Skip

The case for banning fireworks
July 6, 2014 3:36 PM   Subscribe

They're a threat to the environment and dangerous as hell. There's got to be a better way to celebrate.
Look, I’m an environmental reporter, and as such it is practically in my job description to be a killjoy. For this I am sorry. It’s not like I won’t personally be enjoying the fireworks over the East River — which at least can’t get any more polluted than it already is — but I won’t be able to do so without nagging self-admonishments about how fireworks are actually kind of stupid.… Now, as is my professional duty, I pass these nagging thoughts on to you.
posted by Lexica (102 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
They also make nights around this time of the year pure hell for a number of veterans.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:50 PM on July 6 [25 favorites]


This is amazing. My whole life I thought fireworks were stupid, uncomfortable to be around and not that interesting to look at but I thought I must be the crazy one because everyone seems to love them. On second thought that itself is the crazy belief.
posted by bleep at 3:52 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]


Why don't you outlaw apple pie and kick grandma in the teeth while you're at it. #openCarryFireworks
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:58 PM on July 6 [18 favorites]


I enjoy a good professional fireworks show, but for my Fourth cookout this year, we had giant soap bubbles. Even the grown-ups joined in and proclaimed them more fun than they had remembered. Gotta make them more giant next year.
posted by Western Infidels at 4:07 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


They can take my fireworks when they pry them from my cold dead mechanical hands!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 4:08 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Really it's much more sensible to increase CAFE standards by even the tiniest amount but the fireworks industry doesn't hold the sway that automobile manufacturers do.
posted by vapidave at 4:08 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Something's in the air. "Bombs Bursting in Air: A War on Fireworks."
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:09 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Also, while questioning the environmental impact of things...how much of CO2 emissions (percentwise) comes from carbonated sodas?
posted by sexyrobot at 4:10 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. My whole life I thought fireworks were stupid, uncomfortable to be around and not that interesting to look at but I thought I must be the crazy one because everyone seems to love them. On second thought that itself is the crazy belief.

Count me in that number. I always thought it frightened the animals outside (as the ones inside my house never cared for the sound) and there always has to be one in the neighborhood lighting them where he shouldn't when he shouldn't.

Mind you, the way so many people stare at their smartphones as if it were a god, I don't even think people would notice if they were gone...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:18 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Like, I agree with everything she said, but it still feels like kinda small potatoes, and not worth the epic shitstorm that banning them would create.
posted by empath at 4:24 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I live in a 16-story highrise, in a city where it's long been illegal for individuals to even own fireworks, let alone USE them.

Even so, it's a rare 4th of July that I don't end up calling the cops because some idiot(s) are launching bottle rockets (from our parking lots, full of cars with gas tanks) that often end up on the building's roof or misfire and skitter around endangering their own and everyone else's kids.

Yes indeedy, I support banning them.
posted by easily confused at 4:25 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I don't like fireworks either, especially the ones that exist only to make the loudest, most earth-shaking bang possible without even the slightest attempt at producing a visual display. The people who set those off are sociopaths.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:28 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


easily confused: "... it's a rare 4th of July that I don't end up calling the cops because some idiot(s) are launching bottle rockets (from our parking lots, full of cars with gas tanks) that often end up on the building's roof or misfire and skitter around endangering their own and everyone else's kids. ¶ Yes indeedy, I support banning them."

That is not what this article is about. This article is not about privately-owned fireworks and firecrackers. It's about public fireworks shows.

Probably we should think about banning the former before banning the latter, incidentally.
posted by koeselitz at 4:31 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


If fireworks were invented today, Homeland security arrest the inventor and manufacturers.

There was a recent cancer cluster discovered near my town, they discovered high concentration of perchlorate in the well water. It is suspected that the source was fireworks that were stored in sheds nearby, perhaps some broke open or were water damaged and discarded on the ground.

I endorse the idea of eliminating fireworks completely. But that is insignificant in comparison to the highest risk activity on July 4, celebratory gunfire. This is particularly a problem in urban areas. When I lived near East LA, the local fire station used to do an inspection of their roof before and after the July 4 holiday. Every year they found new bullet holes.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:31 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, it's very weird that the author seems to make no distinctions, but it seems pretty clear they're talking about public fireworks shows. But privately held fireworks and smaller celebratory incendiary devices are much more dangerous and much more hazardous, at least where I live; they cause fired every year, sometimes huge forest fires, and they always injure people and cause property damage.

Let's keep public fireworks shows. In the grand scheme, they're pretty safe, and they can be made safer. Instead, we should ban the private sale and possession of fireworks and firecrackers without a professional license.
posted by koeselitz at 4:35 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


I wish this reporter had included more information about what measures might mitigate these problems, as well as comparative information to gauge the magnitude of fireworks next to other sources.
posted by XMLicious at 4:37 PM on July 6


sexyrobot, that's generally CO2 that's been taken out of the air, so it actually is a net zero carbon transaction.
posted by dhartung at 4:38 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


But privately held fireworks and smaller celebratory incendiary devices are much more dangerous and much more hazardous, at least where I live

They're also pretty numerous. Fireworks are illegal here, but there's a certain suburban cache that comes from having the largest, most outlandish private display, and there are some neighborhoods where people set off many thousands of dollars in fireworks every July 4th.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:41 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


RonButNotStupid: “They're also pretty numerous. Fireworks are illegal here, but there's a certain suburban cache that comes from having the largest, most outlandish private display, and there are some neighborhoods where people set off many thousands of dollars in fireworks every July 4th.”
Minimum number of my neighbors who spent more than $400 on fireworks: 5
posted by ob1quixote at 4:42 PM on July 6


Let's keep public fireworks shows. In the grand scheme, they're pretty safe, and they can be made safer.

There is no such thing as safe fireworks. They are high explosives and inherently dangerous. Even professionals have accidents, and they can be disastrous. For example last year:

Simi Valley Fireworks Accident Injures 28 People

I live closer to the launch site than the guy who took that video was standing. And this is what happened that same night, right next door to my home:

2013 Coralville, Iowa huge firework explosion

I heard the loud cannon shot that signaled the fireworks were about to begin and was just walking to my apartment door when I heard the sound and felt the ground shake. I didn't see any of that accident, I just heard it. I thought for sure I would get up to the front door and find everything in flames.

