July 3, 2016

Before You Go Nuts With the Fireworks

Men Shun Rocket packs
Men Shun Rocket packs (Photo credit: EpicFireworks)
This post was re-purposed from the now defunct Mississippi Atheists blog. It has been edited to improve clarity.

Over the years during which I have been blogging about my experiences as an atheist living in Mississippi, I have made no secret of my dislike for how many Mississippians insist on celebrating the Forth of July, New Year's Eve, Christmas, and other holidays with fireworks. What I find objectionable is not that they enjoy fireworks. I recognize that other people are going to enjoy things I regard as silly and vice-versa. That's not the problem.

What I object to is their continued use of the loudest fireworks they can find long after many of us are trying to sleep and their refusal to pick up the litter they leave in the street and in my yard. This behavior strikes me as being incredibly inconsiderate of others, and I detest it.

What my neighbors do with fireworks really isn't any different from me putting an incredibly loud stereo system outside on my lawn and treating the neighborhood to an unwanted serenade of death metal until approximately 2:00 AM while tossing beer cans and other trash in their yards. This would create a similar amount of mess, and I have to imagine that it would roughly as annoying. Of course, it still wouldn't pose a legitimate fire hazard, so maybe I'd need to flick some lit matches in their yards too. I'd never do any of this, of course, because I am far more considerate of others than that. And yet, I'm the one who gets to hear over and over again about how I cannot be moral without their Christian god!

This year, I ran across a new reason to object to the inconsiderate use of fireworks. It is one I hadn't thought about nearly enough until recently, and I have to say that it makes a great deal of sense. There are many veterans of recent wars living among us who have PTSD, and they deserve better than to be exposed to thoroughly unnecessary and potentially triggering stimuli throughout the night. If any of these veterans live in areas like I do, they cannot escape the barrage.

The fireworks only lasted for 4 hours last night, and I imagine tonight will be comparable. I'm sure I'm being overly sensitive as a result of running a high fever, not being able to keep food down, and feeling like someone is running a jackhammer inside my head. But neither yesterday nor today are holidays.

If this 4th of July is like the rest of them, I can look forward to a minimum of 6 hours of feeling like I am in a war zone. And I am neither a veteran nor someone suffering from combat-related PTSD. I'm just someone trying to sleep, who has to go to work on Tuesday, and feeling appalled at how inconsiderate these Christians are of their neighbors.
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