What’s cooler than imposing a gender role of pink or blue onto your child before it’s even born? Starting a wildfire with the zany way you’ve decided to tell your family and friends you’re really into traditional demarcations of gender roles on the basis of sex.
The 47,000-acre wildfire in Arizona took hold in Coronado National Forest, becoming the Sawmill Fire. It took about week to put out, with firefighters from at least 20 agencies deployed to stop the spread of a devastation that eventually saw land owned by the state of Arizona, federal agencies and private landowners scorched.
The cause? Well, you could say it was the off-duty US Border Patrol agent, Dennis Dickey, 37, who shot a gun at a makeshift target reading ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ on it. The idea was, the target would then burst into blue - for a boy - or red - for a girl - in order to indicate what sex his future child would be. However, the gun was packed with Tannerite, a highly explosive substance, and the target was in the middle of some dry brushland.
In footage released by the US Forest Service, viewable on CNN, the target can be seen exploding into reams of blue powder followed by a whole load of fire. Someone can be heard shouting ‘start packing up!’ and whether this was Dickey, who’s been handed down five years’ probation and to pay out $8,188,069 (£6,397,870) in restitution, starting with $100,000 (£78,136.50) followed by monthly payments afterwards, is yet to be confirmed.
The bigger, more systemic cause behind the fire? Glad you asked - it's that the tyranny of the gender reveal party. Don’t get us wrong, when you’re waiting nine months to meet the human being growing inside you or your partner, it might seem vital to be able to tell a bit of their personality based on what they’ve got between their legs. And of course, what they have between their legs (and elsewhere, men and women’s bodies can be different in a plethora of ways that amount to more than just 'tits and tubes') is going to affect the way they’re going to be treated by the world. Why make such a big song and dance of it though? What message does that send about a person’s important features? Is the most important thing about a girl her girlishness, and a boy his boyishness? In the case of a gunslinging US Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey, that might be true. But for the rest of us?
While most can agree that shooting a target in the middle of some highly flammable land isn’t the same as having a big cake with a hidden blue or pink layer under its icing, they’re all part of the same spectrum of weirdness that declares that the gender of a person is the most important thing about them and, hey, if you want to zuzh up your baby shower why don’t you just show them footage of this incident, over and over?
Dickey has not confirmed what sex his child is, but we're thinking if it WASN'T a boy, and the blue was a mistake as well as the devastating wildfire caused by the gender reveal party, well, you've got to laugh, haven't you?