Reading police stories is sometimes reading the chronicles of stupidity. You just have to shake your head.
A 19-year-old Mount Desert Island man was charged with reckless conduct after someone threw a can of gasoline on a bonfire at 3 a.m. Sunday, according to a story from the Bangor Daily News.
First, when you find yourself starting a bonfire at 3 a.m., it’s time to carefully consider how you have spent the past several hours and probably call it a night.
In this case, another man standing around the fire was severely burned and eventually left the Ellsworth hospital via a LifeFlight helicopter bound for the burn unit at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
The incident echoes another in March when a Bingham man suffered burns on his legs, arms and face after trying to restart a fire in his wood stove with gasoline, according to Maine State Police.
In 2010, meanwhile, two youngsters were seriously burned in separate incidents after throwing gasoline on fires. One later died at the Shriner Burn Center in Boston.
With the outdoor campfire season upon us, this warning bears repeating: Never use gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil or diesel fuel to start, restart or enhance an open fire.
You may get away with it, but eventually the result is a fireball that can instantly leave a person with painful, life-threatening and nearly always disfiguring burns.
Worse, children sometimes see a parent or other adult use a petroleum product to start a fire. When the child tries to do the same thing, the result can be horrifying. The child either ends up in flames or enveloped in a fireball.
If you cannot start a fire with newspaper, matches and some persistence, whatever you are trying to burn is probably too wet.
If not, pick up a Boy Scout manual. There’s an art to safely building a fire and, apparently, too many people do not understand it.
Another recent incident belongs in the same category of really unfortunate, and nearly deadly, behavior.
Two Chesterville residents face charges after an argument over a dented mailbox resulted in one of the men threatening the other with a loaded handgun.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Niles Yeaton said Monday that one man discovered his mailbox had been dented and confronted another man.
That man responded by picking up a 5-foot aluminum pipe and threatening his accuser. That man reacted by going to his truck and producing a loaded handgun.
If this incident had occurred in Florida, the second man may have been justified in killing the first, under the state’s “stand-your-ground” law. He probably felt threatened and was apparently in a place he was allowed to be.
Fortunately, this is not Florida.
The man with the pipe had the good sense to drop it and go home and somebody did what should have been done in the first place — called the police.
Two men face charges, which is still far better than one man being the center of attention at a funeral and the other facing a murder charge.
Sun Journal, Lewiston