You may not have realized it at the time, but this week ushered in a new normal for Iowans: It was the first Fourth of July after the sale of fireworks became legal in our state. If Knoxville is any example, city ordinances banning the use of fireworks carry almost no deterrent value. Here, piercing explosions could be heard at all hours -— days before the official holiday, and they will surely be heard in the days to come.

Don’t be fooled: Fireworks purchased in Iowa will be set off in Iowa, regardless of what quaint city or county ordinances are on the books. The vendors know it; the state legislators know it; and we should all get used to it. Expect fireworks to become part of every celebration large and small. Expect to not only hear your neighbor’s birthday, graduation, or football victory party — expect to feel it. Expect your windows to rattle from the festivities. Expect the local police to tire from trying to enforce this unenforceable ordinance. This is our new normal. We’ll be startled during dinner. We’ll be woken from a sound sleep. Our pets will cower in corners and under tables.

The relatively quiet life we all took for granted is gone. It’s been traded for a slight bump in sales tax revenue.

Kentin Waits


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