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article imageOp-Ed: Graduation spectators snared by Rocket's red glare

By Larry Clifton     Jun 8, 2012 in Odd News
It was near the end of graduation ceremonies at Baker County High School when the bleachers suddenly lit up like the Apocalypse Now scene when Lt. Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) said, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
Six people were injured when a fireworks component failed to lift off and blew up among a throng of spectators at the event in north Florida, according to a report.
Fireworks can be dangerous. Especially when large fireworks intended to ignite hundreds of feet in the air instead blow up in bleachers filled with spectators. So one might think - considering the zero tolerance of political correctness practiced in most school systems - that a high school graduation would not include such dangerous fireworks launched among the bleachers.
Remember the little boy who was suspended for bringing a tiny plastic toy knife to school? But launching fireworks rockets among crowded bleachers is apparently not considered a problem at Baker County High School in Macclenny, Florida - at least not before this week.
Fireworks are usually set off from end zones of the football field during games and at graduation ceremonies.
However, fireworks are likely to be banned or handled much more professionally at the school in the future. As fate would have it, at least when it comes to fireworks, one of the colorful explosives used this year was a dud, dude.
"One of the fireworks just came down. It was a dud," said Mike Wawzynski, who was injured in the explosion. "I looked up in the sky and jokingly said, 'Where'd that one go?' All the sudden, about five seconds later it lifted us and moved us. It was like an explosion, a grenade."
Wawzynski, who was watching his son graduate, still had a headache at last accounting from the blast. His wife has burns on her neck, and he reportedly said “a few others in his family were also burned.”
The video shows the graduation ceremony continues despite the deafening explosion and resulting confusion in the bleachers.
"I seriously thought somebody was maimed or killed by the size of the explosion," Wawzynski said. "If it had landed in a stroller or a baby carriage or next to someone's head, they would have been killed."
Ironically, firefighters from the city of Macclenny set off the fireworks. Reportedly, they do it from time to time, though none would comment on Friday's blast as of press time.
The school district's facilities and maintenance manager claims there is an ongoing investigation of the incident which appears to be a freak accident. Officials are discussing whether fireworks will be banned from future events.
Banned? Really?
Wawzynski said he and his family members are doing okay and no others at the event were hospitalized. The video shows that it’s no small miracle.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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