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It starts about a week before Independence Day. It lasts through the 4th of July and the following two days. Fireworks. Pops, bangs, cracks, explosions, fires. Every year, we put up with this nonsense. Every year someone gets his hand blown off or an eye put out. But what the hey. It’s patriotic. There’s something about loud explosives that commands a sense of patriotism. Like that’s how our ancestors secured this great country for us, right? Well, I think our ancestors would shake their heads in dismay to see the senselessness of what goes on in the name of freedom these days.

Five days before Independence day, Tablerock—the aptly named, flat-topped mountain that rises 700 feet from the valley floor and hosts a wildly controversial cross, along with myriad antennae and cell towers—exploded in an inferno of flames that destroyed one home, blackened over 2,500 acres of land, and wrecked one of Boise’s favorite playgrounds and home to urban wildlife.

All this, thanks the recklessness of a zealous patriot. Like much of Idaho’s legal framework, the state, county, and city send mixed messages about the legality of fireworks. The city has banned fireworks in the foothills, but fireworks stands are free to sell all manner of flammable explosives. We can’t interfere with commerce, ya know!

Those homes down there got quite an eyeful early Thursday morning.

Those homes down there got quite an eyeful early Thursday morning.

Hikers & bikers are asked not to stray off the path.

Hikers & bikers are asked not to stray off the path.

But, ya know, some people just gotta do their own thing.

But, ya know, some people just gotta do their own thing.

The fire burned fiercely hot.

The fire burned fiercely hot.

Even scorching the ever-present dog poop

Even scorching the ever-present dog poop

 . . . and trash

. . . and trash

But, oh look, here's some NEW trash to decorate the burn!

But, oh look, here’s some NEW trash to decorate the burn!

View from the top . . . the cross was "miraculously" saved by it's lofty position, bolted into granite that doesn't burn

View from the top . . . the cross was “miraculously” saved by it’s lofty position, bolted into granite that doesn’t burn

But here's who I'm worried about.

But here’s who I’m worried about.

I hope the numbnuts who started this fire will be identified and prosecuted to the highest degree. (No pun intended.) Maybe they can pay some retribution in sweat labor to restore the decimated plant and animal habitat.