...starts in a few hours, and there are still three days to get through until the holiday, but fireworks have been going off in the neighborhood for more than a week. Not a night goes by without firecrackers and other sorts of pyrotechnic devices being lit off. Some sound suspiciously like gunfire, and may be for all I know; at least no one has been murdered around here for several months.
The fireworks are, of course, illegal. The city forbids them, even though various nearby unicorporated areas don't restrict their sale or use.
The first year I lived here, the scene on the night of the Fourth was incredible. Various kinds of unsafe and insane stuff -- smuggled in from Asia; one of the benefits of living right next to a port -- were being shot off everywhere in the neighborhood. It was better than the "legal" professional shows. From sunset on, rockets, pinwheels, M80s and God-knows-what filled the air with brilliant displays and the smell of burnt gunpowder.
That year, the police stood by and watched from a safe distance, doing nothing more than cruising the streets every half hour or so to tell people to stop. The officers were not surprised when the fun began again even before they could turn the corner....
But there were complaints. I believe most of them came from our dim-bulb City Council-person, who seems capable only of sucking up to developers, unions and people who can't stand to see their neighbors having fun. So the last three years have been quieter and quieter as fewer people wanted to risk the wrath of the newly energized police.
I'd like to think this year will see a return to the defiant explosive celebrations that are, after all, part of neighborhood tradition. But I'm not holding my breath. The police have a new division commander here, and I'm sure he wants to keep the Council-person happy.
Even so, I hope the nighttime shoot-offs are the prelude to a return to this relatively harmless one-day manifestation of lawlessness. It's Independence Day, right?
After all, July has traditionally been an unhappy month for me except for the Fourth. Memorably bad things happened in July five, six, and seventeen years ago. And mid-July will mark the fourth (month) anniversary of a really bad blow....
So I'd like to at least be able to enjoy that one night with the neighborhood pyromaniacs before I start looking for a cave to hide in until August rolls around.
17 hours ago