Editor’s note: This story was written for the Bedrock Sports Hawaii audience, but it also may enlighten the Bedrock Sports Marlboro readers about a particular anarchical situation involving fireworks in Hawaii. Therefore, it will run on both websites.
Fireworks are illegal in Hawaii, yet fireworks are “legal” in Hawaii.
The word legal has quotation marks around it because otherwise the sentence is not logical. Another way to say it is that fireworks are de facto legal.
But, come on now, how do you enforce a law that for quite a while (how long?) has been unenforceable? Nearly everybody and his brother and sister and cousin and uncle and auntie participate in some form or fashion of the lighting of projectiles that blow up and make loud noises to ring in the New Year.
What they do also happens to be a thing of beauty. Go to high ground and watch some year if you haven’t already. For those who haven’t, check out the accompanying video taken from YouTube and made by Brady Oshiro.
As far as the eye can see — Pearl City, Pearl Harbor, Waipahu, Ewa and beyond — the night sky lit up this year like never before.
This year, in particular, it was as if all of Oahu’s fireworks-crazed residents took their COVID-19 stimulus or unemployment checks and piled up their own personal armory of the stuff.
And then, everyone lit the fuses in an unprecedented show of strength. Giving the middle finger, so to speak — or the big F.U. — while saying goodbye to what most people consider the wretched year of 2020.
Not everybody likes fireworks. My dog, Chup, for instance, freaks out every time he hears one. And hearing them is not just a New Year’s occurrence. For the past few months, it’s been an almost daily occurrence. Lot ‘o people letting out their anger against COVID, I guess.
Recently, I did hear about an animal group trying to get stricter laws with more enforceability passed. Good luck with that. Chup will be happy if that happens. But, it seems to me, the fireworks are going to get shipped over and are eventually lit no matter what.
There is the matter of safety, though. A Kapaa man died of fireworks-related injuries on Kauai this year. Apparently, a malfunctioning firework exploded while he was holding it.
I gave up on the business of fireworks, pretty much, at about age 13 when Raz Tucci at Jaworek School in Marlboro, Mass., gave me a firecracker and I lit it. We both didn’t know it, but that particular one happened to have one of those extra quick fuses and so as soon as I lit it, I did not have a chance to throw it before it went bang. I immediately felt excruciating pain. Within seconds, my fingers had big purple blisters on them. My mind raced because of all of the warnings from that jolly old Irish policeman, Gerry Spratt, who would come to the school every year to tell us about the dangers of explosives. He impressed upon us that sometimes blasting caps (used to detonate a larger explosive like TNT) would be left around by construction companies. “DON”T PICK THEM UP,” he would tell us, “it may take your fingers off.”
So, there I am with blistered fingers and wondering if it could have been worse. Thank goodness it wasn’t.
Nowadays, I leave the fireworks to the professionals, and — for sure — there are a ton of them around.
A link to an eight-minute (too long!!!) video I took of the 2021 New Year’s fireworks is here. It’s not as professional-looking as the one shown above, but it gives you a sense of the non-stop action. Take a close look and you can see that all of the light is actually reflecting off of the clouds!!!!