Letter to the Editor: In defense of illegal fireworks

Dear Editor:

I am sorry to read again that there is always that one person who complains about the 4th of July fireworks, the loud noises and illegal and legal ones that continually plague our city and all our surrounding cities.

If you have lived in Downey for as long as I have, which is almost 50 years, I will say that I am not surprised we have these outbursts.

Ironically when I was a little girl these scared me and our dog too but the ones I enjoyed, the ‘snakes’ and the little ‘log cabin’ which were just smoky and made no noise, were alleged to contain carcinogens and so were banned and outlawed while the fountains with the pretty colors and pops and bangs were still allowed. I used to enjoy the Warren High carnival and fireworks each year and was sad when it stopped. I am glad we did have a sanctioned fireworks show again this year at Downey High School.

If you have lived here for any length of time, you would realize that illegal noises and fireworks do go on all year long. I am awakened at two in the morning, in May or September or whenever and realize they are not gunshots or worse, but just some random person lighting off an M-80. That is not related to the national holiday, but someone was having loud fun. I then go back to sleep and don’t care, as long as it was not on my property.

My home is safe and sane, we enjoy supporting our local charities every 4th and then this year when there was no one to light them off for, no kids who enjoy the regular fireworks, and no family to share with, then I was happy to step outside and watch from a 360 degree view the illegal ones, for one night. They are very pretty and having spent time in Florida on the 4th where the large up in the air fireworks are legal, I can appreciate a good local show.

The neighbors who lit off the legal ones I watched from my yard and smiled to see their kids enjoying the holiday. By 10 in the evening, all the illegal ones stopped but for one guy who kept going several blocks over, and I went to bed, let the cat out from under the bed and smiled that we came through another year as a free and fairly safe and sane country. 

My friends who live in a no firework allowed city experience the same thing every year and go watch the illegal show from their yards too. The fact is that the fire and police cannot be on every block for this night and we don’t want them to be. We want them to be called for real emergencies, like fires, or heart attacks and real gun shots.

So to the man or woman who always gripes and complains and whines that for one day out of the year that we sound like a war zone, I am glad that we do. We have the freedom to break the law, be punished when caught and get away with it on occasion for fun and celebration to respect and enjoy all those freedoms we take for granted.

As long as we do no harm, then it should not be a cry for more action but an acceptance and appreciation for what this country stands for. We shot and fought and fired cannons to make this country free from tyranny, let us try and appreciate that thought for one night, no matter how loud. Because if we are ever invaded, or threatened or terrorized in our streets, then I want those guys to fire back. No matter what, those are the ones who may break the law but do it responsibly and if we are ever in a real war zone in our neighborhood, then I am going over to their house.

After all, our own government and legislative body banned the quiet little ‘snakes’ I liked as a child but left us to our firecrackers. So enjoy and appreciate what our founding fathers had to hear as they battled back the British to secure our initial freedoms, those who fought it again 1812, the Civil War, the WWI and WWII heroes, our Korean and Viet Nam veterans and our Middle East soldiers who likely had to hear worse than the 4th, that we can celebrate their sacrifice and appreciate what may be far worse than what we have to deal with here.

We have the ability to shut our ears, buy headphones or turn up the TV to shut it out for one night. But then realize what we celebrate may be loud, may be harsh and may be illegal at times, but it is a symbol of our freedoms, our enjoyment of the fact that we are free and that we do not have to live with this kind of noise and real destruction on a daily basis and that although we may have to clean up the streets for those neighbors, hose off the yard and lose a night of sleep, well it is better than living with the real threat of invading armies hurling bombs or gunfire or M-80’s blowing up our houses and families.

After all, our own California legislature took away my ‘snakes’, what else do you want to have them take away for missing one night of sleep?

Lisa Delgado