This was going to be another post about my health, because lots of shit is going down atm with my body and brain, but I thought I’d give you a break and have a rant instead. I’m going to start by saying that I feel really great. I am not writing this post because I am in a bad mood, but because I have had my favourite season (Autumn, obvs, closely followed by spring) marred by fireworks, and I’m not the only one.
For me personally, fireworks have negative connotation due to a bad experience one bonfire night. I can deal with the lights, but the bangs cut me to the core and leave me shaking under the table like the cat. It used to be that I would have to deal with one night a year where I would hole up at home and put the headphones on. Now, as in countries like America, it seems people will set them off for any reason, or no reason at all.
But why would I want there to be tighter rules and sanctions surrounding the sale and use of fireworks by the general public? True I don’t like them, but it goes deeper than that. Fireworks can be incredibly frightening for sufferers of PTSD sufferers such as myself. A round of successive loud bangs that comes out the blue, but giving the PTSD sufferer time and space to put together coping mechanisms. This article details not only how fireworks effect combat veterans in the US, but the backlash many experienced after simply asking for a little courtesy.
In the US, the threat comes around the 4th of July, which represents the declaration of independence and the birth of the United States as an independent nation. In England, ‘bonfire night’ ‘fireworks night’ or ‘Guy Fawkes day’,which takes place on the 5th of November, celebrates the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes 16o5 to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes is said to be ‘the man to enter parliament with honest intentions’.
The problem is that that fireworks are not confined to those dates. When the millennium came, people in England set off fireworks to celebrate the new millennium, or to mark the end of the world as we knew it, something an awful lot of very intelligent people genuinely thought would happen. Since then, the sound of fireworks going off drowns out the companionable sound of people welcoming in the the New Year by joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.
But what it even more hard to fathom are the firework displays that happen throughout the autumn and winter months, seemingly for no reason. If you read the piece about PTSD in veterans (and I’m going to take this point to reaffirm that it’s not just veterans who have diagnoses of PTSD), you’ll know that we need to prepare. To shut ourselves away with headphones and tranquilizers, so that the rest of the world can have their pretty colours.
Just to ice the cake for those who enjoy fireworks, over 1000 injuries occur every year as a result of accidents with fireworks in the UK. These legal explosives are available to anyone who has the money, and the desire to spunk up 100’s of pounds to make a few bangs in their back garden while knocking back the beers. You don’t need a licence, you don’t need to give notice. I’m not sure if they even teach firework safety in schools any more, not that it would help the adults that are handling them.
At vets surgeries, when you take kitty or woofy dog on for their jabs and such, you will see posters that advise pet owners to keep their pets in on bonfire night. That’s all well and good, but now that people are setting off fireworks whenever they fancy, how are supposed to know when to keep our pets in outside of bonfire night?
People will cite tradition, though the reasons behind Guy Fawkes night are far from patriotic; as well as peoples freedom to do what they want inside of the law. It is my opinion that fireworks should only be used at organised and licensed events; public displays, where strict safety protocols are followed, and the general public are kept safe while enjoying the pretty colours. I myself used to watch the fireworks from an organised display about a mile from my house when the children were small. We couldn’t hear the bangs through our double glazed windows, which also frightened my son, who has Aspergers syndrome, but we could see the colours, not that the children were even that fussed.
Lots of children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, ADHD and such get very distressed by fireworks, yet another reason to regulate their use. I know that in the scheme of things, many people may see this as being unimportant, just a little thing that people ought to get used to, but I really don’t see why we should. I’d like to see use of fireworks go back to pre-2000, where we had fireworks once a year, and most people went to organised displays.
For the people with PTSD, with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities. For the 1000+ people that get injured every year not using fireworks properly. For the pets and for our peace of mind, I believe we need to make moves towards legislation that regulates the use of fireworks.
What is your opinion on this subject?