In a recent arrest that is currently being investigated for use of force, officers heard a popping sound, now believed to be fireworks, and mistook it for gunshots. The person arrested was apparently punched and tasered, in part because the police were reacting to the pop of fireworks – the kind of popping fireworks we have heard every night of this summer. It’s not too hard to see how the firework conspiracy theories got started. Are cops maybe setting off fireworks to give themselves an excuse after their excessive use of force?
I mean, no. Of course not. That seems implausible. But to be honest if someone got shot down the street I would just shake my “get off my lawn” fist at presumed firework noises. The incessant private firework demonstrations have made us complacent to the sound of explosions. How can that be a good thing?
I live in Kitchener, Ontario and we are allowed to set off fireworks the day of, before, and after Victoria Day, Canada Day, and Diwali. These displays cannot be set off on public parks or land. These by-laws are being flouted daily in the summer of 2020.
Obviously I want to sleep through the night and not wake up with a start because of explosions outside. I want my dog to have a run of evenings where he isn’t panting with anxiety because of the crashing bangs. But also, I don’t want our already COVID-burdened hospitals to have to contend with the inevitable burns that come from inexpert firework use. And with our region in the middle of a drought, I want our local fire chief to follow the lead of those in Tay Township and surrounding area by banning fireworks before the whole town catches fire.
Everyone is on edge. The physical world is tinder dry and firebrand hot. The masses are set to erupt, unable to withstand the hideous inequity of our constructed reality. There are loud, loud calls to dismantle the police forces so they can be restructured with serve and protect at their heart, and with racism rooted out. In the meantime, a citizen was beaten in part because the police mistook the sound of fireworks as gunfire. Trying to right society’s ills will take time. For now, could we please require people to cease igniting explosives for fun?