29 Jun The Fireworks Smuggler: Keeping the Spirit of ’76 Alive by Chris Dates
“Make no mistake, when you cheer for the people of the American Revolution, you are cheering for traitors and criminals. They broke the law, because freedom is always illegal.”
– Larken Rose
It is truly something that is worth celebrating. While the masses of people in this country are lost in a sea of red, white, and blue, celebrating an event they don’t really even understand or comprehend, I’ll be celebrating something else; something that harkens back to the real meaning of the day — acts of defiance.
Every year, just before Independence Day, people who would otherwise claim to be law-abiding citizens, break the law. They seek to defy the laws that prohibit them from owning and using fireworks. They venture just outside of the political boundaries that have banned the use of fireworks except for those who have sought the proper channels; have applied for the correct licensing; and have paid for the privilege of recreating an act of which men were in open rebellion against their government. The irony of that situation is enough to make any freedom lover’s stomach churn in discontent.
It is these individual acts of rebellion that bring a smile to my face. And even though the true spirit of freedom is only smoldering in this country, it has not been extinguished. How do I know this? Because men are breaking the law to reenact an event where men were breaking the law. Of course, there is a vast difference in degree, but the principle is the same, and that principle is individual nullification of law. I’m not too sure what drives these law-abiders to break the law on such a massive scale days before Independence Day. It may be they do not want to be told that they cannot celebrate the successes of their forebears in a way they see fit, or it may be just market forces driving the event. In either case, it is certainly something I can agree with. However, I do not think it to exclusively be the latter, because not all smugglers are in it for the money. Some of them smuggle just to acquire fireworks for personal use. Some of them even take their children on their cross-border law breaking excursions.
Some of you may say, “well, they’re just smuggling fireworks, no real trouble could come of it.” In most states that have outlawed fireworks, the penalties can be just as stiff as getting caught with drugs. Further, these smugglers must evade a myriad of state defenses if they are to be successful in their smuggling endeavors. Agents of the state have been trained to catch these smugglers, and they will employ a plethora of tactics to try and stop them. Police will hunt the borders looking for vehicles that quickly run back and forth through jurisdictions. The thin blue line will also band together with their bordering state brethren to help facilitate the further fleecing of these rebels. In the states where fireworks are legal, police will prowl the parking lots of the pyrotechnics purveyors and dutifully jot down the license plates of the out-of-staters. They will then radio in the plate numbers of these law breakers where they will be quickly apprehended as soon as they cross back over the border. The penalties for these crimes against the state are more than any law-abiding citizen would usually risk in their day-to-day lives yet they risk it for Independence Day.
Along with the law breakers and the smugglers comes the loyalists. They will also be out in force calling the law on whoever dares exercise their self-ownership. One should take note of these people, because they also keep the reenactment true to form. I’ve observed this behavior for years, and I recall the first time I put all of this together. I remember thinking to myself, “this is the real reenactment complete with rebels, loyalists, and Tories.” Even the jail time and other penalties are real for those who are caught. I began to wonder if the people who engage in fireworks smuggling would have what it takes to smuggle the real thing if push came to shove. I began to wonder if these people would be the supporters of the 3%. As for the loyalists, I had no doubt what side they would take in that fight as they were already showing their hand in the reenactment.
This Independence Day I would encourage the readers of this essay to disregard the swarms of people who gather to watch the state-sanctioned fireworks display as they wave the American rag around falsely believing they are free, and focus on the illegality taking place all around you. Civil disobedience will rule the day, and even though many tons of fireworks will be confiscated, countless pounds of fireworks will be fired off with relatively little arrests made. This is because the state simply cannot handle such a large scale assault on their laws. The defiance of the law that takes place around Independence Day illustrates the lessons taught by the grasshopper and the ant story. There are simply more of us than there is of them, and if we ever truly grasp that idea — other than the disobedience surrounding Independence Day — the ruling class is finished.
The true reenactment of Independence Day will be found in these individual acts of rebellion. It will never be found in any state reenactment. Indeed, it cannot be found there, because that runs counter to what the day is supposed to represent. Maybe this is the reason that fireworks smuggling is so prevalent in this country. The smugglers and their customers know that to let the state take over the celebration is to permanently deface the day forever.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”