Thursday, July 5, 2012

God and Guns

I live in a town that bows down to the two big G's: God and Guns (I think in that order, but it's not always clear). Needless to say, 4th of July is probably second only to Christmas here in terms of celebration. People wear a badge of pride about crossing the border into Wyoming before the 4th to get the good (aka illegal) fireworks. Competitions for the best fireworks are common place, and authorities often look the other way at the "dangerous" kind. One of the best illegal displays last year was the guy down the block from me--who happens to be a firefighter.

Despite the ban on all fireworks this year (including the town's big extravaganza) due to the worst year of wildfires on record, my hubby and I were sure that someone would shoot off something to mark America's holiday. We were positive that some jerk would endanger others by taking issue with their God-given right to bear firearms or fireworks. We were wrong.

One of the themes I explore in my novels is just what it would take to bring people together and forget their differences, be they political, religious, or otherwise. I'm not sure what the answer was tonight, but the silence was deafening.

Maybe it was the smoke that still hung thick in the air from the fires, prompting an air advisory to stay indoors. Maybe it was the fact that an entire neighborhood burned to the ground less than forty minutes from here, leaving only razed houses and dead bodies in its wake. Maybe the answer, sad as it is, is that it takes something horrific for people to come together.

All I know is that not a single firecracker was heard the entire night. The eerie quiet seemed to symbolize that people realized their families and neighborhoods were more important than anything else. That maybe we have more in common than we, or the media, want to believe. I don't know if I can live here forever, but I found a spark of humanity in the silence tonight. For now, that is enough.


  1. I'm happy to hear that common sense lives somewhere in this country! Unfortunately, it doesn't live in my neighborhood. We haven't had wildfires prompting us to keep fire risks down, but we have been warned that we're having fire weather. It's dry and hot despite the crazy rainstorm we had last weekend. Even most of the fireworks shows put on by local governments were cancelled.

    I also live in a heavily forested area where most of the houses are wood. There were signs up around the community warning us that fireworks are illegal. They also said the charge for an accidental fire would be arson. Even the threat of a felony conviction couldn't keep a large number of numbskulls from trying to blow themselves up here last night.

    Thanks for sharing your experience! It's good to know someone, somewhere, was using their noggin last night.

    1. Laura--your experience is exactly the one I was expecting last night. I'm sorry it wasn't that way in your area, and hope no damage was caused. Where you live sounds beautiful though--my fave vacation spot is a wooden cabin in the mountains. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hi Kristi! Great post!

    I live in downstate Illinois. People hop the borders to Indiana and Missouri to buy illegal fireworks so that they can spend the week trying to shoot them off (the pyrotechnics, but also their thumbs and/or various appendages). Most of our city-sponsored fireworks were canceled due to drought conditions and I assumed this would only increase the backwood backyard shows (and 911 calls). So I waited.

    Nothing on Friday. Nothing on Saturday. Nothing on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. So I figured, "Okay, they're saving them all for the Big Day." Then last night, not a single snap, crackle or pop. Truthfully, I figured anyone reckless enough to set off their own fireworks was probably not intelligent enough to heed the fire warnings, but I'm glad I was wrong about my fellow Americans. I'll fondly remember this 4th of July.

    1. Jen--it's so great to hear that people were considerate in other parts of the country too. Sometimes it's great to be wrong. :)

  3. Take care of yourself out there! It sounds pretty bad. Very cool theme to have in your novel.

  4. There is something nice about a community coming together.