You know, a few years ago, I went to the city council meeting to complain about that year's free July 3 concert, which was exceptionally loud to the point of hearing damage. The council thought I was complaining about the noise of fireworks. Every single city councillor spoke up for the record and denounced me as un-American.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:59 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Carbonating beverages isn't a carbon neutral process as it requires energy.

Poking around, it seems that there are a single digit amount of grams of CO2 in a liter of carbonated beverage. Choosing 4 grams and a liter per person per day and 7 billion people is 28,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. Global CO2 emissions may be about 30,000,000,000 metric tons per year. (I didn't spend enough time on this to determine authoritative numbers. Numbers seemed to be the correct magnitudes.)

Stockpiling beer as a means of sequestration should be done because, if it doesn't work, we can drown in something other than rising seas.
posted by llc at 5:03 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


So even if everybody in the world drank a liter of soda a day, it would be on the order of 9 one hundred thousandths of a percent of the total emissions? Am I reading that right?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:09 PM on July 6


My understanding is that the emissions are the least of the environmental problems associated with fireworks.

I'd be willing to hunker down and live with it if fireworks were only for professional displays. I can strap in and keep my dogs safe for 45 minutes. It's the illegal residential use (and in Los Angeles there is nothing to misunderstand - no fireworks, period) that is a menace on multiple levels.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:24 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


My family never really did public fireworks occasions when I was a kid, and fireworks were illegal inside city limits where I grew up. Fireworks displays are okay to watch, but I never really got into them. My father's left hand consisted of one full pinky, three fingers that terminated at the first knuckle, and a thumb that terminated at the first knuckle. The connection wasn't made explicit to me until I was a teenager.

Yeah, I'm all in favor of banning private fireworks and severely limiting public fireworks. If you want to have fireworks on the Fourth, that's one thing, but for instance, when I was a kid, the local amusement park had big displays every weekend on Friday and Saturday night all summer. Those sorts of displays could be reduced and the entertainment planning directed elsewhere.
posted by immlass at 5:32 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I for one have nothing but good memories of fireworks, private and public. Think of them as methadone for celebratory gunfire.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:42 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Yes Pope, that is right. Might as well have a beverage with your fireworks.
posted by llc at 5:46 PM on July 6


They provoke the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
posted by Segundus at 5:47 PM on July 6 [18 favorites]


Everything else aside, fireworks are an objectively terrible form of entertainment.

From the first show I saw around 1983 to today, there has barely been one enhancement or innovation. Shouldn't we have hologram George Washingtons by now or something?

"Oooh the red one!"
"Oooh the poofy green one!"
"Oooh the silver one that goes 'Boom!'"

It's pretty mind-boggling how anyone over the age of ten is still entertained by this.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:57 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


They also contain perchlorate, a naturally occurring and man-made chemical...

As opposed to what? Chemicals made from unnatural substances by beings from another dimension?

I think this was an attempt to explain what perchlorate is but also diffuse the tendency for some to jump to 'chemical=bad' upon hearing it's scientific name, but there's got to be a better way to explain this.

I don't think fireworks need to be banned. However, I will agree that the environmental toll can add up in places that do fireworks displays nearly every night, and should be limited at least to once at month at most.
posted by chambers at 6:07 PM on July 6


First please ban all sugar and other sweeteners, potato chips, loud motor bikes, muscle cars, loud music (well of forms I don't like), bad jokes and tasteless clothing.
posted by sammyo at 6:10 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


From the first show I saw around 1983 to today, there has barely been one enhancement or innovation. Shouldn't we have hologram George Washingtons by now or something?

They have Doraemon now! Okay, so it's like a blue circle with a white circle inside, but I still think it's impressive. I love fireworks shows and am sad that I didn't get to see any this year. I'm not even going to say how many summer festivals I went to in Japan just for food on sticks and fireworks. (Lake Biwa - amazing)
posted by betweenthebars at 6:10 PM on July 6


I like public fireworks displays, a lot. I like it around the lake where I live when people do impromptu displays on the 4th, ideally sober and safe. Unfortunately, Maine legalized fireworks sales. Individual towns can allow fireworks or not; it hardly matters, there are fireworks, salutes, firecrackers a lot of the time. Stupid legislative decision, likely driven by lobbyists.
posted by theora55 at 6:11 PM on July 6


I really like fireworks! They are big and bright and loud in an exciting way and I really enjoy them. They feel like magic to me, even though I'm over ten (thirty!).

I see a lot of good arguments in the article and the thread for getting rid of them -- environmental impacts, safety, the pain they cause to veterans and others with PTSD -- there are a lot of points here that are worth considering and if the decision to ban fireworks were made I wouldn't argue against it although I would be disappointed. That said, it seems like a lot of people are kind of patting themselves on the back for not liking fireworks or for being too good for them or something. You're welcome to have that opinion, you definitely don't have to like everything, but a lot of people DO like fireworks. There's a reason they exist and, while the pros may not outweigh the cons, they make a big group of people happy, and that's not without value.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:13 PM on July 6 [26 favorites]


I'm sorta surprised we still even have 'em; this year, my niece was given the choice between watching the rest of Frozen (for the tenth time) or going to see the fireworks, and you could see in her eyes that she was having a really hard time trying to figure out why on earth she'd prefer to see some dim sky-glittering over the current height of synthetic spectacle humans are capable of. At this point, it feels a little like getting excited about lighting a whale-oil lamp.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:36 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Honestly I'm more taken aback by their defense. Of course most folks like them or did during a phase. We're not all killjoys. I was obsessed. I handled pure perchlorate as a kid and have permanent dry patches of skin that fall off. I love fireworks but am over them for all intents and purposes. I'm all for stiff fines for illegal displays.

Those who grow beyond "don't question thing I want because fun!" in the face of evidence should pat themselves on the back. The "someone somewhere is having fun" straw man is childish and insulting. I hate that mentality, and it's a bully's mentality in that the fun is so important to the beholder that any request to curtail it in the clear presence of injurious outcomes is framed as "you are just against fun" and "my idea of fun trumps all." One of those things that changes around the age of 25 in the PFC. At 23 I was blowing illegal fireworks up everywhere I went like an overgrown child, because I was. A lot changes in ten years.
posted by aydeejones at 6:37 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I like professional firework displays just fine and some are really impressive. I don't think I'd really miss them if they were gone and I think the rarity of them makes them more special. I'm not at all surprised that there are issues with the display at Disney's theme parks. They are HUGE and impressive and they do them every week.

