Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Why not firecrackers?

As expected, celebratory bullets went up in Baghdad and came back down. People were hurt and a gas truck was struck and exploded. Why doesn't this happen as often in America? Firecrackers.

I asked Fayrouz if they have fireworks in Iraq. She said they had public shows, but no personal fireworks because they were controlled by the government.

The Washington Post has a story about how easily weapons can be purchased in Iraqi cemeteries. I read another story somewhere (I can't find it now), but it stated hand grenades are sold in a Baghdad market for $0.25 (4 for a $1).

In yet another story I heard on NPR, a drunk individual decided to throw a concussion grenade for fun in Baghdad. Why? Because he could.

I'm sure there would be similar treatment of concussion grenades in America if it was legal. Instead, America allows its residents to purchase relatively safe (at least compared to grenades) firecrackers and other fireworks. Where and when they can be sold and fired is another matter, but let's stick with the premise for now.

On special occasions, many young Americans play with these minor explosives and other harmless fireworks (sparklers are still very popular). It's how we celebrate. It also teaches us a little about responsibility and improves hand-eye coordination (or how to treat minor burns - take your pick).

The point?

It would be a great idea for the CPA to have a fireworks-for-bullets trade. The Iraqi folks would get a package of sparklers for each five bullets (an example) they turn in. They could opt for a pack of firecrackers for 10 bullets instead. Or, they could have a whole pack (brick) of firecrackers for a grenade. Maybe a gross of bottle rockets or 50 Roman candles for an AK rifle.

If they find a hidden weapons storage area and do trades by the truckload to resell in the market - FINE. Let them do it. The end result is the desired result: less weapons on the street, less rounds falling from the sky, safer and happier drunks at 3 a.m.

Enough for now,

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