Three years ago yesterday, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre Paul — fresh off of a franchise tag — essentially blew up his hand in a fireworks incident.
On July 4, 2018, in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks, Pierre Paul posted a throwback photo of his mangled fist and it honestly may be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. So disgusting, in fact, that I’m not even going to link it here. If you want to see it, go search for it yourself.
Anyway, Pierre Paul is a Floridian — he was born in Florida, went to the University of South Florida, and he blew off his hand in Florida — so it got me thinking: how did Floridians fare this Fourth of July?
The answer: some fingers were definitely been lost.
On Tuesday, July 3, (because they just couldn’t wait until the 4th), Ryan Dobard, a Brevard County man, blew off his fingers and eyebrows.
“We thought he was playing at first, but his hand was just demolished.I just seen blood just shoot up in the air. It was crazy, right up on the balcony up there,” a friend told ClickOrlando.
Then on July 4th, a Lauderhill man had to have part of his hand amputated due to a fireworks mishap. But it doesn’t stop there, as a fireworks operator in Surfside was “burned in the chest and face” due to fireworks. Finally, two more people were injured in Pompano Beach — one of which lost a finger.
And of course, because it’s Florida, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for their ass-backward fireworks laws: in Florida, while you can buy fireworks, they are not technically legal. Uhhhh … huh?
via Florida Politics:
The Tampa Tribune in 2014 called fireworks sales in Florida an “institutionalized charade,” leading one lawmaker to call for “more freedom (and) less fraud.”
Retail sales are allowed only because of a 62-year-old loophole in the law, the only known one of its kind in the country. That allows “fireworks … to be used solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.”
Indeed, anyone who’s bought fireworks from a roadside tent over the years may remember signing a form acknowledging the buyer falls under an agricultural, fisheries or other exemption.
For the record, fireworks can also be used for “signal purposes or illumination” of a railroad or quarry, “for signal or ceremonial purposes in athletics or sports, or for use by military organizations.”
Enforcement is up to local police and fire agencies, and case law says fireworks vendors aren’t responsible for verifying that buyers actually intend to chase off egrets or light up a track meet.
Florida, I’ll never understand you, but I’ll always love you.