We king of lucked out that our dog doesn't react to fireworks at all other than an occasional ear twitch. She just laid on the cool sand at my feet and looked around at everything but the fireworks, totally at ease. I have to remind myself that this isn't normal and most people's dogs freak out.

I liked private fireworks when I was young mostly because I think kids like things that blow up. Nowadays, I don't really get it. They just seem so anemic compared to the professional displays and getting anywhere close to that level takes a LOT of money while the cheaper stuff is kind of lame.

If there were a ban, it would have to be on the Federal level. Otherwise, we'll just go back to driving across the border and buying them from a neighboring state. Here in Minnesota, the big explosive fireworks are still illegal and even dead in the middle of the state, a bunch of people around the lake where my in-laws live (where my SO and I spent the weekend) had some loud, expensive, and illegal fireworks. It was annoying as hell.
posted by VTX at 6:42 PM on July 6


I hate that mentality, and it's a bully's mentality in that the fun is so important to the beholder that any request to curtail it in the clear presence of injurious outcomes is framed as "you are just against fun" and "my idea of fun trumps all."

I don't think anyone has said anything remotely like this; I explicitly stated that I would completely understand if fireworks are banned even though I like them. I mean I get your point; if they're a problem, and it seems like they are, then "but I like them" is not a legitimate counterargument but I don't see anyone here trying to make that point or bully you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:48 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I'm all for banning them, but like a lot of other things that I think should be banned, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.
posted by freakazoid at 6:48 PM on July 6


I'm sorry, I'm pretty sure the comment I responded to was deleted. Didn't mean to totally come at you, I totally get it and am only recently feeling sort of smugly "anti-firework" this year, I'll admit is somewhat self-congratulatory because it feels so weird and anti-thetical to myself.
posted by aydeejones at 6:49 PM on July 6


Everything else aside, fireworks are an objectively terrible form of entertainment.

That's deliberately...incendiary.

Thousands of people gather each year in my neighborhood to watch the fireworks. Pedestrian traffic is so heavy that they have to close down the streets all over the neighborhood. Even if I didn't like fireworks, I'd like those nights for the simple opportunity to wander down the center of the car-free streets.

Ask me sometime about the "Godzilla" display we had one year. Thunderous footsteps booming, echoing off the mountains, and for a moment the kaiju attack felt half real. Fireworks may be a bit tacky on a bad day, but no other artistic medium affords the same sense of scale.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:57 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I don't have a problem with fireworks in general.

But last Wednesday around 11:00 pm I heard a blast go off so loud it made me literally jump in my chair. Twenty minutes later, BOOM!, another blast. Again I jumped at the loudness and unexpectedness of it. It sounded like it was right outside my door. I knew somebody was setting something off, but it wasn't fireworks or gunshots. I didn't know what the hell it was.

The next day, Thursday, at dusk, another BOOM! I look out my window and see that it's my next door neighbor. Of course it's him. Every year around the 4th he sets off fireworks for a few days. He loves it. This gentleman is in his 50's and is a perfectly fine neighbor so I don't complain because I know he will be completely complacent until the next 4th of July. But this time I had to find out what the hell he was doing. I walked over to his house and we had a friendly chat. He said that was the only blast for the evening and that he was going to light a couple more the next night, the 4th. I told him that's fine. He's a good neighbor for almost the entire year so I'm not going to get in a twist about it.

What was he setting off? Balloons filled with oxygen and acetylene. He was igniting them with a lighter. I didn't mention to him that he was lucky he still had all his fingers and/or not seriously burned. And, by the way, his house is 40 yards from mine. That's how loud the explosions were. They sounded like they were right outside my door.

We are a primitive species. We celebrate a date on the calendar by making loud noises.

There's a bunch of YT videos showing people doing this. An idiot lighting a balloon while holding it in his hand. Watch out for the shrapnel morons.
posted by cwest at 6:58 PM on July 6


Everything else aside, fireworks are an objectively terrible form of entertainment.

Glad we settled this.
posted by Behemoth at 6:58 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


We saw a good public show on the 4th, and it was quite dramatic pulling together the strategic "don't get trapped" far-enough but not-too-far parking after an exhausting day of "fair-grounding" and coordinating eating and camp placement and coordinating this little brown-ops mission where I had to leave half of the family in a grassy picnic area and drive the boy a couple miles back home for a #2 after some fruitless extra-extra walking since everywhere was closed or "no public restroom..."

We made it just in time for the show, which started about 30 minutes late, which was to be expected but was anti-climactic after the rush. He was asking me "what makes the colors, how does this work, how does that" and he was genuinely confused that we extract metal from the Earth and then set it on fire. As he continued his follow-up questions it sounded like I was calling out the recipe for thermite or some other Walter White shit and I summed it up with "just watch the show for now..."
posted by aydeejones at 6:59 PM on July 6


But this stuff is very good for the Chinese economy and that counts too
posted by Postroad at 7:02 PM on July 6


Note as a hardcore former fireworks addict, in my personal experience you are too close to the fireworks show if the explosions aren't 2-3 seconds delayed (ears), if you can smell the smoke for most of the show, or there are bits of firework cardboard bits flying into your eyeballs. I never noticed that last one until I bought a batch of fireworks a decade or so ago and the mortar shells would tend to throw stuff into my eyes if I was watching too intently from anywhere in "running away from the tube" range.

Skyrockets and bottle rockets are the most hazardous I would surmise, along with roman candles now because it's cool to have "roman candle wars" apparently. I never allowed anyone to pull that shooting-bottle-rockets-at-me shit no matter what though. I think that's a pretty good lesson to pass on...
posted by aydeejones at 7:04 PM on July 6


Here in the great state of michigan, there is little regulation on the sale or use of fireworks.. major holidays are two weeks of sleeplessness, the cats hide for days, some idiot got shot in the chest yesterday (by fireworks) and died... multiple fires, houses, garages....

Fuck 'em... they should be illegal but our god damned republican governor saw a buck to be made...
posted by HuronBob at 7:19 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


One solution: flood the market of retail fireworks with units that will blow your hand off immediately upon lighting. Fight fireworks with fireworks.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:32 PM on July 6


One solution: flood the market of retail fireworks with units that will blow your hand off immediately upon lighting. Fight fireworks with fireworks.

