Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What goes up

Happy Wednesday, the 4th of July! This is a holiday that can't be moved to Monday, forcing hundreds of millions of Americans to take the entire week off.  Of course, many people here in our town are stuck at home, living like frontier people all over again, electricity being a thing of the future just like in 1848. That is a pity and a shame, and I feel for them.

Some of them, and some of those who have power, will go downtown to Baltimore's Inner Harbor tonight for the fireworks show.  Police and other city officials are hoping to avoid a rerun of last year's unpleasantness, in which random fights broke out, a visitor from Alabama was fatally stabbed after an altercation, and a four-year-old child was shot in the knee.

Fights will break out any time you have more than one person in an area.  Sometimes, one is all you need, to tell you the truth.  And, sad to say, there are always going to be people who settle their petty differences by breaking off a bottle and cutting someone's jugular vein.  The goal would be to get people inclined to such violence under arrest and then give them new addresses and numbers, along with some fashionable orange jumpsuits.

But the long-standing Baltimore tradition of firing pistols in the air to celebrate the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve, and new episodes of "The Wire" needs to come to a proverbial abrupt halt.  This has been going on around here as long as we have been putting crab cakes on crackers, but for less good reason. Bullets fired into the air serve no good purpose, and since they eventually have to come back down, sometimes they land in the knee of a four-year-old.  Or worse.

I know I am treading on dangerous hallowed ground here, but I just checked the Constitution, and it didn't mention firing your Saturday Night Special for celebratory purposes.  Those who planned to fire off their phallic substitutes might consider just going outside and hollering at the moon as an alternative.

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