It was dusk on this beautiful Fourth of July. I set off from Leavenworth for home before 10 p.m., expecting a peaceful drive down the Wenatchee Valley. Somewhere near Peshastin I heard an explosion, and then another. There were bright flashes, ahead, behind, port and starboard. Across the river rockets streaked skyward, as if someone had given the command to open fire. There was plenty of red glare, bombs bursting in air. The long American tradition of celebrating freedom by blowing things up was at full roar.
Every one of those rockets was illegal. It is a crime just to possess them. The fireworks possessors had committed another crime when they lit the fuse. This was a holiday celebrated by mass misdemeanor. I imagined the fireworks police patrols would be out in force, the deputies boarding their armored personnel carriers to enter the battle zones. From the looks of things there would be mass arrests, a sensible response to mass lawlessness.