Wide awake at 2 a.m. or 'Why so many fireworks?'
July 8, 2020
I hate to admit it, but I must be getting older for my age. While I’ll be turning 34 in October, this July 4 has me feeling sort of like a curmudgeon in regards to the amount of fireworks I heard going off around my neighborhood over the weekend. In one case, fireworks set off at 2 a.m. rocked both my wife and I out of a deep sleep.
It seems that the older I get, the more I can understand the frustration that has been felt by dog owners and those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For the past few years, often around Independence Day or New Year’s Eve, I’ve seen announcements on social media for people to be considerate of their neighbors when setting off fireworks.
In many cases, it’s often an appeal to consider our veterans who struggle with PTSD and who may be triggered by the unexpectedly loud noises around their homes.
To be honest, my experience this weekend nearly had me standing out on my porch in my jammy-jams yelling for people to “knock it off.” While we were frustrated, we also tried to understand that this was America’s birthday and that people were wanting to celebrate after a whole spring of being cooped up. So, though we grumbled to each other, we didn’t make a call to the Saratoga Police Department.
Even when we clearly saw someone staying in our neighborhood set off a handful of what seemed to be professional grade fireworks. What frustrated us most about that was the danger it posed to our neighborhood. My wife told me she heard the debris from the mortars hit the tin roof of a neighbor’s house. What’s more, we know of at least one person in our neighborhood who is in her late 80s and is legally blind.
Part of me gets it. It’s the 4th of July and we’re celebrating freedom and independence, so why should we “ask permission” to be using fireworks to celebrate.
For the most part, however, I can’t quite understand the mindset of being so inconsiderate of your neighbors; whether they are permanent or temporary.
Since I couldn’t sleep on July 4, or July 5 to be honest since the fireworks festivities went on for two nights instead of one, I found myself looking through the Saratoga Municipal Code to see what it had to say about fireworks. Here’s what I found.
According to 9.28.010, no person “shall within the town, fire or discharge any cannon, gun, fowling piece, pistol or firearm of any description, or fire, explode or set off anything containing powder or other combustible material.”
Additionally, 9.28.020 reads, “It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, give away or otherwise dispose of, use or have in his or her possession any fireworks, torpedoes, firecrackers or other explosives or combustibles of a similar nature within the corporate limits; provided, that a permit may be issued by the mayor, with the approval of the council, to a responsible organization desiring to give a display of fireworks, which permit shall name the time and place at which the display is to be given.”
Finally, according to 1.12.010, not only could a person setting off fireworks illegally within town limits be subject to a fine of up to $750 but they could also face six months in jail.
While these ordinances may appear excessive, and perhaps clarity is needed in some cases, these are what is currently on the books. In the end, I would like to believe that the intent of these ordinances is for the safety of those living within town limits and for the benefit of the Saratoga Volunteer Fire Department. We continue to have dry summers and it doesn’t take much to get a blaze going.
So, while these may appear to be the rantings and ravings of a potential curmudgeon, I would hope that it actually is presented as I intend; a plea for consideration of your neighbors.