That type of solution has been proven not to be effective.
posted by chambers at 7:37 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I hate them: they're all bang-y and flash-y, and they freak me out. Judging from my Facebook feed, a lot of other people hate them, too. I think this just may be the year when everyone either had a baby or got a dog, but there's been a lot of whining about them. But honestly, we're not going to ban them. Maybe we could limit them to important civic events, rather than letting every shopping mall and amusement park set them off once a week.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:38 PM on July 6


I would be fine with fireworks being banned, but that will not happen, not now.

There are fireworks going off in my neighborhood right this second; they've been going off since the middle of June and will continue to go off every night for hours, though tapering down after August, right until Halloween.

On the 4th, one of my neighbors accosted one of the men setting them off, asking him that if he HAD to do this, could he please get away from her house, which has a large drooping tree and is a really old house. He told her he wasn't harming anybody, and he wasn't on her property, so why doesn't she mind her business? He was in his 40s, she told me, and had an entire trunk filled with works, Not bottle rockets either, but large fireworks powerful enough that the light of them bathed my room in reds, yellows, and greens until 2AM. The noise was awful.

This never happened in any of my former neighborhoods as an adult, so when I moved to this area last year and it started up, I thought it was gunfire, and it reminded me of waking up to gunfire in the middle of the night as a kid. The cops know about these, apparently, and don't consider it anything worth dealing with. You can hear them going off on other surrounding blocks as well. I'm grateful that the nearest firehouse is a block away.
posted by droplet at 7:44 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I love public fireworks shows and look forward to every holiday that offers them every year, but would be entirely OK with banning private use of fireworks. As noted above, they start fires (at least one or two this weekend alone in one metro area), they scare pets, and they may trigger veterans and others who've been harmed by gun violence. At least the people injured directly by using them signed up for the risk.

Public fireworks shows do reduce most of those problems, though -- there's supervision by fire departments, and having public notice of fireworks shows allows people who may have problems with the noise to prepare for the shows and take what measures they need to to minimize their own harm/inconvenience. None of those are options with private use of fireworks, and they cause a great deal of damage every year. Let's get rid of them.
posted by asperity at 7:48 PM on July 6


Holy hell I cannot believe the wowserism.

Fireworks are hotheaded pyrotechnic joy in convenient capsule form.

They are a pocket-sized festival of misrule.

They represent the literal antithesis of beigeness and blandery.

RELEASE THE 'WORKS

FIRE OFF ALL AT ONCE

ENDIT
posted by Sebmojo at 8:00 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


Fireworks are awesome and those who are no fun can stay inside to bury their heads under their pillows
posted by knoyers at 8:29 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Minor authorities and associated killjoys are invited to my tree-house compound to parley further on this topic.
posted by echocollate at 8:45 PM on July 6


I agree with my dog on the subject of firecrackers: MAKE IT STOP. There have been years when stepping outside in my neighborhood on the Fourth or New Year's Eve looks like the middle of a riot: smoke everywhere, shouting, exploding noises.

It's not just combat veterans either: lots of PTSD and anxiety sufferers have exaggerated startle reflexes and a night full of unexpected loud startling noises is difficult to deal with.
posted by cmyk at 9:23 PM on July 6


Lyn Never: "My understanding is that the emissions are the least of the environmental problems associated with fireworks. "

So I happen to live in a city that recently had the honour of becoming world leader in air pollution, and also happens to set fire to enough firecrackers once a year to create an additional 4,000 tonnes of toxic garbage. Winter in Delhi means almost zero rain and still air, so the basic urban pollution just sits there all winter. But the difference between before and after Diwali? I can feel it in my itchy, blocked nose and lightly burning eyes. One assumes that the birds and dogs mostly heal from the traumatic noise after a few days, but the air just doesn't. Diwali turns the air to smoke (literally - the daily weather reports for Delhi in winter see-saw between "haze" and "smoke") that doesn't even begin to clear until late spring. The level of sulphur dioxide in the air jumps to two or three times the safe level in the space of a day, and we get to breathe that crap for another few months straight.

Fuck firecrackers, basically.
posted by vanar sena at 10:42 PM on July 6


MetaFilter: Provoking the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
posted by bpm140 at 10:43 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


One solution: flood the market of retail fireworks with units that will blow your hand off immediately upon lighting.

There are plenty of Darwin Award winners amongst fireworks fans. And speaking of which, no fireworks thread like this is complete without the Butt Rocket video.

On a more serious note (I think), my grandfather did research on livestock diseases and he claimed that cheap Chinese fireworks contained finely powdered dirt to give the gunpowder more bulk, and that this soil sometimes contained anthrax spores, so it was one of the vectors that imported the disease from overseas. I don't know if I believe him, but I am prepared to ban fireworks on that basis.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:53 PM on July 6


The best fireworks are Japanese fireworks... Look for them on the YouTube.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:45 PM on July 6


Why are we so complacent about "freedoms" that rob other people of their own freedom? While you're getting your freak on exploding bullshit, there are terrified people and animals all around your place who don't have a fucking choice about whether a 120db explosion comes ripping into their life.

It's moron entertainment.
posted by maxwelton at 1:08 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


The case for not banning fireworks: screw the fun police.
posted by Decani at 2:59 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


And the traumatized, apparently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 AM on July 7


What better way to celebrate our independence than to take a little bit more of it away!
posted by caddis at 4:08 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


It's that damned wizard's fault; I blame him entirely. Oh, sure, the kids love him. They chase his wagon, and he teases them by setting off a few crackers, and they seem to go absolutely batshit. They're addicts, and he's just like their pusher.

And then, later at the party, he sets off one of his bullshit magical displays and the crowd is just enthralled. Jaws agape they stare at the sky like some mass of religiously besotted idiots. I hate it. He's an ego-pig. It's really all about him. He thrusts his staff into a bundle of twigs, mumbles some incantation and it bursts into greenish flame and what? GANDALF IS HERE is writ large in signs that almost anyone can read.

And the next day? A whiff of cordite, and Bywater is all polluted with the remains of his "magic."

He should be banned from Hobbiton, and put in jail at Michel Delving.

