Editor's Notes

Have you seen the City Council’s fireworks-ban bill? The new restrictions would be the most severe at least since Eileen Anderson was mayor, and maybe ever. The bill would outlaw everything. You’ll be able to have firecrackers at New Year’s, and that’s pretty much it. No sparklers, no whirly-gig whatevers, no nothing.

The explanation is that people get hurt by fireworks, and that they cause property damage. The police and firefighters are agreed on this point, and the Council came back 7-2 in favor of the ban.

On the other hand, people are saying, fireworks are part of our culture, part of who we are. It’s also true, though for whatever reason we’re not hearing very much of this, that a lot of people think fireworks are really fun.

Especially children. Kids love fireworks. If you put the vote to kids, no chance they come back 7-2 against sparklers. That’s why we don’t entrust children with decisions like these. They’re all about fun and celebrating stuff and having parties.

Anyway. Cars kill people every day, but we’re not going to ban cars. We can’t, because we depend on them economically. Fireworks, on the other hand, are just for fun. Fun and culture. And we can’t have people getting injured or having homes burn down over things like that.

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself in the old, rundown graveyard next to where the Waialae Drive-In used to be. There are houses in that spot now. I’ll bet the people who live there are happy about that. A lot of people miss the drive-in, though, too. You used to be able to see the screen flicker at night from the freeway, and from way up on Maunalani Heights. It was beautiful.

Anyway. There’s a big sign at the entrance to that graveyard that says, basically, to keep out. “No trespassing. No loitering. Only people having legitimate business with Oceanview Cemetery permitted on location.” Four or five of those signs, actually.

Was I trespassing? Well. I hadn’t intended to be there. I just happened to come in, to look at the gravestones of people I’d never known, people I am not related to by blood, who had lived and died on Oahu before I was born.

There are people a cemetery wants to keep out–robbers, vandals, people like that. At the same time, though, if you’re a cemetery, where do you draw that line? If you let random strangers in, they sometimes cause harm. But we still want people to honor the dead, right? It’s part of who we are.

Wandering through the parched brown grass, I came upon the resting place of Charles Hubert, who was lost at sea in 1922. I stood there a while and thought about him. And about my business, and whether it was legitimate.