The only argument that might make me hesitate to think for even a moment before condemning the current discussion by Fayetteville city government about softening the firework ordinance would be that shooting off fireworks on fourth of July is patriotic.
Visit with a Vietnam or middle-east vet living in the hillside woodlands and stream riparizn zones in south Fayetteville and ask about their reactions to the sounds of fireworks. Some may be afraid to talk to you. Others will explain exactly what their generation experienced that led to the replacement of the WWI classification of shell-shocked with "victims of post-dramatic trauma."
If you don't care about the human victims of the intrusive noise of fireworks, how about the thousands of pets that disappear in the vain attempt to escape the pain of firework noise.
Whatever one calls it, a person who has been helpless under heavy fire in battle usually doesn't enjoy fireworks. Especially if he lives as quietly as possible in a Fayetteville forested area and is awakened in his bed on the ground by assorted expensive fireworks lighting the sky above him.
Denver's zero tolerance firework policy outlined
UPDATED: 06/30/2009 07:20:35 PM MDT
Denver has zero tolerance for fireworks.
That means fireworks can't be stored, used, manufactured or sold in Denver.
Today, Denver police and paramedics gathered outside the emergency room at Denver Health Medical Center and used graphic pictures to illustrate why the city has the policy.
Mangled fingers. Mutilated arms. Badly burned hands and faces.
"The only things that are legal are non-ignitable items such as paper-wrapped, small poppers," said Denver Police Technician Dean Christopherson. "We allow nothing that ignites or explodes."
The prohibition includes sparklers.
"The problem with sparklers are that they burn at over a thousand degrees," he said. "They are very flammable. Anything that you have around
them could set a lot of fires."
Christopherson said another consideration is the hope that the "quality of life" can be preserved in Denver.
He said the vast majority of fireworks calls are in the evening as people try to sleep and pets are "trying to get some peace."
Setting off the fireworks wakes some and upsets the pets, he said.
Lt. Scott Homlar, a lieutenant with Denver Paramedic Division, said that annually in the United States between 8,000 and 10,000 emergency room visits are caused by fireworks injuries.
The vast majority of the blast and burn victims are kids 15 years and younger and most injuries occur in the months around July 4th, Homlar said.
"You have to understand that these are little explosives," said Homlar. "Most of the injuries are either to the head or to the extremities — to the hands, eyes, ears and facial injuries."
Christopherson said that so far this year, there have been about 350 complaints about fireworks in Denver, which is half the number of the calls at this time last year.
He said it could be the result of a down economy, a lack of available fireworks or people obeying the law.
He noted that the maximum penalty for setting off fireworks in Denver is a
fine up to $999 and one year in jail.
Homlar said he has personally treated people injured by fireworks. "Fortunately, it is not a common occurrence," he said. "I think it is reflective of the law in Denver which makes it illegal for people to even possess the items."
Still, Homlar doesn't want to be a holiday killjoy. "We want you to have a good time, we want you to have an enjoyable 4th of July but we want you to be legal," he said.
To report the use of illegal fireworks in Denver, call police either at 311 or 720-913-2000.
Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or firstname.lastname@example.org