Drums, not bombs

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By Molly Freedenberg

A few years ago, a friend of mine lost most of his fingers when a firecracker went off in his right hand. Having gone to his house just minutes after the accident (and therefore seen the gory aftermath), it was hard to imagine a more gruesome, traumatic accident. And knowing he was a right-handed graphic designer, it was hard to imagine one more tragic.

Of course, that is, until I heard about the accident that befell Roisin Isner, drummer for the San Francisco band Tinkture. According to an email being circulated by her father, the poor girl lost her hand at Dolores Park yesterday when someone threw an M60 at Roisin and her friends. The M60 landed on Roisin’s right hand and blew it apart.roisin.jpg

Says her dad, Chris, “She will undergo surgery later this morning but it doesn't look good. Most likely she will lose her index finger; second and third fingers will also be permanently impaired and disfigured. Needless to say, her musical career is over.”

Now, losing your hand is losing your hand. And, to put it way too mildly, no matter how it happens, that sucks. But at least my friend’s accident was the result of his own actions. He knew he was taking a risk by lighting off firecrackers. I highly doubt that Roisin thought to herself, as she joined her friends to watch fireworks in the park, “I’m putting myself in danger, and I’m ready to accept those consequences.” The fact that this girl’s life and career may be changed forever because of something completely out of her control just breaks my heart.

This incident also adds to my existing ambivalence about fireworks in general. Ever since I realized the light and sound displays are meant to simulate bombs, I’ve had mixed feelings about them. Yes, they’re purrty. They also represent violence and death, and, on Independence Day, our ability to inflict both on our enemies.

And now I’m reminded again that they’re just damned dangerous – and not only for the professionals who put on those dazzling displays. While also in Dolores Park yesterday, I watched an amateur on a blanket nearby shooting a Roman Candle into the crowd. Clearly surprised by its power, he didn’t seem to know how to use, or put out, the device safely. Instead, he shot sparks every which way, and finally tried to put it out by sticking its tip in the dirt.

It’s a classic “you’ll shoot your eye out,” scenario. Except that in this case, the offender might shoot someone else’s eye out. Or someone else’s hand off.

I can only hope that Roisin heals well and quickly, and that she’s still able to play the drums. Cuz that girl’s gonna have some legitimate anger and rage and trauma to express, and if she can’t do it through her chosen method of expression, that’ll be the saddest part of all.

If you have information about who shot the M60, contact Chris Isner at chrisisner@hotmail.com.