Do you ever have those incidents where looking back you knew in your gut that what you were about to do just was not a good idea and unsafe? When all your instincts are telling you no but for one reason or another you ignored them? Instincts are a tricky thing, we often don’t like to trust them but seems like they are usually right to some degree.
This past weekend for the 4th of July festivities I was attending a firework show, and I must add that it was a pretty amateur one at that. This show is put on by some individuals at a beach spot where many families came to watch the show, a show that has gone on for many years previous. Everyone did not have any reason to believe this show not be like any other?
There we sat on the beach, about 30 feet from the base of launching, great front row seats. As the crew was getting things in order I began to get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that said “this is stupid”…..”this does not seem safe AT ALL”. I ignored it. We continued to get situated, my in-laws and nieces and nephews all sitting in beach chairs or standing. As the show neared I felt like we should move back….way back even. This just did not seem right, and I rationalized in my head that everyone was doing it then how dangerous could it be? Just another July 4th fireworks show.
I did nothing and the show went on.
The first firework went up with a loud thud on the launch. I remember thinking that I had never sat this close, so close that I could feel the thud from just the launch. Then it exploded, right above our heads. Beautiful! I had never seen them that close before. Amazing. My nervousness then got a little more intense, and as a spontaneous person I don’t often have things that make me nervous. You think that would have made me pay even more attention to this unique feeling that was festering in my belly. NOPE.
Then it happened.
All the sudden some sparks began flying at the base of the launch site. Sparks that were clearly not part of the show. Then all of the sudden a mortar round that was supposed to explode in the sky ignited and shot everywhere, right past my head! I was holding my 18month old daughter at the time (wrapped in a blanket), and as the first round shot past us I saw that the whole bucket of mortars was ignited and would be blowing any second. Without further hesitation I turned so my back was toward the blast, guarding my daughter, and ran as fast as I could on the sand toward the boardwalk. Screaming ensued and as I reached a safe distance I realized that my 3 year old son and wife were still on the beach. I screamed for them and could see the mob of my extended family headed toward me and the blasts beginning to die off. Sure enough they reached the boardwalk safely and we made our way further from the beach and made sure we were all fine. The brother in-law had some burns as well as his 2 year old daughter.
It seemed like everyone was ok. No real sign of serious injury from the crowd either. My 3 year old son was pretty shaken up and needless to say didn’t want to see any more fireworks that night. I told my wife that we needed to go.
As we walked up the road I was in shock when I heard the show start back up again! “Are you kidding me” I thought. I guess they thought they had it under control now. I for sure was not having my family stick around to find out if they did or not.
As I think back now I realize that I didn’t give enough credit to my gut instinct. You see your gut instinct is not just random, it’s formed over time and experiences and it’s rarely wrong in these types of situations. So why ignore it
Well my reasons were very superficial, considering the negative consequences of the situation and possible injuries that could have transpired. I mainly didn’t want to disrupt the plan. I didn’t want to make any of my family move and cause any sort of a scene. Dare I say I didn’t want to sacrifice my pride in it all? Be seen as overcautious.
Silly reasons really.
Considering what could have happened, I would have felt extreme guilt had anyone been seriously injured.
In talking to my father and brother in-law they had similar feelings before the event but also stayed quiet. I could not help but think of the great quote on inaction.
The only thing necessarily for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
While the men in question were not evil in their intention (that I know of), our role as fathers and husbands needs to be at the forefront of our minds in all situations. Our instincts play a critical role in our duties and we need to have the proper perspective. Something as seemingly innocent as a fireworks display needs to be assessed against our role.
The question to ask is not “what will they think of me” or “will this be too much of an inconvenience” but rather “what is the worst case scenario” and “what minor thing could I do that would greatly decrease the chance of injury”. Then it makes the action a little easier to justify. I sure wouldn’t want one of my kids taking a mortar to the face. A move to sit up on the dune, further away would have made a huge difference on safely and little on the quality of show we got.
When have you ignored your instincts and lost?