Signed,
Josiah Bracegirdle of Hardbottle
posted by valkane at 4:40 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


If Delhi never had fireworks, it would still be post-apocalyptic

Also, people who are traumatized by noises should get over it, because unfortunately the world is loud and will not quiet itself for them.
posted by knoyers at 6:04 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


knoyers: "If Delhi never had fireworks, it would still be post-apocalyptic"

Except with less sulphur dioxide. And I'd be OKAY WITH THAT. Well, maybe less not okay with that.

Also, people who are traumatized by noises should get over it, because unfortunately the world is loud and will not quiet itself for them.

Yes, everyone should just suck it up, you lily-livered wankers.
posted by vanar sena at 7:04 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


More than people like fireworks, people hate more being told by a journalist or environmentalist or someone who posts on Mefi or a combo of the three, that they should not be doing something that few people have ever complained about.

It is pretty apparent that hardly anyone of this thread is cognizant of this pretty simple concept, or that they learned anything from the "Coal Rolling" thread, or that they know what the road to you know where is paved with.

More to the point, if you don't want to have to deal with fireworks on Christmas, and Valentine's day, and Halloween and Arbor Day and hundreds of other days, throughout the year, then I recommend that everyone stop complaining about the ones that get set off on the Fourth of July.

The appeal of annoying liberals on the apparent multitude of levels that fireworks provides (blatant patriotism, mockery of environmental concerns, battlefield adoration, gun powder smells) is so awesome, and the unintended consequences are so clear, that the author and the Mefites giving her accolades should admit they were only joking, to at least preserve their own sense of intellectual superiority.
posted by otto42 at 7:05 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


In defense of fireworks as a form of entertainment (disregarding their poor environmental record).

Everything else aside, fireworks are an objectively terrible form of entertainment.

I find it odd how many people willfully display their complete and utter lack of childlike wonder at the world. So proudly curmudgeonly and cynical that they cannot bring themselves to enjoy the simple elegance of an explosion in the sky, a low, thunderous boom that rattles ones rib cage, a dazzling sparkle in the sky, more brilliant than anything your 46" LCD HD TV can possibly produce. Yes, yes, why should one forgo that 17th viewing of Disney's "Frozen" for a warm summer evening spent on an old potato-salad stained blanket with family, friends, and neighbors in a 200+ year old patriotic social ritual of intense light, color, and sound under a clear night sky? Why indeed.

The "someone somewhere is having fun" straw man is childish and insulting.

Yes, it is, because fireworks are not (only) about fun. The argument isn't "DON'T STOP MY DUMB EXPLOSION FUN!!" The argument is, fireworks are an integral part of a centuries old tradition meant to inspire social cohesion, patriotism and a sense of awe and wonder. And yes, maybe even some fun.

But, perhaps you are still too elitist to tolerate such "base" forms entertainment. You might choose to spend an evening at the symphony instead.
posted by j03 at 7:18 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


It is the kind of awesome that has kids breaking windows and knocking over mailboxes - a sort of reflexive assertion of independence and testing of overbearing authority, and often deliberately (self-)destructive. Yeah, none of us like sanctimony. But you know, most of us grow up and grow out of it, instead of deliberately farting toxins into each other's air as a political statement.

Seriously, it's okay, you're an adult, you're The Man now.
posted by vanar sena at 7:19 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


(... and I say that as someone who actually enjoys fireworks in general. The political angle just makes no sense to me, is all.)
posted by vanar sena at 7:23 AM on July 7


I feel like a similar killjoy regarding those colour runs - they produce an insane amount of garbage and litter.
posted by Kurichina at 8:22 AM on July 7


Our neighbors love their fireworks.

My fiance has begun planning dog-friendly retreats around the 4th so that our 13-year-old pughuahua won't have to spend her nights cowering in terror from the blasts. I stay home by the phone in case of fire (a pretty serious concern in drought-ridden Los Angeles).

I may not like this routine but I've gotten used to it, the way I've gotten used to bozos bumping Toot it and Boot it from their car stereos a 2 AM. I can fantasize about blasting them all into space on a giant Acme rocket (and I do, I do...) but the truth is we're a somewhat noisy household too, what with my weekly living room band practice and my backyard woodworking projects and the two of us constantly singing to the dog.

Some day I'm going to go all Henry David Thoreau and retire to a cabin on a lake (granted, a cabin with an amplified music room), but until then I'm going to chalk this up to city living and try to be a good sport.
posted by ducky l'orange at 8:50 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


It is the kind of awesome that has kids breaking windows and knocking over mailboxes - a sort of reflexive assertion of independence and testing of overbearing authority, and often deliberately (self-)destructive.

Well that's one subjective and completely cynical analysis of a thing. Today on Metafilter I learned that firework displays are colorful Rorschach tests. Personally, I prefer the "childlike awe and wonder" and/or "insanely fun but generally ill-advised small-scale tactical warhead" take.
posted by echocollate at 8:51 AM on July 7


Obviously fireworks should be replaced by at-home virtual displays, where sound and visual parameters can be kept within OSHA standards. This is a simple, cheap environmentally friendly solution, that also avoids add on pollution such as litter and travel exhaust.

Likewise, large crowd based events such as concerts, games and parades are notorious for noise and other kinds of pollution. In this day and age there is absolutely no justification for large public gatherings of this sort, not when people can simply stay home and interact online. The savings in traffic pollution and policing alone will be considerable.

Also, in this day and age there's really no justification for environmentally degrading activies such as hiking and camping. Instead of contributing to the destruction of the natural environment, a single pass by Google Street could provide all the information needed for a virtual environment, enjoyed while using a stationary bike or treadmill. Isn't it time we saved our natural environment from the presence of humans?

So, this coming year I will be lobbying the Park Service to ban Burning Man. It's about time the pollution caused by that festival was ended.
posted by happyroach at 8:52 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


echocollate: "Well that's one subjective and completely cynical analysis of a thing. Today"

I was referring specifically to

otto42: "The appeal of annoying liberals on the apparent multitude of levels that fireworks provides (blatant patriotism, mockery of environmental concerns, battlefield adoration, gun powder smells) is so awesome..."

I mean I can't imagine any educated adult using this as a "reason" to do anything.

Anyway, I totally understand the whole childlike awe thing. I grew up with fireworks - each year around Diwali as kids we spent weeks messing with them. But the idea that there isn't a social and environment cost at all is just weird to me. May just be because the scale of it is orders of magnitude larger in my experience than folks in the US are used to. I like breathing, I really do.
posted by vanar sena at 9:24 AM on July 7


Everyone knows illegal fireworks are the fun kind, so, sure, ban away.
posted by michaelh at 9:38 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


It's good to see this new, obviously superior approach to living with others taking hold in hearts and minds.

I'd like to propose banning the following:
  1. Dogs. Dog attacks cause more injuries and more deaths in the USA than fireworks (CDC, NFPA, Wikipedia). Dogs, even when managed by the rare owners who handle them correctly, are terrifying to many people. Dogs crap all over everything, harass wildlife, and make a lot of noise. The impact of fireworks doesn't come close.
  2. Cats. Not as deadly to humans as dogs because of their size, but terrifically destructive of small wildlife, especially birds.
  3. Cars, except for cases of necessity. If we got rid of all recreational car trips, we could eliminate thousands of deaths and untold environmental impact, dwarfing everything mentioned up to this point, including fireworks. Not to mention the noise.
  4. Team sports. Noise, traffic jams, inculcate what I (genuinely) believe to be dangerous attitudes.
  5. Rock concerts. Noise, encouragement of drug abuse, etc, etc. Ever tried living near one of those venues? Objectively rotten as entertainment, too.
  6. Alcohol. Addictive, terrible health effects in itself, leads to dangerous behavior, makes almost everybody obnoxious and/or dangerous. Banning it last time worked great, right?
  7. Religion. Corrosive to the rational faculties, encourages "users" to evade moral responsibility, has historically tended to lead to mob violence.
Or we could, you know, learn to deal with the facts that life is risky, and that sometimes we all do things that annoy or even endanger others... naah...
posted by Hizonner at 9:39 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]


It is pretty apparent that hardly anyone of this thread is cognizant of this pretty simple concept, or that they learned anything from the "Coal Rolling" thread, or that they know what the road to you know where is paved with.

No, I think we're pretty aware that a lot of conservatives are complete assholes.
posted by empath at 9:41 AM on July 7


No, I think we're pretty aware that a lot of conservatives are complete assholes.
posted by empath at 9:41 AM on July 7 [+] [!]


I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with a lot of conservatives being complete assholes, but rather their ability to comprehend the consequences of a Liberal's action beyond the initial knee jerk.
posted by otto42 at 10:06 AM on July 7


John Oliver explains what fireworks mean to America.
posted by emjaybee at 10:40 AM on July 7


I love that veterans who fought for the independence that we're celebrating are getting thrown under the buss as killjoys because the PTSD from the wars they fought for us make fireworks all sorts of not fun. That's very nice of y'all.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:57 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


You see, I enjoy thing, therefore when somebody objects to thing for reasons, their reasons are irrelevant. Also I am smarter than a conservative, who gets angry about things and objects to things for silly reasons.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:27 AM on July 7


Are fireworks really a liberal vs. conservative issue, and is there really no way to think about them that isn't tied to this whole "patriotism" thing?

I grew up in the US, and fireworks were about the 4th of July... but now I live in Canada, and there are huge fireworks competitions all summer.

If anything, I'm anti-patriotism. I see it as a very suspicious form of not-all-that-soft nationalism, and my natural inclination is to label it as dumb and destructive. You'd definitely have a hard road convincing me that patritiotism of any kind, in any country, was a good thing.

But I still like fireworks. And I think their risks and rewards can be discussed without turning it into an issue of US internal politics.
posted by Hizonner at 11:48 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Productive discussion of an across the board ban of something like this will make little progress due to its wide scope. In this case, you have three separate users of fireworks - large professional displays that draw huge crowds, small personal fireworks events that are done by regular citizens for friends and family, and individuals who just like to blow stuff up, some of which do so in a reckless and dangerous manner that is inconsiderate to others.

Reasonable compromise often goes out the window because the arguments don't match up - those who want to stop the guy in the alleyway throwing M80s at 2AM aren't arguing the same points that someone who wants to keep the professional shows. Those making points about the environmental after-effects of a large professional display have a harder time arguing that point when someone just wants to buy a couple bottle rockets for his backyard barbecue.

So now we're come to the point where anybody who does not support the argument against fireworks is for torturing veterans and puppies and being generally awful, and those who do want a ban are killjoys who can't stand anyone having fun watching such a moronic display of violence.

So why not break it down into its parts and address them separately? It might be more productive for both sides.
posted by chambers at 12:01 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


is there really no way to think about them that isn't tied to this whole "patriotism" thing?

There are a large amount of fireworks displays in the US that have nothing to do with patriotism or the 4th of July. Many large amusement parks have fireworks several times, if not more, a week. County and state fairs usually have one night of fireworks, and then you have outdoor sporting events with displays in the summer, and the patriotic overtones are invoked sometimes, but not always.
posted by chambers at 12:17 PM on July 7


There is no such thing as safe fireworks. They are high explosives and inherently dangerous.

They are inherently dangerous, which is part of the fun, but they certainly are not high explosives: they are basically just gunpowder plus chemicals that burn in pretty colors.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:21 PM on July 7


It's not just combat veterans either: lots of PTSD and anxiety sufferers have exaggerated startle reflexes and a night full of unexpected loud startling noises is difficult to deal with.

That sure sucks for them, but perhaps they could take a xanax or do whatever it is they need to do to manage their mental illness. Expecting the rest of society to work around their limitations is not reasonable.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:31 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Consumer grade fireworks aren't high explosives.

As someone who works with display fireworks, I find the consumer fireworks kind of lame, but it's still interesting occasionally to look at the packaging and see how things have changed over the years.

I can't advocate banning consumer fireworks, but I suppose I can sympathize with the arguments against them. Personally, I've been chased by gangs of idiots throwing cherry bombs at me and firing off roman candles at me. If they had ended up severely injured after lighting off roman candles held in their hands, I wouldn't have cried. It was a scary experience.

I don't think it's right, nor should it be legal, for the average person to set off fireworks in their neighbourhood at any time of year. On the other hand, if they want to drive out to their cottage in the middle of nowhere, that's fine with me. As long as they're not terrorizing their neighbours. Or the dogs.

