Yes. But don’t assume you know a stupid person when you see one.
Our governor just vetoed a bill passed by our Pointy Headed Republican Legislature which would have significantly reduced regulation on dangerous fireworks in the state, allowing everyone access to explosives that are currently banned.
Which reminds me of a story.
When I first moved to the Twin Cities, I was told by people at the University that there was only one Saint Paul neighborhood to live in. All other neighborhoods were inadequate. The same exact people who told me that then later said things that confirmed that they were judgmental dicks, for the record. Anyway, I never did move to that neighborhood (though almost every other faculty member who was hired around that time seemed to) but a colleague who came from Harvard about that time did, and I remember being over at her house for Fourth of July that year. So this is a neighborhood of extra smart people who all moved there because it is the place where the Intelligentsia live. And now it is Fourth of July so they are being all Neighborhoody and stuff, because that is what one does in the Twin Cities, and this means a neighborhood display of fireworks.
The street we were on had a rise to the front lawns, so every house had an extra stairway on the lawn, plus the hill face or ha ha wall in front of each house, so there was a theater like configuration. People could sit on walls, porches, or steps, and they did just that, broken into little units by the driveways that went past the houses into the back yards (an unusual feature for a city with alleys) just like we were in a real theater.
Being suspicious of fireworks (a sense that I developed as an unsupervised youth with a pretty well developed knowledge of chemistry and unfettered access to chemicals) I took Julia, who was very little at the time over to the edge of one of the driveways and sat her down there to watch. Thus, we had an escape route at our back.
It came time for the illegal neighborhood fireworks display. First there were packs of firecrackers lit off all at once. Then a few rockets, first smaller, then larger. Finally, a small Roman Candle or two. Then, the big Roman Candle.
And when the guy lit the candle, he turned to run away from it, and struck it with his foot. The large tubular object was tossed to the ground spinning, and while it was still spinning it started to go off.
It was like a game of Spin the Bottle combined with a game of Russian Roulette. The firework-fire coming out of the candle increased the rate of spin, so as the Roman Candle fired every second or so, it shot in a different direction, sometimes up the street, sometimes down the street, but mostly into the crowds on either side of the street.
I tossed Julia behind the wall next to the driveway I had chosen, but could not drag myself away from watching. Dozens of people sitting on the hills and steps at first let themselves get sprayed with fire for a couple of spins, then they all realized that this was not part of the show. Parents threw themselves on top of children, others sprang to their feet and ran. There was a great deal of screaming and yelling. The guy who had knocked the thing over was dancing around in the middle of the street trying to get close to it, leaping over the brimstone every time it shot in his direction. Eventually he got close enough that he put his foot on it, and with his other foot pointed the candle down the street where he held it in place until it was done fire-working.
The smartest people in the Twin Cities, living in the neighborhood where all the University Faculty, a s well as the Faculty of Several Other Institutions of Learning that are in the neighborhood, had just done the dumbest thing I’ve seen a group of people that size ever do.
And I’m only exaggerating a little.
So, dear reader, please do no think that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is patronizing any particular group of people in the North Star State by vetoing the Republican Fireworks Bill recently passed by the State House. As we say up here in Coon Rapids, “You don’t have to be from Coon Rapids to be an idiot… Folks down in Saint Paul are just as dumb as we are!”
OK, we don’t really say that, but I think you get the point.
One might ask why the Republican controlled legislature can only manage to do dumb-ass things like pass a Zimmerman Law (they did that earlier in the year) or relaxations of fireworks restrictions (as they just did) while job creating bonding bills and other important legislation languishes. We are very lucky to have a Democratic Governor who can veto these stupid bills. In November, we plan to get a Democratic Legislature as well. Then we can get to fixing things.
Here’s Governor Dayton’s statement about the veto:
“I greatly respect the care with which the legislative authors crafted [the bill]. especially their willingness to listen to and incorporate the concerns of people with differing views….
“Much as I would like to reward their efforts and to satisfy the many Minnesotans who want greater latitude to buy and use fireworks legally in our state, I cannot do so. Most Minnesotans are responsible enough to ignite and explode those inherently dangerous devices properly and safely. Unfortunately. some are not.”