By editorial board • 

Celebrate freedom on America’s birthday by respecting others’

Bombs bursting in air and embers setting bushes aflame. Hot dogs loaded topped with mustard and relish and scared dogs hiding beneath the blanket.
The birthday celebration for the United State of America is a joyous celebration for most that often becomes a reckless engagement for a few. There is little law enforcement can do — leaving it up to personal responsibility by residents to respect their neighbors. Unfortunately, the need to be a good neighbor is too often lost by the desire to blow stuff up on July 4 and the days around it.
The lighting of fireworks causes damage and injuries every year. In Oregon, a majority of those are caused by illegal fireworks — any one that flies in the air, explodes or travels more than 12 feet horizontally. Last year, there were 192 reported fireworks-related blazes, resulting in more than half a million dollars in property damage.

Projectile consumer fireworks flow south from Washington, where they can be purchased at a number of retail locations. Ironically, the nuisance of fireworks-related incidents has led myriad cities to ban fireworks use altogether. This year, even a sparkler set off in Vancouver, Washington, could lead to a fine.

The use of Washington-sold fireworks illegally in Oregon creates a backlog of calls to 911 every year. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for local police to enforce the law because they must catch the perpetrator in the act of lighting an aerial to write a ticket for illegal use. Of the calls Mac Police receive, the percentage of reports resulting in an officer successfully catching someone in the act is in the teens, patrol Capt. Tim Symons estimated.

Mac PD already assigned extra officers to the fireworks show at Evergreen, so increasing patrol isn’t an option — and likely wouldn’t help much anyway.

While damage and injuries cause the most concern, the majority of issues regarding inner-city fireworks involve furry friends. The loud explosions send some dogs into an anxiety-laden frenzy. Pet owners who are lucky just deal with a shaking canine under a blanket. Others have to drug their pets to prevent them from chewing furniture or escaping and running frenzied through the streets.

We look forward to the annual family friendly festival and fireworks show at the Evergreen museum campus as well as Willamina, St. Paul and elsewhere. An outright fireworks ban seems over the top.

But we wish everyone could celebrate the freedoms of America by respecting the freedom of their neighbor to not have to fear a lost pet, a bush on fire, or a far too late explosion down the street.

Comments

Mudstump

It's important to think for a moment about your neighbors as well. I have horses and when my neighbor sets off very loud illegal fireworks they come unglued. I was nearly injured last year when I tried to untangle my horse who had freaked out and destroyed some of his stall. Legal fireworks are not the issue...it's the mortar like bombs that people set off that can cause an animal to panic and injure themselves or those trying to calm them.

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