Every night for at least three weeks now –
Loud bangs and explosions, beginning at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. and going until midnight or later. It’s been everywhere in Philadelphia, and worse than normal. These explosions are bigger and louder and they’re taking place weeks before the Fourth of July, which is different from years past.
Even outside of Philly, you’ve probably heard them. Craig and Coggin can hear it in New Jersey. There have been complaints in Boston, New York, Hartford, and Baltimore. The entire east coast is currently experiencing some sort of firework phenomenon where these things are being set off nightly.
Some people shrug it off and say it’s no big deal, that kids are just having fun or people are bored during the pandemic, that we’re crusty old narcs filing NIMBY complaints. Fireworks have been a thing in the city for years now, but what we’re hearing in 2020 isn’t anything close to past experiences. This is more than just a minor and temporary discomfort for the following reasons:
- fireworks freak out dogs, who start shaking physically
- babies have trouble falling asleep
- they are disruptive for kids with autism
- any veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder can be triggered by loud bangs
Seriously, if you’re a parent of a special needs child or know someone who served in Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan, loud bangs are some of the worst things you can experience. It throws kids off balance and it makes vets think they’re back in Baghdad or Kabul or reliving the battle of Khe Sanh.
Fireworks are fine for a couple of nights around Independence Day, but this is prolonged and different. It seemed to begin during the rioting and looting that took place about three weeks ago, when idiots were trying to blow up ATMs and police were out and about trying to calm things down on Aramingo Avenue and over in West Philadelphia. The fallout from George Floyd’s death turned into demonstrations here, which eventually died down but segued into fireworks, for some reason.
For what it’s worth, fireworks were made legal in Pennsylvania in 2017, and Philadelphia did not go along with that decision until Mayor Kenney amended the fire code last July in order to allow for civilian use, with some restrictions. The key point is that you can’t set off fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure, which includes houses and commercial buildings, so it goes without saying that the backyard mortars you hear are being set off illegally.
The city received 1,737 fireworks complaints in the first half of June, 80 times as many as it got in the same period last year.
People seem to think all of this is a conspiracy, and maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s more than just a fad, or bored kids setting off bottle rockets because they don’t have anything better to do. Some threads on Twitter suggest authorities are doing it on purpose as some kind of retaliation, and here’s a crazy Twitter thread that people are sharing if you wanna dive down a rabbit hole:
Reporting from Brooklyn, there was yet another night of extremely loud fireworks starting at 8 pm. and ending at about 2 a.m. This is the second week straight of this; every night during the same time period, like clockwork.
— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) June 20, 2020
Retweets are not endorsements at Crossing Broad, but whatever the reason for the extending fireworks display this year, please, God, just make it stop. Go inside and play Rocket League or smoke a joint or make a TikTok video or whatever kids are doing these days. The constant explosions are bad for dogs, babies, veterans, and anybody else who has to listen to this shit every single night.