…are complete idiots.

Like the guys who decided to set off fireworks outside my apartment building (not right in front, behind actually). Not only are they idiots for setting off fireworks in a city where they are illegal, but they are using hand-held tubes to launch them into the air and holding the tube in their left-hand and the small canister flame-torch in their right hand. Not to mention that they are setting them off less than a yard from their stair case and not more than fifteen feet in any directions from several large trees.

I called the police, knowing that if I didn’t and someone was hurt or the building burned down, I’d feel bad about not calling. When I mentioned my street address, I discovered that I was the fifth caller in the last half-hour about them. The dispatcher was not surprised about the calls related to fireworks, but was surprised to have so many in a short time span from the same exact place.

I don’t see how this is a celebration of independence, either. Independence isn’t about endangering the safety of others. Rather, ours was about establishing a government that could better guarantee the safety of it’s constituents, among other things. Getting drunk and/or setting off explosives does not seem a fitting tribute to the people who died for the independence of America from Britain. But independence has little to do with doing anything you want, we use wealth for that.

No, independence is about sacrifice. It’s about being able to chose to give up everything you have for sake of one other or many. It’s about love and honor and grace. It may involve getting drunk and setting off explosions (not likely), but those are the means of the expression, not the expression itself.

I heard the Declaration of Independence read tonight. A better part of it went over my head (thanks in part to some loud country music nearby). However, the parts that I heard seemed to be things we could do well to listen to as we try to spread democracy across the globe. The first thing we should be asking ourselves as we do that is just what democracy is and how it works and what it means. It would be much to easy to become the dictator ourselves, however welcomed we may be.

The cops just pulled up. And then they pulled out. I suppose on this night, complaints about fireworks around town are too numerous to handle all that well. And maybe the simple show of force that someone had to call or that the fireworks are seen will be enough. Still, it’s a little discouraging to see something so small. I have some free time, I may write a letter. After all, if they have independence to risk burning down my home, I can certainly do at least a written complaint.