength pyrotechnics you can afford, and let them all off without so much as a thought given to neighbours, their kids or pets.
Start when you like, finish as late as you want, and pack as many ultra-loud bangs into the time as you can - that seems to be the ethos of too many people to allow this annual chaos to continue.
I’m old enough to remember when a fireworks display in your back garden meant a few Catherine wheels stuck on a shoogly nail on the fence, and some pitiful wee rockets plonked in milk bottles. I have many memories of waiting and wondering whether any of them would actually ignite let alone provide anything remotely exciting.
Be honest, the firework displays of our childhood were pretty rubbish.
Maybe times were simpler then. We got our Astra fireworks out of Woolies, invited a few neighbours round, stood in a semi-circle and went ooh and ah for barely three minutes before heading back indoors.
Today, fireworks aren’t just bigger and much noisier, people seem to want to emulate those pyrotechnic shows at the end of the OIympics.
Last Thursday, it sounded like a war zone at times.
I didn’t actually see a single firework light up the sky - but I certainly heard the sounds of them exploding right through until the wrong side of midnight.
The “it’s only night of the year” argument holds less water than the buckets we used to have handy in case a rocket went rogue.
And the abuse and chaos caused by that lethal combination of idiots and pyrotechnics is getting out of control.
It’s astonishing that anyone would decide to attack firefighters who come to tackle the danger caused by your bonfire - but they do.
It’s equally unacceptable that so much time of the emergency services is tied up dealing with folk letting off fireworks.
I doubt whether the folk responsible for the mayhem even know the first thing about the traditions of Bonfire Night. They probably think Guy Fawkes is a reality TV star.
These days every wedding, public event, big gig and festival has to have fireworks at the finale. Why? Seen one whizz-bang show, seen ‘em all.
So, let’s make it simple.
Ban the sale of fireworks.
Put pyrotechnics in the hands of people who know what they are doing with them - the companies who don’t aim them at firefighters or lead police on a merry dance.
Or, look at ‘silent fireworks’ only for public sale.
They’re not entirely silent, but they do curb the appalling noise intrusion and may go some way to tackling the horrendous distress caused to family pets.
As it stands, November 5 is too chaotic to be allowed to continue, and the endless public appeals to be considerate aren’t working.
We can’t go on like this.