A Quiet Night at Home

For us, the Fourth of July is like Halloween to fundamentalists: A night when evil is abroad, a time when seemingly decent people become devils. At the very least, a time when one realizes just how out of step one is with the broader culture.

My own dislike of the noisy Fourth is magnified by the terror it strikes in poor Lucky Dog. He cowers; he trembles; he slinks from spot to spot, finding no escape. I have held him shaking, his heart pounding; it is hell for him.

When I was a kid, I loved fireworks, of course. I had little interest in snakes and sparklers: I liked flying things, like helicopters and rockets or the spinners one nailed to a tree. I recall wheedling my father into buying a huge assortment of fireworks for an outlandish price. As I got a little older, I bought my own fireworks. There was an afternoon I methodically studied the effect on various objects of single firecrackers extracted from the long chains favored by the Chinese. As you would expect, the effect was delightfully destructive — and in the name of science, yet. I had no sympathy for the neighbor who called to complain and threatened to call the police. Old fart.

But I grew up. While I haven’t put away all childish things, I have turned my back on the destroyers and those who love loudness. I sit here, all the doors and windows closed, the stereo up, the swamper rattling futilely overhead as it sucks in sulfurous smoke, wishing to drown out the noise that so delights others.

A year ago, after a very long period filled with extremely loud, explosive rockets that flew directly over our house, littering our yard, I stormed out into the street and charged my neighbors in a rage, a human Roman candle. For days now, I’ve wondered what to do, where to go, how to escape. Is there anyplace people don’t go mad over pyrotechnics? Dare I take Lucky to the woods or the wilderness. What if there is a passel of patriots where we end up? (I’ve had many camping experiences ruined by gun nuts delighting in noise and destruction. And those were regular days, not even the Day of National Ejaculation.)

The way we celebrate the Fourth is the epitome of Americanism: Short-lived, loud, flashy, expensive, destructive. Underlying it all, the smug certainty that we Americans live in the Shining City Upon the Hill, the Greatest Nation on Earth and of All Time. Add in an aggressive indifference to anyone who doesn’t like the way we do things — We’re Number One, Screw You!

Still, we’re not the only nationalists and chauvinists; it’s as natural to our species as murder. Years ago, in a beautiful campground in Canada, we were awakened by booming music thumping from a stereo as some local began his drunken celebration of Canada Day at 6am. There are loud idiots everywhere. Today is one of their high holy days. peace, mjh

PS: The clearly illegal rocket racket — Operation Slackened Jaw — lasted almost until midnight. The streets and park are littered with debris.

KOB.com – Dozens cited for illegal fireworks

Fire officials show off fireworks confiscated in the past three days

In the last three days, Albuquerque police and fire marshals say they have given out more tickets for illegal fireworks than all five days of enforcement last year.

Since Tuesday, 69 tickets have been written. Additionally, they have confiscated a large amount of fireworks, some of which officials liken more to small explosives.

Fire marshals said they are planning a massive enforcement operation on the night of Independence Day to keep everything safe and legal. They say it will be no small task.

“It appears to be much busier and we anticipate with the fourth being on a Friday night, that it’s gonna be real busy,” an official said.

Firefighters say if you are lighting off your own fireworks, keep it safe and legal.

“If you’re gonna do fireworks, please just do the ones that are sold in the city and not any of the arials or anything because its fun for a while but the whole department is gonna be out tonight,” an official said.

If you are caught with illegal fireworks, you could face a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. If authorities see you launching one, it is punishable with a second ticket of $1000 and up to six months in jail.

KOB.com – Dozens cited for illegal fireworks

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