Fourth of July fun marred by people thinking they are above the law
I hope you had a happy Independence Day. The Fourth is a wonderful holiday, full of patriotic merriment, grilled foods, yummy desserts and lots of red, white and blue. And parades. You can’t forget the parades and colorful floats.
This year was a bit different from previous years, as most of North Texas was under a fireworks and burn ban. In fact, Tarrant, Johnson, Hood, Parker and Palo Pinto counties issued bans. Additionally, Governor Greg Abbott extended the ban to continue until July 13, due to the increased risk of fires breaking out.
This ban did not extend to professional fireworks shows, as pyrotechnics have safety guidelines in place and are professionals at what they do.
Now, I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of all the numbers. You can read that in one of this week’s leading stories. Instead, let me tell you of my dismay of the sheer number of people who chose to ignore the ban. It was many. In fact, on social media people were bragging about ignoring the ban and were shooting off fireworks in their backyards. An acquaintance of mine had eight of her acres in Godley burn up because someone on a neighboring property was shooting off fireworks. Thankfully her cows were not harmed.
My husband and I did not have any plans for the Fourth, so I decided to go out to see my horse, hoping people would oblige the ban. Nope. While riding in the arena, which is at the top of a hill, people in the subdivision across the street (which is filled with very expensive homes) were shooting off those dang things right and left. Lacey was not a happy girl.
I decided to ditch my ride and walk my mare back to the barn and untack her because the noise was really starting to spook her. Then, someone in a very close proximity to the barn shot off some fireworks. I had enough at that point. After all my chores at the barn were done, I got in my truck and tracked down the law-breakers. There they were, in their front yard, shooting off fireworks that went quite high into the air. With the wind blowing right at the facility I board, where about 20 horses were in their stalls. I was completely livid. When I confronted the man and told him we were under a burn and fireworks ban, he said, “So we can’t shoot them off?”
People - a ban is a ban. I am sorry to be a negative Nancy, but in such dry conditions one should really think of others. Not only is there an increased risk of fire for houses, land and livestock, think of our first responders. They have to respond to those calls where individuals were being careless and use their resources when they may be needed at a more important call. If you read last week’s story about the Community Paramedic Program, you’ll know that Burleson only has three fire engines. Smaller communities in the county do not have a regular fire department and rely on volunteer firefighters. These men put their lives on the line for your careless mistake.
Anyhow, I think I’ve done enough tongue-lashing for now. Just know that I was extremely disappointed in those who chose to ignore the ban, and I applaud those who were responsible and chose to watch a professional fireworks show.
Bethann “Coldheart” Coldiron is the editor of the Burleson Star and really hopes that people will be smarter about decisions during a burn ban.