Letter to the Editor: How safe and sane?

Cities where fireworks are allowed on July 4 end up looking like war zones. Their air is suffocating, and the trash in the streets is reminiscent of a third-world country. Frightened dogs bark relentlessly, cower in a corner, or even worse, they may run away.
When someone else’s actions could cause my home to be one of the fires fueled by unsafe and insane fireworks (17,800 reported in 2012, according to Fire Chief Duree), that is where I draw the line. In his report to the City Council, Duree also noted that the risk of fires and related deaths were higher for fireworks than for cigarettes.
Our resources are already stretched to the max, according to public-safety sources. How many fires will be started? How many homes destroyed? How many injuries will require paramedics? How many asthmatics will experience life-threatening breathing problems because of the gross air pollution? How many pets will be frightened or harmed? How many animals will be lost? How many irresponsible people will cause damage to their neighbors’ property? Who will be available to handle these situations? Who will pay for these extra services and casualties?
Are the groups that would profit from the sale of fireworks going to pay for the extra expenses of the city for public safety? Will they pay for damages to property? How do they plan to atone for the loss of a child’s eye, for the heartbreak of losing a pet or even the loss of someone’s life in a fire? Will they be cleaning up all of the trash left behind? Are they willing to shoulder the responsibility?
This state is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history– a powder keg for wild fire. A single burning ember can travel a distance of a mile. Don’t we have enough of a mess from the Queen Mary fireworks visitors without adding more problems?
All things considered, the City Council needs to put this issue to bed and continue the ban. It’s the only safe and sane thing to do.

Diana Lejins
Long Beach

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