When the mayor of Los Angeles used what could be mistaken for a cool science project to talk about firework safety, it quickly became clear that his warning had an unintended consequence.
City officials wanted to remind residents before the Fourth of July that the personal use of dangerous fireworks is illegal. So they posted a video to Vimeo that shows Mayor Eric Garcetti, Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas, Police Deputy Chief Dennis Kato, and City Attorney Mike Feuer telling residents that unauthorized fireworks are "never safe and never sane."
Then Garcetti took the warnings a step further by tweeting a clip of a watermelon being blown up by a stick-of-gum-sized firework. Garcetti was serious, but he may have misjudged his audience:
I don't think this picture has the deterrent effect the Mayor is hoping for. Who knew blowing up a watermelon could be so much fun? https://t.co/on9HfChV9s
— Walter Russell Mead (@wrmead) July 3, 2018
Until 2 hours ago I had never contemplated the possibility of blowing up a watermelon with fireworks. It's now all I can think about.
— Casey Mattox (@CaseyMattox_) July 3, 2018
Friendly advice: if you want to convince Americans not to use fireworks over the 4th of July, don't use an awesome video of fireworks blowing up a watermelon to make your point. https://t.co/hAF520JMco
— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) July 3, 2018
The Los Angeles County Fire Department lists the various penalties for the sale, manufacturing, and use of fireworks per the County of Los Angeles Fire Code, Title 32, Section 5601.3. If any Angelenos do decide to engage in this traditional form of American fun, they are required to make sure they are using fireworks with the official "safe and sane" logo. Anyone possessing or using dangerous fireworks, which is a separate class of explosives reserved for larger devices, can be fined anywhere from $500 to $50,000, depending on the fireworks' weight.