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Published: Friday, 7/11/2008

Backyard fireworks are dangerous

Thanks to The Blade for printing the dangers of backyard fireworks in the July 7 story, "Police: Ban sale of fireworks"

Prevent Blindness Ohio believes there is no safe way to use fireworks and supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale, and use of all fireworks and sparklers except those used in authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. Yet, even fireworks used in authorized public displays can be dangerous.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's "Fireworks Annual Report," an estimated 6,300 injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July last year. Eleven people died and 9,800 people were sent to the emergency room for treatment of fireworks-related injuries in the United States last year.

Prevent Blindness Ohio cares deeply about this issue because eyes are the second most injured part of the body and children and young adults under the age of 20 suffered 54 percent of the total fireworks-related injuries in 2007. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently. Eyes are one of the few organs of the body that can't be transplanted. When it comes to eyes, you get "one pair and no spare."

Thank you for educating your readers about the dangers of backyard fireworks, which far too often lead to unnecessary tragedy such as this incident.

Sherill K. Williams

President & CEO

Prevent Blindness Ohio

Columbus

Hunters Ridge fire was preventable

In response to the fire at the Hunters Ridge apartments and the article in The Blade wondering if the state needs to make the laws tighter: Why?

Why not have firework retailers card people who come in to purchase them? We card for alcohol and for cigarettes. Why not check IDs at the source?

If people from Ohio walk into a store in Michigan or Indiana or wherever, who's to stop them from lying about not returning to Ohio to set them off? This is done with what proof? The tragedy at Hunters Ridge - where I happen to live - could have been prevented, not with laws forbidding the fireworks that are sold in Ohio but by stopping the illegal ones from entering into the state in the first place.

Sabine Croley

Gibraltar Heights Drive

Thrilled to sponsor fireworks display

I want to commend The Blade and the City of Toledo on an outstanding Red White KABOOM. Columbia Gas of Ohio was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a sponsor of the celebration, and proud to help continue this Independence Day tradition for northwest Ohio.

In addition to economic development opportunities, the path of rejuvenation and revitalization for Toledo must be paved with such community events. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner called for a stronger role in the civic arena from the business community in a July 4 ad in The Blade, and through continued support of various organizations and events, Columbia Gas is committed to supporting and enhancing our community.

It's not often Columbia Gas is excited to be part of an event that features explosions, so Red White KABOOM was definitely an exception to the norm in every way imaginable.

Chris Kozak

Communications and Community Relations Manager

Columbia Gas of Ohio

Leave pyrotechnics to the professionals

Kudos to all the people who spent their hard-earned money on illegal fireworks this Fourth of July. It's unfortunate that we must endure your constant loud, repetitious noise, which seems to begin as soon as the stores have completed stocking their shelves.

You also managed to displace over 200 people from their homes because of a careless, immature mistake. We were very fortunate in that no one was killed or hurt. That is why fireworks are "illegal" and should be handled only by professionals.

My suggestion to you for the next Fourth of July is to take your hard-earned money, buy a tankful of gas, and head to one of the local communities and enjoy their wonderful display of fireworks.

You will save lives, homes, fingers, and toes, and have a few extra bucks to spend on your family.

Diane Stahley

Springfield Township

Other 'display' not suitable for children

My family and relatives from Chicago looked forward with great anticipation to attending the July 4 festival at Promenade Park this year. And for the most part it was absolutely great, until we noticed another sort of festival. There was a "relief wherever you can" festival going on around us.

It seems some idiot bean counter decided to save money by not having the usual restroom facilities. Now imagine 150,000 people drinking overpriced beer (whose profit margin alone should have been enough to pay for more facilities) and you get some idea how bad it got.

It was bad enough with the guys in the bushes but when we started to notice bare-bottom women, we became quite livid. We had children with us and brought them there to view the fireworks, not the waterworks.

Whoever was responsible for the elimination of the portable toilets should be called to task and possibly fired.

William Munson, Jr.

Northwood

Column misguided on 'activist' Scalia

Sarcastic columnist Reg Henry from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was actually on point with his piece on the American Idiot's right to bear fireworks.

Most people who now legally purchase firearms are probably just as responsible as they are with illegally purchased fireworks. Society is no safer banning one over the other, when you still can cross state lines to purchase them. Careful use is required for both, but after several beers, no one should be shooting anything.

But Mr. Henry's opinion that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an "activist judge" because the court recently decided that people have a constitutional right to own guns in their homes is liberally misguided and just wrong. An "activist judge" declares what must be done whether or not society, common sense, and tradition agree.

This court ordered that the District of Columbia could not ban guns in homes but could regulate them. Rather than changing society's rules, this reinforces what most Americans believe, even those in the District of Columbia, who didn't get to vote on this.

That's not "activist," just judicial and wise. God bless America and common sense.

Bob Keller

Metamora

Revelers didn't think about consequences

It's fact: For every action there is a reaction and anything anyone does will, at some time, affect everyone else.

I just read the op-ed column by Reg Henry about demanding the right to bear fireworks. I'd like to stick him right in the middle of the Hunters Ridge apartments as they completely burned down because of a firework landing on one of the buildings. I'm sure all the people who lost everything they had in that fire feel likewise.

But there are those who throw caution and safety to the wind and don't care about anyone else by themselves: Bang! "Oh, yeah. That was lots of fun! Oh, look! That building's on fire! Let's get a picture of it on our cell phones and send it to the TV stations. Maybe they'll mention our names on the nightly news."

Hank Rybaczewski

Douglas Road

Editor's note: Mr. Henry's July 4 column was a satire on the recent Supreme Court ruling on gun laws. It was written before the July 5 fire at the Hunters Ridge apartments.

President Bush stated that he will not boycott the Olympics by staying home. I wish he spent half as much energy thinking about his decisions as he does sticking to them no matter how wrong they may be.

Mike Watkins

Bowling Green



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