Reporting From the Land of the Free [UPDATED With Firearms and Fireworks, and a Video Highlight]

Power Line has a 4th of July tradition: Scott writes moving and profound meditations on the Declaration and the Founding, while I go to South Dakota and blow things up. Today finds me, once again, in my home town. This year we have firearms as well as fireworks on the agenda, so we will enjoy gunpowder in its manifold forms. I will update this post, or add new ones, over the course of the day. Happy Independence Day!

UPDATE: We began the morning at Lew’s, a fireworks emporium on the outskirts of town. You can buy pretty much anything there. Here are two of my daughters with our shopping cart, about to check out:

Here they are in the sparkler/parachute aisle:

One innovation this year is a line of fireworks honoring the local high school sports teams, the Arrows. Their colors are purple and gold:

As in prior years, the centerpiece of our fireworks purchases was a large box that contains a reloadable mortar and 24 shells. As we were checking out, we chatted with the people behind us in line. We mentioned that we were going to shoot this afternoon, and set off fireworks tonight. They thought that sounded like an excellent plan. The girl who was ringing up our fireworks volunteered that her family had done its shooting last night: long guns and handguns, the calibers of which she rattled off. Sadly, the odds would be against this kind of conversation where we live in the Minneapolis suburbs.

So we picked up my brother and one of his .22 rifles and headed for the outdoor public range where we shot last December. Unfortunately, it was closed from July 1 through July 15, so we went with Plan B: a wood pile in a meadow near where my brother lives. We started with the rifle:

That's me

My middle daughter

Then we moved closer to the targets and broke out the handguns: my brother’s .22, my Sig .22, and my Armalite AR-24 and Sig P938. My 16-year-old hit the target’s bulls-eye with one round:

Daughter number two with a semiauto pistol

The girls were rather proud of their shooting. Here they have finished and are checking out the targets:

So now we are back at the lake. First, some rib eye steaks; then, when it starts getting dark, we will start in on the fireworks.

FINAL UPDATE: Our fireworks show went off without a hitch, unless you count a spent firework reigniting a half hour or so later. Hey, that’s why we keep a bucket handy. This was one of our many overhead explosions:

This short (less than 30 seconds) video begins by panning across the lake; it was taken early in the evening’s festivities and before most of the displays around the lake had begun, but still gives a sense of the view. At the end, our own show merges with that of a next-door neighbor in impressive fashion: