Sunday, June 24, 2012

Does common sense exist when it comes to fireworks?

I honestly think that common sense is one of those things that flies right out the window when it comes to fireworks.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July are going to be a noisy and obnoxious time period every year.

It used to be that it was just the week leading up to the holiday.

That’s not the case anymore.

Now it’s the month leading up to and following the Fourth of July.

I’m not talking about community displays. Those usually start right around 10 p.m. and last 20 minutes and it’s over.

I’m talking about residents setting off fireworks at their homes.

No, those seem to start around 9 p.m. and go until 2 a.m. – at least in my neighborhood. It’s not even just the weekends anymore. It’s Monday through Friday.

And we’re not talking the little fireworks that we had when I was a kid. You know, sparklers, a few firecrackers and those little pellets that you lit and would grow to look like snakes.

Now when people set off fireworks it sounds like we live in a Third World Country and we’re under attack.

When that happens, my oldest cat seems to undergo some sort of nervous breakdown – pacing the house and peering out the windows to see what all the noise is about. Since some people don’t understand the notion of sleep, some nights I can’t get him calmed down until well after 2 a.m.

It’s not just the noise, though.

As a person that has survived not one but two apartment fires – I’m a little nervous when it comes to the mixture of people, beer and explosive. Call me crazy, but that never seems like a good idea – and yet it happens constantly.

Given the lack of precipitation in the area recently – and the fact that my lawn looks like it hasn’t rained in months – all of these random (and flying) sparks haven’t escaped my attention.

What’s funny about the situation is that people don’t even bother setting them off on concrete anymore. Of course, that wouldn’t stop some fireworks, but it would still be a deterrent.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people lighting off fireworks on their grass in recent weeks, though. The mere idea of that doesn’t scream smart to me.

Then there are my favorite fireworks fans – the ones that think it’s perfectly fine to let a 10-year-old light off a package of fireworks with his younger siblings in attendance – but no adult in sight.

I saw that twice on my street alone last night.

Trust me, I don’t want to infringe on the fun of others – and I’m a big proponent of staying out of my neighbor’s business – but can we come back from La La Land and exert just a modicum of control people?

Essentially, when it comes to fireworks, not only should parents be present at all times but they should also be willing to wrap up the displays by 11 p.m. I don’t think that’s unfair.

And if they don't? I think our friendly neighborhood police departments should be patrolling communities and issuing noise tickets. Not only would it be a deterrent, but it would also be a great revenue source for struggling communities.

What do you think? Are the fireworks in your neighborhood starting to drive you batty?