If you think display fireworks generally all look the same, then I'd say you're missing the better displays. I've watched some painfully boring professional shows. But then there's stuff like the Montreal International Fireworks Competition and the PGI Convention where you get to see tons of brand-new effects, and it is a thing of wonder. PGI in particular tends to bring together families from different states and even different countries, and in the USA, pyrotechnics is a hobby that isn't exactly juvenile as portrayed here on Mefi. At local pyrotechnics clubs, fathers and sons and daughters and neighbours come together to study the ancient and fascinating art of fireworks-building. It involves teaching yourself safety habits above all, and developing a strong background in, carpentry, and other DIY artistic skills. The best fireworks builders tend to have degrees in chemistry, so it isn't exactly a kid's hobby, to say the least.

Heart-shaped shells! Shells shaped like Saturn! Whistle rockets!

It's never the same year after year.

Building fireworks, where it's legal, is a hard and complex and very geeky hobby. It's an interesting combination of abstract knowledge and practical DIY skills combined with an eye for artistry. There's a very strong community emphasis on practicing safety and being smart. As I said earlier, those who mess up severely or who misuse fireworks, scare the neighbours, etc, don't tend to be well-regarded among the people who really appreciate fireworks. It's more of an adult hobby than a childish hobby.

In those communities, dumbasses who misuse fireworks are pretty much universally scorned. Skills and experience are respected. Making mistakes, like shooting off a shell that inadvertently lights a bush on fire, will get you laughed at in the community for years to come.

Fireworks aren't all bad. Fireworks fans aren't all disrespectful idiots, I promise.

Everyone who works with fireworks might as well be new to the hobby, no matter how many years of experience they've got under their belt. No one is ever immune to making mistakes. As the professionals say, stay green.

And demonstrate respect to our veterans.
posted by quiet earth at 4:12 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


That sure sucks for them, but perhaps they could take a xanax or do whatever it is they need to do to manage their mental illness. Expecting the rest of society to work around their limitations is not reasonable.

I'm not sure I have a solid opinion one way or another on fireworks but dude, did you miss the entire 20th century and curb cuts and wheelchair ramps and handicap parking spaces? In modern developed countries it's pretty much settled that all of the "society simply cannot afford..." Ayn Rand type excuses for not accommodating its most vulnerable members are bullshit, doubly so in the largest national economy on Earth.

Even besides special needs like that, you know that we build enormous acoustic barriers around airports and highways and things just for average members of the public, right? Saying "sucks for you, take a pill" to someone whose health is directly and immediately impacted by noise problems isn't cool, that's nothing to reflexively dismiss.
posted by XMLicious at 4:28 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


That one typo, it kills me. I should have hit Backspace one more time.

Did I mention that being a perfectionist is typical of fireworks enthusiasts? You can't really not be, when being off in your calculations by 0.001% could make all the difference between a beautiful shot and a CATO/failure. Why yes, that is how I am justifying the fact that I don't proofread well enough. :P

Anyhow. The pros aren't kids. Well... sometimes, given what I know about prominent people's personalities, but generally speaking they know how to minimize risk, as a rock climber or scuba diver knows how to minimize risk. It's a personal attraction to the artistry and challenge of fireworks, to the minimization of risk, not to the idea of blowing ourselves up.

I don't think any single one of the pros would laugh off the idea of scaring veterans with PTSD. Fireworks shows are understood to be something special, something on certain days or something for the cottage at the lake, but not something to light off in busy streets.

But, generally speaking, you'll encounter fireworks enthusiasts who are all over the board, I'm sure. I can recognize the reckless and disorganized ones, the ones who know nothing about fireworks but who purchase 300 pounds of something explosive because yee-haw it's fun to explode stuff, and I don't like them very much at all.

As for the environment? I am a big fan of the environment. Fireworks involve a trade-off. I can justify a few fireworks shows per year while living and promoting environmentally-friendly lifestyles, but I also disagree with the constant shows at Seaworld and Disney. Their ceremonies sound cheap, unsatisfying somehow, too much of the same, and also incredibly environmentally unfriendly.
posted by quiet earth at 4:34 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Also, in case anyone doesn't realize this, PTSD with symptoms triggered by loud noises isn't some novel phenomenon recently invented to sell pharmaceuticals or keep therapists in business, it's just that it went by the name "shell shock" a hundred years ago instead.
posted by XMLicious at 4:46 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Are fireworks really a liberal vs. conservative issue, and is there really no way to think about them that isn't tied to this whole "patriotism" thing?

Some people like labeling people as it makes things simpler: the opponent is not just wrong but wrong at a fundamental level and therefore ignorable.

TFA has been weirdly resonant with me today. I'm familiar with the exceptionally charming and perserverent shorebirds around Gualala from as well as the locals and the tourists this sort of thing could draw. I'm familiar with the strange temporary community spectacles of all sorts generate and for this rather closeted town it seems like something they should have had since back in the day and its too bad it was a flash in the pan. I'm happy for the shorebirds though.

There is an essential hooliganism in the American spirit that is brought out by the Fourth that I think is worth celebrating to a point as is the nation. Neither are perfect and both are supported by ugly castoff but we are here and the self-reflective product: we citizens spend much of the year focusing on our imperfections but there's some pretty nice stuff to not overlook. The chip on the nation's shoulder, put there since the founders told the ruler-by-divine right to fuck off, is largely an unpleasant burden that is lightened by well-placed small explosives. I spend the majority of the year being a quiet, considerate neighbor but I cannot help keeping a few extra piccolo petes around to brighten the spirits the rest of the year.

I live in California which is a "safe and sane" state. This means the fireworks largely suck and are limited to showers of sparks. I grew up in a firework-free county with a lot of grassland from which locals would travel to nearby neighboring counties to buy firework provisions to be discretely set off in the sort of police state 0tt042 dreams about. This year there were over 24 blazes from illegal fireworks in the county:
While battling a brush fire in the 1400 block of Bentley Street in Concord, firefighters had to call in police because revelers kept launching illegal fireworks and starting new blazes after the first fire was under control, Marshall said.
Now, technically in the county any firework is illegal but that's code for "bottle rockets" which are illegal throughout the state because we've got many acres of tinder and not a lot of water.

I have enjoyed all these things and think through the consequences and enjoy them anyway. All us within-our-moral-limits safe-and-saners cover all the folks who came back over the state line with a trunk full of bottle rockets. Its a complicated thing.

I'm a pretty jaded dude about a great many things but stupid fireworks are not one of them. Even as my brother and I tag-teamed the conversion of dollars into sparks and I reflected what a lame-assed thing this little fountain was six feet up a ladder I was still enjoying its merry glow. (Pro-tip: ladders. Superpro-tip: tree clearance mitigation.) I enjoy the merry glow of a small group gathered to watch.

