Letter: Fireworks can be traumatic to some


To the editor,

I write to implore all area residents to think of their neighbors before purchasing or detonating fireworks, this year and every year. To some, loud fireworks may be harmless fun. To many others, they are a source of trauma and terror.

My household includes a combat veteran with a heart condition, as well as noise-sensitive pets. For such individuals, and for others with any of a variety of physical and psychological conditions, a single loud firework is, at best, startling and upsetting. Two or more detonations within a short period of time are traumatizing, especially for pets, who cannot begin to understand what is causing these explosive noises. Two or three fireworks in the course of a day or evening can result in several hours of abject terror. Please think of how many pets, war veterans and other affected individuals are likely to live within hearing distance of your fireworks, and consider whether their anxiety and terror constitute a fair exchange for whatever momentary pleasure you may derive from hearing those explosions.

I understand that authorized fireworks, such as those provided by municipal governments on or near the Fourth of July, are an important part of the holiday for many people. While my household does not enjoy these displays, we know in advance when they will occur, and we can take appropriate precautions. Effects can be mitigated with earplugs, noise-masking techniques, and veterinary tranquilizers when necessary. On the other hand, one never can predict when unauthorized (illegal) fireworks will be set off by private citizens. Last year, our neighborhood was randomly bombarded with extremely loud explosions at all times of the day and night, on all days of the week, from mid-May to late November. I think everyone would agree that it would be neither practical nor safe to wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, or to keep pets under the influence of tranquilizers, for nearly seven continuous months.

To those who say, “It wouldn’t be Fourth of July (or Memorial Day, etc.), without neighborhood fireworks,” I suggest taking a moment to remember the original purpose of those holidays. In celebrating an occasion meant to honor American ideals and the veterans who risked their lives to defend those ideals, does it make sense to traumatize those very veterans as part of the celebration?

Wendy Ruggeri