Talk about blowing up in your face.
Three days after Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill making fireworks legal in Maine beginning in 2012, a boy was seriously injured by fireworks in coastal Georgetown.
"The father was lighting off the fireworks on a back porch when one seemingly misfired and exploded," according to a sheriff's department report, "sending pieces of the device at the 11-year-old and causing injury to his eye."
The boy was treated at the scene then transported to Maine Medical Center.
Over the same weekend, governors across the country were forbidding fireworks — even professional displays — due to dry conditions and the high risk of forest fires.
An inauspicious start for Maine's new fireworks law.
In February we called the legalization of fireworks one of the "more seriously misguided bills" before the Maine Legislature. Previous attempts to legalize them had fizzled, but the mood this year was entirely different.
There was, of course, the job-creation argument. There will be seasonal employment opportunities created when the fireworks shacks start appearing next summer on Maine highways, supporters said.
One New Hampshire fireworks dealer has already promised to open three stores in our state.
Then there was the questionable sales tax revenue the bill backers see the state earning from fireworks.
But some of the money spent on fireworks likely would have been spent on some other form of entertainment and amusement, offsetting any revenue increase.
What's more, any additional money will go toward enforcing fireworks regulations and putting out grass fires resulting from errant missiles.
There was also a fair amount of New Hampshire envy in this year's Legislature. If the Granite State has fireworks, we should too.
Less discussed was New Hampshire's role as the merchant of eye injuries, eager to sell fireworks to tourists passing through the state but forbidding their use there.
We're happy to sell them, but don't explode them here. How cynical is that?
Indeed, the fireworks that injured the boy Monday had been purchased in New Hampshire.
Then there was the general tea party/libertarian flavor of this year's Legislature. Attempts to protect people from themselves are simply out of favor at the moment.
So, by next summer, what was once illegal will be legal. According to the new law, that means anything causing "combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation..." including "firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, bombs, rockets, wheels, colored fires, fountains, mines, serpents and other fireworks of like construction."
The new law does, fortunately, allow Maine's communities to "adopt an ordinance to allow or prohibit the sale, use or possession of consumer fireworks within the municipality."
And we hope Maine's larger communities will take steps soon to adopt sensible restrictions. Houses and apartment buildings in urban areas are just too close together to allow their use.
Banning fireworks in high-density areas will make towns safer and reduce neighborhood conflicts.
As for the rest of Maine, we can only hope for the best.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.