I'm superglad though that its just once a year. I worried about it being on a Friday this year but it wasn't too bad: I must have memories of a Saturday or Sunday Fourth last time 'round when I reflected amid the continuous explosions going off in the near distance for days running and how they sounded not undifferent from American ordinance and how I'm sure some wished that sound was but for one day a year.

The second and the third and the fifth are good days for such things. It is complicated to be an American, especially if you land left of God Granted us America as most of us do. On the Fourth I think its our duty as citizens to try to believe in the good part worth redeeming and think of apple pie and Rockwell and scare the shit out of some poor undeserving dogs and other strawmen just as it is to have it cleaned up by morning with a sheepish grin for our neighbors.

On which ticket did I vote on the mid-terms? Does it matter? No, you asshole because California has open primaries and this is Fireworks and I don't think you get to politicize those, apple pie or occasional hooliganism in the name of patriotism.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 6:13 PM on July 7


quiet earth: " At local pyrotechnics clubs, fathers and sons and daughters and neighbours come together to study the ancient and fascinating art of fireworks-building."

OMG I so wish this was a thing around here. It's not often I'm jealous of how much more liberal America is with things that go bang but this is definitely one of the times.
posted by Mitheral at 6:18 PM on July 7


dude, did you miss the entire 20th century and curb cuts and wheelchair ramps and handicap parking spaces?

So what's the equivalent of a wheelchair ramp for a fireworks show?

Banning fireworks in order to accommodate people with mental illnesses who freak out when they hear loud noises would be like banning the construction of multi-story buildings in order to accommodate people who can't walk.

Enabling access to the most people possible is a good thing, but shutting down all the people who are not disabled just because a few disabled people can't share the joy is not a reasonable solution.
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:26 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


How about trying to ensure that the times and places they'll encounter fireworks are predictable things they can anticipate?

It's entirely reasonable to expect society to work around their health issues.
posted by XMLicious at 6:33 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Irrational anxiety is a health issue that society cannot work around, because there is a limitless array of possible triggers. It is a defining characteristic of such disorders that the reactions are unreasonable. It is one thing to have compassion for someone suffering from such an illness, and to help them get whatever medical care it is that can relieve their pain, but it is quite another thing to demand that the rest of us should stop having fun and doing totally normal things just because there are a few people who respond to them in crazy, unreasonable ways.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:32 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


The portion of veterans with PTSD whose symptoms can be triggered by either sudden loud explosions or the repetitive sting of explosions do have alternatives in most cases. It's no surprise that the 4th of July comes at the same time each year, and can be planned for. For example, spending the evening inside a movie theater, out a some quiet bar, or even taking that day to volunteer at the local VA hospital are just a few of the possible solutions to avoiding the big show. I have a friend who is a veteran who suffers from PTSD, and this topic came up a few years ago, and while fireworks do not bother him, he told me that those who do simply make plans to avoid it.

As for the aforementioned inconsiderate asshole in the alley at 2AM with the M80s, sadly there is little preventing that. Even the most strict police state with technology 50 years ahead of everyone else, will never be able to stop some random asshole doing random irritating shit in the middle of the night. Make them illegal and if people can't find them elsewhere, people will make them on their own if they want to, with far more dangerous results. It's not like simple gunpowder is some arcane substance that requires years of research and a lab to create. If you are a gardener who likes using a charcoal barbecue and have a bunch of wooden matches lying around and a rampant disregard for your own safety, you most likely already have everything you need to make crappy, dangerous gunpowder. I grew up in a state that banned everything except sparklers and those black snakes, but there were kids who could drive went across the state lines, and for those kids that weren't old enough or simply not able to make the trip but wanted it bad enough, they simply made their own.

There are good reasons for making stricter limitations on how often a place can have have fireworks shows. There are good reasons for better educating those who want to purchase and use their own small fireworks - I don't think there is anywhere near enough, even in the form of basic, scare-the-hell-out-of-you PSAs. In places where grass fires and wildfires are a threat, there should be more active enforcement of existing laws and heavy penalties for putting so many people at risk. In places where their use by nonprofessionals is forbidden, the neighbors need to step up and document and report those who violate the law, as there will never be enough police to catch everybody. Misuse of fireworks should be taken more seriously by people and their communities, but too often it's just thought of as no big deal and leave it at saying 'that's dangerous' until somebody does something stupid and gets hurt. If the laws in place that regulate this now are not effective, will making more of the same laws make a difference?

I have yet to see a convincing argument that solidly justifies an outright ban of their use, by both professionals and regular folk.
posted by chambers at 7:33 PM on July 7


"they simply made their own" was supposed to have links in it.
posted by chambers at 7:49 PM on July 7


Also, people who are traumatized by noises should get over it

Right, because mental illnesses like PTSD are just so very easy to suddenly 'get over it.'

I mean, seriously? You actually said that?

That sure sucks for them, but perhaps they could take a xanax or do whatever it is they need to do to manage their mental illness. Expecting the rest of society to work around their limitations is not reasonable.

Oh FFS. Expecting the rest of society to not be total dicks is pretty damn reasonable actually. As someone else said above, you send these people off to blow stuff up overseas, then they come back with PTSD, and somehow it's their fault that fireworks are traumatic? Really?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:58 PM on July 7


Seriously? Even just having scheduled times for fireworks is too much to ask for people whose problem is an "irrational" anxiety disorder? Can you not tell how full of shit you are? It's not even like people with PTSD are the only ones whose health is affected by loud noises - I had a high school teacher who had a hearing problem such that even kids whistling caused him pain.

You're setting the bar even lower than that, you can't even be bothered to spend too much time thinking about accommodating people with health problems.
posted by XMLicious at 8:56 PM on July 7


Banning fireworks in order to accommodate people with mental illnesses who freak out when they hear loud noises would be like banning the construction of multi-story buildings in order to accommodate people who can't walk.

We actually do ban the construction of multi-story buildings that are not accessible to people who can't walk, so this is not a good argument.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:23 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


We actually do ban the construction of multi-story buildings that are not accessible to people who can't walk, so this is not a good argument.

We mandate that they be made accessible, not that they not exist at all, I think was his point.
posted by rifflesby at 11:36 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


« Older Just Leave.   |   Rolling Coal: Everything Else... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post