Last week my neighbor called me up, visibly shaken, saying that he was walking down a sidewalk with his dog and an M-80 blew off nearby. He said that he almost jumped out of his skin, and his dog was panicked. “Where are they coming from?” he asked. I told him that I didn’t have a clue, but like everyone else I have been hearing the cacophony of explosions on a nightly basis.
Not only have the illegal fireworks been the talk of the town, they have also been a leading topic of discussion in other cities throughout the nation, including NYC where the problem appears to be far worse.
The real crazy thing is that no one has an answer for the troublesome mischief. I’ve heard everything from “It’s the Deep State” to “It’s bored youth.” No matter who it is, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel on this one. I spoke to a Buffalo public official earlier today, who agreed to talk “off the record” – this person was still sorting out the details and didn’t have an official message to relay from the City. What this person did tell me was not very reassuring. The Buffalo Police Department is dealing with a number of shootings that are not related to the fireworks – that is their priority. The crazy thing is that some people in my neighborhood think that the fireworks are shootings, which is especially concerning when you’re talking about peace of mind.
Apparently this situation is considered “near impossible to enforce.” The people responsible are probably on the move. But that doesn’t mean that we should just let sleeping dogs lie (since they can’t sleep anyways). Besides the dogs, the elderly, and wildlife, think of how unsettling this is for vets? Then there are the fire hazards, and the dangers of handling explosives, not to mention the legal ramifications.
So where are these illegal fireworks coming from? Most people that I have talked to believe that they are being trafficked from Pennsylvania – have you seen the advertising billboards in Buffalo? How is it legal to advertise illegal fireworks? Maybe that’s a place to start? Outlaw the ads in NYS.
Others think that they are being sold under the table at local corner stores, and that there’s a racket going on.
The public official that I spoke to said that the police are on the lookout, “but don’t get your hopes up.” Unless a neighbor blows someone in, chances are these hooligans are not going to get caught.
So what’s the answer? Like tagging, there should be “think twice” deterrents.
In the meantime, it looks as if we’re going to have to wait it out. Starting at 7pm, the explosions will begin to ring out, and they might last until 2am. So shut your windows, turn on your AC (if you have a unit), and wait it out until morning. If you see a lot of people walking around Buffalo that look frazzled, you know why.
Lead image: Photo by Leonardo Yip