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It may be too late to douse fireworks

It may be too late to douse fireworks

Now that people have had their fun, repealing laws unlikely to have any effect

Maybe Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of the state Legislature who opened the Pandora's Box on fireworks should have to spend next Fourth of July weekend in Schenectady.

Don't forget to bring your dogs, and maybe an infant, or a grandparent or two.

Only then might they realize what a bonehead play it was for them to authorize the sale of "sparklers" and other small fireworks in exchange for a few dollars of sales tax revenue.

By cracking open the door to small-scale fireworks in the state — an issue that wasn't anywhere near the top of anyone's list of things the Legislature needed to do — the state practically encouraged the unfettered abuse of illegal fireworks.

The very predictable result was people going overboard with the fireworks, setting off loud, massive displays in the middle of streets and in backyards in neighborhoods — inviting a real potential for house fires and encouraging an alcohol-fueled revelry of loud explosions lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.

Never mind that some people actually work early in the morning and need to sleep. Never mind that most small children don't stay up til 2 a.m. Have you ever try to get an infant back to sleep after he’s been startled awake? And dever mind that loud explosions are well known to freak out pets, particularly dogs.

Great job, guys. Hope it was worth it.

So we certainly sympathize with Schenectady city officials' efforts to curb the annoyances by asking the Schenectady County Legislature to repeal the local legislation that allowed the sale of sparklers within county borders.

But now that the genie has been let out of the bottle, we doubt it will do much good.

For starters, the real fireworks that keep people up at night and dogs scrambling for cover under the couch are the illegal kind. People have to go out of state or order them online to get them.

Secondly, surrounding counties all allow the sale of the items. So it would be little bother for any fireworks enthusiast to drive into Clifton Park or Albany or Colonie or Amsterdam and find a big white tent or supermarket where the items are sold. They'll get the stuff anyway.

It's highly unlikely the state will recognize its mistake and repeal the law, not that it would matter much. New Yorkers have been bitten by the fireworks bug and they're unlikely to stop now, especially since their chances of getting caught and prosecuted are slim.

We suppose if the county wants to rescind its approval, it should go ahead. It at least will send some sort of message that the practice is discouraged. But that message should also be accompanied by an educational campaign about the illegality of other fireworks and by stepped-up law enforcement patrols on the nights when local displays are most likely to happen.

Maybe local neighborhood groups can start a campaign encouraging others to be courteous to their fellow citizens. But how well do you think that will resonate with people already inclined not to give a damn?

Other than that, the best solutions available to the fireworks problem might just be to cover your ears, lock the dog in the basement, and pray for rain.

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