Have a crack! Go on… They’re just fireworks!

WARNING: There are graphic images of firework injuries below….

Yesterday Territorians celebrated Northern Territory Day, marking the commencement of Self Government in the Territory on 1 July 1978. Most states celebrate the day they became independent by having a public holiday. In Darwin, we celebrate by turning the evening into a disaster zone.

Let me tell you what happens…. For 2 days, fireworks are sold to members of the public over 16 years of age, and sales must cease by 9pm on July 1st.  These people are then free to ignite and set off their fireworks.

The government and Council always have a list of guidelines when lighting your own fireworks. I have made some comments in bold italics after each point.

* The sale of fireworks will be restricted to two days. Fireworks can only be purchased between the hours of 9am and 9pm on those two days, from approved fireworks retailers. They cannot be sold to persons under 16 years of age. (Well this is basically what does happen. The firework retailers make a fortune and to have their selling license revoked to stay open an extra hour, or to sell to a minor would not be worth it for them)

  • * Fireworks can only be ignited between 6pm and 11pm on Territory Day. For all other occasions a special permit is required. (Can someone explain why I could hear fireworks going off constantly throughout the night, at one point, waking my sleeping child because it sounded like a canon)

* Unused fireworks can be handed into NT WorkSafe or your local Police and Fire stations. (Riiiiigght. Sure. Like this EVER happens. Left over fireworks get used at the discrepancy of those who have purchased them. Meaning – whenever and wherever the hell they like.)

* Strict penalties apply under the Dangerous Goods Act for breaches of fireworks regulations with fines of up to $3000. (Great, but how many people actually get fined? I would LOVE to know the stats on that one!)

Let me just say, I’m not against fireworks for celebrations. I love fireworks. Always have. What I’m against is selling them to anyone.  Because for every responsible person that does the right thing, and abides by the guidelines to increase safety, there are about 10 who don’t.

My question is:  Why can’t the government put on a HUGE display for all people in Darwin. That’s what they do in all the regional areas of the Territory. Why do city dwellers get a license to explode? You only have to go to the NYE fireworks in Sydney to understand that having one big display encourages unity, consideration and makes the night so special. Sure there are drunken idiots there too, but they’re not armed with dangerous explosives.

Having pockets of people scattered not only creates competition, “There’s are pretty big, let’s get out our big ones and blow there fireworks out of the water,” but it is also impossible to police how much those using the fireworks are drinking.  Surely after 6 beers, lighting a firework in a public place can be as hazardous as driving a car.

So anyway, last night when I realised watching television or reading a book was futile (because it sounded like World War 3 outside in my suburban neighbourhood), I do what I always do when I feel an inner cyclone coming on. I put scribble to paper and wrote this:

 

 

Right now I’m just so furious I want to punch something hard!
But that would only aggravate the blatant disregard…

of all the stupid bogans that are outdoors tonight.
No they are not drinking, neither are they in a fight.

But they are causing havoc, making trouble, being clowns.
Is this what I should just accept living in Darwin town?

I wish I could invite you now, into my Lounge Room…
And this is what you’d hear: Whistle, crack, bang, chk-chk BOOM!

We’re apparently celebrating Northern Territory Day.
But it’s really an excuse for the idiots to play.

You see in the Northern Territory anyone can buy…
as many fireworks as they like and for a price that’s high.

They sell them for a whole two days prior to tonight.
Our officials in the government think that makes it alright.

“Surely if there’s just two days to stock up on supplies..
The fireworks will be limited as will pollution to our skies.”

I guess they just don’t realise that many go to shop
For the biggest loudest fireworks that go : Snap Crackle & Pop!

So these bogans – cashed up bogans, have spent serious truck loads!
And council cleanup tomorrow will cost serious f**k loads!

photo by NT News

But you know – the government (that silly bunch of fools)
Release a statement every year about the ‘Firework Rules.’

“You must not set a firework beyond 11pm
And remember there’s exclusion zones; they’ll be policed again.”

But with alcohol flowing freely the rules are just forgotten.
I feel sorry for the fire-fighters who must think this night is rotten.

The fire danger’s always high, and every year there’s reckless flames.
Cause surely… lighting fireworks yourself is fun and games.

Yet every single year the average number is thirty five.
Those who spend the night in hospital trying to survive.

Every year there’s injuries to limbs, fingers and eyes.
And I wonder… how many idiots actually copped a fine?

  

Like the brainless twat who last year didn’t give a damn.
He sent a baby to emergency when he shot fireworks at a pram!

So the fire-fighters, paramedics, doctors and police…
…are all on hand in quantities to try and keep the peace.

And minimise the damage, and try and maintain the law.
So I’m asking now – Where are you? Cause there’s fireworks at my door!

They’re almost in my backyard, there are fireworks galore!
They’re noisy and obnoxious. It sounds like there’s a war!

I want to go outside and shout out loud: “You stupid dicks!
You careless bunch of bastards, you reckless selfish pricks!”

I should mention there are those who responsibly spend…
…the evening being careful celebrating with their friends.

They only go to areas where fireworks are allowed.
They’re cautious with their explosives and respectful of the crowd.

But sadly that’s not everyone. There are way too many jerks.
So I’m pleading with the government: Stop the free-for-all Fireworks!

Now I’d be the first to tell you that fireworks are amazing
They’re sparkly and they’re pretty just like little bits of sky bling.

photo by NT News

But with boundaries there is safety. With restrictions there’s control.
And this mess and noise and damage are starting to take its toll.

Isn’t that the reason, NT finally fell in line?
And introduced demerit points in like – 2009? ***

And changed the speeding limit so there actually was one?
Because the road tolls and the accidents were no longer any fun.

