The 4th of July is all about celebrating freedom. Freedom from tyranny. The freedom to pursue happiness. And, of course, the most important freedom of them all: the freedom to blow shit up.
Yes, every 4th of July, we come together as a nation, and put aside our differences to celebrate the majesty of fireworks. We take great joy in their massive booms and their pretty colors, not unlike an especially simple child. But like simple children, we’re also prone to hurting ourselves. That’s because, for all their capacity for making us clap with idiotic delight, fireworks are dangerous as hell. And none are as dangerous as these eight fireworks, all of which will leave you with a stump for a hand if you’re not careful, and in some cases, a stump for a head.
We’ll start off with a classic. Anytime you’re dealing with a firework that sounds like it could be the name of a machine-gun, you know you might end up in trouble. Of course, it doesn’t help that the noble M80 is the firecracker of choice for drunken hillbillies everywhere. Every year, dumbasses around the world blow their fingers off with M80’s, all so they can take dumb joy in the sound of something blowing up. Sure, sometimes it’s their own hand blowing up, but that’s why we have the Darwin Awards. Nature has an answer for everything.
It’s a fucking bomb. It’s just a ball stuffed with flash-paper with a wick hanging out of it and its sole purpose is to blow up and make a loud bang for drunken Cletus’ to hoot and holler over. Of course this is dangerous. Back in the day, they used to be even more dangerous, as up to a full gram of flash-paper was used, as opposed to the max amount of 50 milligrams used today. You might as well just toss grenades around the campfire.
Let’s take a moment to recognize defective fireworks, great and small. It doesn’t matter what kind of rinky-dink children’s firework you bought at the grocery store because if that thing backfires on you, you’re gonna spend all night at the ER trying to explain to a bored nurse how your dick caught on fire. Believe it or not, things designed to blow up can be dangerous.
I know it sounds stupid, but according to the insurance industry, sparklers cause somewhere between 15-20% of all fireworks injuries. That may sound unbelievable, but think about it: who likes sparklers? That’s right, kids. So, you’ve got millions of dumbass kids every 4th of July waving around small sticks that burn at almost 2,000 fucking degrees. If you had never heard of fireworks before, you’d think that was bat-shit insane. But that’s just how we train our kids in the land of the free and the home of the brave. So what if they suffer horrific burns from time to time? They have to learn how to appreciate burning and blowing shit up somehow.
Forget sounding like the name of a gun. Anytime you’re dealing with a firework that sounds like the name of a goddamn Terminator, you know shit is about to get real. The M1000 will blow your whole goddamn arm off. Again, we’re not talking about something that makes pretty colors for Grandma too ooh and aah over. We’re talking about something that was created just to explode and make a shitload of noise. Set some of these off and Grandma is liable to stroke out. You could probably fight off ISIS with a box of these.
These go by many names, like “Artillery Shells” and “Mortars,” and are the kind of fireworks you see at the big festivals. Of course, those are set off by trained professionals, not half-drunk dads and uncles who probably get flashbacks to ‘Nam because, well, because there are literally artillery shells and mortars going off around them. Jesus Christ.
If you want to know how dangerous these reloadables can be (named because, well, you can reload them) just ask North Dakota’s Jesse Burley. Oh wait, you can’t. That’s because in 2011, this dude blew his own head off while trying to reload an artillery shell firework. Look, anytime a firework is responsible for decapitating people, it’s going to end up on this list. That’s just a rule I have.
Roman Candles seem kind of harmless. I mean, you just light it and it shoots a lame little firework into the air. Kid stuff, right? Not so fast, my friends. Just think about it for a minute. What else can you do with a Roman Candle? That’s right, you can chase around your other idiot friends and shoot them at each other like fucking mini-rocket launchers. Don’t lie to me or yourself here. You know you’ve done this, or at least know some dumbass who’s done this.
The most dangerous of all Roman Candles is probably something known as the G-Man Mobster Killer. Yeah. It contains 140 individual shots, which basically makes it the Twitter of accidentally killing your own friends. Just like George Washington and the boys envisioned.
Look, for as dangerous as fireworks you can buy can be, they don’t compare to the idiotic danger of the simple homemade firework. I mean, come on, at this point you are only a shade away from being a militiaman building homemade bombs to blow up a courthouse. Of course, you’re blowing shit up for freedom, which… wait, that’s pretty much the militiaman’s excuse too.
I’m just saying, chances are you not a medieval Chinese genius or a renowned master chemist, so you probably should let someone else build your fireworks. Of course, that’s not the American way, and that can-do spirit is what leads to countless homemade fireworks being built every year. Right now, even, there’s some hillbilly down in West Virginia stuffing gunpowder and flash paper into a bowling ball or some shit, and a couple of days from now, you’ll read about how his neighbors saw a flying goat shortly after his “farm” exploded. Of course, no one will really care because that same “farm” sees a half-dozen meth explosions every year.
But do you really want to live in a world where a dumb redneck can’t blow up his own farm animals using shit he found lying around the house? That’s King George talk if you ask me. Here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we cherish that most precious of freedoms: the freedom to be a complete and utter dumbass. Happy birthday, America.
Firecrackers image by Shutterstock