Let me say from the outset that I have no problem with people celebrating holidays with a few fireworks, and as a kid I used to create my share of noise with firecrackers and bottle rockets. And I still owe an apology to Mr. and Mrs. Odom, whose front door screen was damaged by an errant bottle rocket my friends and I launched one Fourth of July.
Yet last night I was unable to go to sleep because some inebriated neighborhood asshats decided that a fireworks celeberation needs to continue until 2:30 in the morning. Moreover, the pyrotechnic capabilities of these people rivaled the impressive displays one might expect at a municipal fireworks display.
Thus I listened to several hours of explosions, shrieks, and whooshes - plus the associated drunken revelry - produced by neighbors hell bent on simulated destruction. These folks had to have spent many hundreds of dollars to produce such a sustained artillery campaign.
Where, though, do they even find these types of materials? Some of these explosions were so loud that they reverberated throught the neighborhood 4-5 seconds after detonation, and the rockets the lunatics fired reached heights of several hundred feet.
Then, too, is the issue of safety. We went to a friend's house last night to watch the Sylvania municipal fireworks (where I took the above photo), and some of their neighbors had a pre-fireworks display of their own. Several of these powerful rockets misfired and landed on the ground just a few dozen feet from where young children were playing. No harm, no foul, but what if some innocent kid was injured by an errant rocket simply sitting in his backyard, minding his own business?
Supposedly one needs a permit from the ATF to possess powerful fireworks, and federal law mandates that fireworks contain less than 50-milligrams of flash or explosive powder in order to be legally sold to consumers in the United States. I'm not sure how my asshat neighbors obtained their fireworks, but these were clearly of a caliber far beyond the 50 milligram range.
I suppose, though, that my only recourse is to fire up my old weed-whacker this morning and exact a measure of payback. Perhaps if I remove the muffler on the engine I can achieve a level of noise at a bleary-eyed 8:30 am to remind these folks about neighborliness.
Oh, and a happy Fourth of July to everyone!