It just makes sense to me, to keep it one big show.
And no longer sell fireworks to any Tom, Dick or Jo.

STOP the Private Fireworks. That is my new slogan.
The only ones who’ll be upset are all the stupid bogans!

*** Demerit points were actually introduced to the NT in July of 2007, 2 years earlier than stated above.

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6 comments

  1. Scott · July 2, 2010

    Call the Waaaaaaaaaaaambulance…..

    CRACKERS TO STAY !

    • cyclonecindy · July 2, 2010

      WAAAAAAH! You mean like a baby?
      I wonder what you’d be saying if that was your kid in the pram last year??

      Yep, you would’ve called the ambulance. Oh, and there’d be tears. Plenty!

      Before you make ignorant judgments on me because you happened to enjoy your night, why don’t you speak to some of those victims and workers in the Burns unit….

      WAAAAAAHHHH!

      • Scott · July 7, 2010

        I have children, i have myself been burnt because of idiots.
        I also have a dog (who was let inside and music was put on) which is scared to death of them.

        But just because some people make fools of themselves and perform dangerous stunts does not mean the majority of people should miss out.

        Imagine if we lived in a world where if something bad happened they banned it !

        No more cars. (bloody hoons young and old)
        No more golf. (yep golf balls can kill)
        No more crayons. (bloody kids eating them)
        No more make up. (allergic reactions)

        The list would go on forever.

        People make the choice to go to areas “where something may go wrong” because they choose to, not because they are forced. If they have concerns they can always go to the professional show and stand back and enjoy.

        A little thinking is all it takes to be safe.

      • cyclonecindy · July 9, 2010

        “Bloody kids eating crayons” Scott… you are my new favourite commenter!!

        By the way, I agree 100% You are right, it’s not fair that idiots tend to ruin it for the responsible and well-behaved. And one of the things I LOVE about living here is that whole “Only In Darwin” cliche that the rest of Australia brand us with.

        Yes, only in Darwin, and that’s why we LOVE it here.
        BUT… sometimes there comes a point when the safety and consideration of others (and their pets) takes precedence. I’m not sure about your suburb, but mine has been hearing fireworks every night since Cracker Night. There’s no longer a threat of harm, but it proves the blatant disregard of the guidelines.

        I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said: It has long been recognised that problems relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a good thing.

        Lighing our own fireworks is unbelievably cool. Call them what you want – but they are explosives. There’s a reason you need a gun license. Shooting is brilliant fun too. But dick heads have a way of ruining everything good.

  2. Mel · July 2, 2010

    Hi Miss Cindy,

    I am a Territorian born and raised and as you know I am a parent of 3 boys… I can see where you are coming from with dickheads going crazy and having no respect for others
    in the week leading up to cracker night and sometimes for months afterwards (depending on where you live)

    But I just wanted to say that my gorgeous family love cracker night! We stay at home in our nice little dead end street and all the kids sit in seats along the fence line with the next door neighbours kids and a few friends…. we buy a bag of crackers and the neighbours buy a bag… the kids have ice creams and little chocolate treats and WE ARE RESPONSIBLE!

    My boys LOVE it and get so excited the morning of cracker night…. its lots of fun!

    As I was lucky enough to grow up enjoying the experience of cracker night and now I get to share it with my boys…. I love it and want it to stay!

    Unfortunately there are losers who take it to the extreme but as for babies being hurt, as a parent you really have to access where you are and how high the risk is for your children.
    We stay at home so we can control the environment and the safety of our kids.

    For the past 2 years crackers have only been available for sale for 1 day – July 1st to help combat people lighting them early and being hoons.

    Always love reading your blogs but just wanted to share our experience with you regarding cracker night…… its not all bad

    xxx

    • cyclonecindy · July 2, 2010

      Hi Mel.

      Thanks, I can really understand now how there are those that thoroughly enjoy the night in safety, and that banning the sale of fireworks would make the night somewhat.. nothing? to a family who incorporate the night into part of their annual traditions. Very important family traditions……

      I also know without a doubt that there are MANY who enjoy the night responsibly and carefully, without spending a ridiculous amount on fireworks that they can’t possibly light in 5 hours. Some of my closest Darwin friends are those who gather on the beach and have a beautiful, safe night, and in fact, for the last 2 years, I have joined them.

      HOWEVER, both times there were accidents close by which made me feel not quite comforatble. Like the fire 20 meters away from where we were sitting.

      I truly understand those who want to keep it! Why stop it when it’s so much fun, and posing no risks to anyone you’re with…

      But this is how I think…. There are probably many who can be over the limit ever so slightly and still drive home safely. There are hundereds who can drive beyond 150km on a country road and not have an accident. Unfortunately, laws are often made to protect the minority, or -to PREVENT the minority of idiots.

      Living in close proximity to the city, I can tell you the crackers went off all night. They went off in backyards and driveways, and the went off horizontally across main roads. It was scary. It doesn’t matter what guidelines are in place, they are simply ignored. And I’m sure on your street those setting off fireworks weren’t full of piss. Like every celebratory day, (ie Australia Day, Anzac Day) there are those who choose to be hooligans. Territory Day is no different, except that it’s hooligans with explosives.

      Wouldn’t it be good if there was some kind of screening process to stop the dick heads buying the fireworks. Maybe they should make every person apply for a permit a week before, although, that would be more of a strain on the public service than the accidents and damage already are. I don’t know, I just think having one huge big display in a few spots around town – people could still enjoy the excitement of fireworks without the hazards. But then again, it’s not my tradition…

      BTW – drove past the other day and saw some good stuff. I need to visit! xoxo
      PS – Hope you don’t think I was calling you a bogan….

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