Bang! You’re Dead

In the Hutong
Trying to get the cordite smell out of the air
1113 hrs.

Xinhua is reporting that fireworks in Beijing have killed one person and injured 270 over the Chinese New Year.

You see, this is where I start to have a serious problem with moral relativism. You say it is part of China’s culture to set off fireworks and has been for a thousand years. I say it’s wrong.

I say look at the pollution and litter caused by fireworks.

At the factory explosions that level entire city blocks.

At the fires that destroy homes and lives.

And, of course, the toll of dead and injured.

Fireworks are made of gunpowder. Gunpowder was created to kill people and break things. Fireworks are an accidental, incidental application of the material.

For a little perspective on what we’re talking about, police in Beijing confiscated 560 million illegal fireworks this year. At an average of, say, one gram of high explosive per, that’s about 1.3 million pounds of TNT. To put this into perspective, a fully-loaded B-52 Stratofortress bomber carries 51 500-lb Mk-82 Snake Eye bombs. That means that just the illegal fireworks confiscated in Beijing would fill 50 B-52 bombers. And that’s not even taking into consideration the 380,000 crates of fireworks sold legally, which at (I’m guessing) 10 lbs per crate, would fill another 150 heavy bombers.

Allowing millions of pounds of high explosives into the hands of people who have neither training nor the understanding of pyrotechnics to handle them safely seems to me a pretty straightforward example of a really bad idea.

In any culture.