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'Hazardous Materials'

July 05, 1987

In his anti-fireworks diatribe "Fireworks: Hazardous Materials" (June 21), Ron Coleman advances the same old burned-out arguments. He thinks there is something wrong with our system. I think there is something wrong with Coleman's brain.

As a fire chief he seems rather ignorant about the facts. The apartment house he refers to that burned down last year was caused by the use of illegal fireworks. Why isn't this stated? The label "safe and sane" is an official designation given to certain fireworks that can legally be sold in California. It takes no genius to realize that sparklers and fountains are safer than fireworks that explode or fly through the air.

Coleman equates fireworks with "hazardous materials." However, the hazardous materials he refers to are no doubt mostly toxic chemicals. He should say so. If fireworks are hazardous materials, then so are guns, cars, and food processors. Each of these things has an intended use and all can be hazardous if used improperly.

Anti-fireworks sentiment (the prohibition mentality) is nourished by the totalitarian impulse. It stems from the desire for a sterile and controlled society where "experts " make decisions for the majority because it is thought the majority aren't capable of accepting personal responsibility or making decisions for themselves.

Yes, it is indeed unfortunate that a minority of people injure themselves with fireworks while the majority who use and enjoy them do not. Parents who do not supervise their children or teach them safe practices are stupid.

The continued use of wooden shingles on housing is also stupid, as people living near undeveloped areas will attest. Instead of preaching the pyrotechnic blues, Coleman should direct his energies toward educating the public about proper use of fireworks. It would be more useful, and the system would benefit.

PETER J. SABATINI JR.

Irvine

Sabatini is licensed by the state of California as a pyrotechnic operator .

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