Back at the turn of the last century (i.e., 1900), newspapers exhorted their readers to observe a “safe and sane” Fourth of July. That’s because in communities big and small all across America, the founding of our nation had become a popular excuse for roving groups of young men to engage in mayhem of all sorts, causing indiscriminate and serious damage to private and pubic property starting at 12:01 AM of the Fourth.
The widespread rowdiness caused so much destruction that a “safe and sane Fourth” became a rallying cry among both public officials and the public at large. Within a short time, the public safety campaign and public awareness soon all but eliminated the problem.
Although the practices of more than 100 years ago are long since gone, there are far too many Americans who still see our mid-summer holiday as a time to blow off some steam as if anything goes.
We’re all for having a good time with friends and family members, but too much of a good thing always is a bad idea. Drinking and driving remains the number one preventable public health threat throughout the nation. Drinking and boating is not far behind. Overly indulging in alcohol while behind the wheel of a vehicle of any sort always is a recipe for disaster and our police will be out in force over the holiday weekend to ensure that drunk drivers are removed from the road. We also would remind our readers that friends don’t let friends drive drunk — no one wants to say to themselves the next day, “If only I’d done the right thing and taken away his/her keys.”
The use of fireworks is prohibited in Massachusetts. Moreover, adults who drink and set off fireworks, or who allow children to play with fireworks, are risking the loss of an eye or worse by engaging in behavior that at heart is childish, bothersome to neighbors, and dangerous. There are plenty of fireworks displays in this area for everyone to enjoy without the need to engage in one’s own pyrotechnics.
We wish all of our readers a happy — and safe and sane — Fourth of July.