(To see the patriotic parfait, skip the politics and scroll to the end.)

Over 70 fireworks displays will fire Wisconsin skies between now and July 6th. The celebrating started last Saturday with Madison’s huge Rhythm & Booms music and fireworks festival. Yes, we’re lucky here in Wisconsin. Our flooded fields turned Wisconsin’s fire-danger pointer to low.  Stars & Stripes Sugar Cookies

4th of July Cookies

Not so in some parts of the U.S. where dry conditions, especially in California, have caused communities to cancel 4th of July fireworks. Other communities canceled the show because of fireworks’ high and rising costs. I know that the explosion of 20 fireworks warehouses in the Chinese port of Sanshui earlier this year was terrible, but still, it would have been cool to watch from the other side of the bay.

Another rising concern about fireworks, although I’m not sure it has caused any display cancellations, is the significant amount of greenhouse gases they emit. I was not the first to Ask Pablo how much carbon dioxide 4th of July fireworks spray into the atmosphere. Pablo calculated that the carbon emitted from fireworks in 2006 was 60,340 tons, which he describes as “more than 12,000 cars emit in a year, or the emissions from 115,000 light bulbs left burning for a year!” He went on to describe the additional pollution caused by the dangerous gases, heavy metals and toxins which also explode in the fireworks. “Bummer, man.” is all I can say.

But whenever I’m faced with bad news, I give it a spin and see if I can look at it another way. So here goes. Let’s consider WHY we’re so busy lighting fire in the sky. Why? – because we ourselves are bursting with energy. We’re HAPPY and we’re CELEBRATING!

And why are we so happy? – because we are not blowing each other up. But we could be. The gunpowder used in fireworks, explained Pablo, is exactly the same as is used in fire-arms, – you know, handguns, missiles, and the like. Fox News reported that no fireworks will explode over Iraqi skies this summer. Instead, the explosions come from the IED’s on the roadsides. The U.S. military has issued over 200 purple hearts since the war’s start. How many more purple hearts have actually been earned? in 2003, Human Rights Watch reported:

Extensive research at five hospitals and morgues in Kirkuk and Mosul suggests that the high civilian tolls can be attributed to general lawlessness after the collapse of local authorities; the ready availability of weapons and ammunition; and the vast stores of ammunition and ammunition components left behind by the Iraqi military, including landmines, rocket-propelled grenades, and other explosives. 

Many of the victims have been children who play with explosives or pick up unexploded ordnance (UXO) as toys and sustain serious injuries as a result.

Yes, children are injured by guns here in the U.S. too, – but not nearly in the same proportion as in Iraq.

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