Playing with fire

It’s become a cliche’, the phrase “children with matches,” but every now and then we get stories in the news that remind us why it’s such a potent metaphor for trouble.

A while ago, a friend of mine told me about a camping trip he went on. One of the ladies present didn’t approve of his Axe body spray, so while he was in the outhouse, she tossed it in a trash bag. A bit later, someone else decided to dispose of the trash by tossing it on the campfire.

One of the other guys present, nicknamed “Kenny” for his long history of getting injured in spectacular fashions, was standing near the fire at the time. Rumor has it that he’s still missing at least one eyebrow.

But my friend’s group got off lucky.

In Rochester, New Hampshire, a bunch of kids were having a gathering around an outdoor stove when a 15-year-old girl thought it might be helpful (or, perhaps, entertaining) to toss gasoline on the stove. A 17-year-old boy was standing nearby, and was promptly covered in flames. He saved himself by diving into an above-ground pool, but was burned over 90% of his body — and half the burns are 3rd-degree.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a 12-year-old boy has been arrested. It seems he likes setting fires — especially in church. He’s being charged with starting two fires there, as well as breaking off fingers from a statue of Mary and destroying a large crucifix.

Police say that there is no indication of a “grudge” against the church. Apparently it was just coincidence that he’s apparently only started fires and committed vandalism in that one place.

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