Let’s Leave The 4th Of July On The 4th Of July

dog with ears covered 2July 4th has always been my favorite holiday – parades, music festivals, picnics, the feeling of patriotism, community fireworks displays that everyone comes out for; it’s the highlight of summer.

But I also recognize that the holiday is not pure delight for everyone.  It is in fact a nightmare for many. Veterans with PTSD can suffer, as random booms often re-activate memories of combat trauma. Even non-veterans can find it hard to endure the intrusiveness of the sounds of explosions as nearby as next door. Many dog owners are stressed and dread the holiday because some dogs shake with fear, hide in bathtubs, or under beds for the duration. More dogs go missing on July 4th than any other time of year. One person I know spent the weekend in a motel to get away from the noise. Many people I talked to suffered through the weekend and spoke of the fireworks getting more out of control every year.

Because it is just one weekend a year, it is more or less tolerable. But what if we had fireworks stores on every corner, resulting in random pops and booms in our neighborhoods any time of day or night, any day of the week, all year round? What about losing the ability to count on peace and quiet in our own homes?  Some like to pass this off as a minor issue, but quality of life would be negatively affected in addition to the safety issues involved.

If the Iowa legislature legalizes fireworks, we will not simply be able to un-do the law later. Mom and Pop stores would spring up in every town across the state and soon there would be people whose livelihoods depend on selling these useless, dangerous explosives of no value to anyone. If we need to establish a new economic industry, couldn’t it be something of actual value that contributes to the common good, instead of an obnoxious activity that is (coincidentally) compatible with excessive alcohol consumption?

One link in the DMReg. story below is to an article in which a person said they buy the explosives basically to terrify birds. Let’s not invite more ugliness to the state of Iowa. If you really, really need to have personal explosive devices, make the trip to Missouri. It’s probably a fun tradition. Or have a friend bring some back for you. Have fun on the 4th of July. But let’s save the fireworks for once a year.

The point is, we need to make sure we elect Democrats to the Iowa legislature this fall or Iowa could soon become an intolerable place to live. We narrowly avoided this potential nightmare last session. The Republicans will certainly introduce a bill again this session.

The DMReg. article claims 60% of Iowans approve of legalizing fireworks, but I would argue that most of those surveyed probably haven’t really thought through what life would be like with explosives potentially going off in their neighborhoods 24-7-365.  And I suspect that if they were asked, “Are you good with Iowa’s fireworks laws as they now stand?” 60% would probably shrug and say “sure.”  As of now, if your neighbors get really reckless with the explosives, there is recourse.  If they become legal, you’ll just have to cope.

So vote for Democrats this fall, but if fireworks legalization comes up this session, if we still have Republican rule in the legislature, it will be imperative that we all contact our senators and reps.  They will be under a lot of pressure to vote yes because that is who they are hearing from. The quality of life in Iowa, which is rapidly diminishing due to poor water quality and other Republican initiated consequences, is in danger of taking another sharp turn for worse.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Des Moines Register:

The Iowa Senate appeared on the verge of approving a fireworks legalization proposal late in this year’s session, but it was declared dead after two Democrats abruptly switched their votes before a key committee meeting. Further debate appears likely when lawmakers return to the Iowa Capitol in January.

State Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, said he is convinced that if the Iowa House and Senate have a floor vote on a bill to legalize fireworks, it will be approved and sent to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature.

“If I am there in the Senate in January, you can bet your bottom dollar” that another fireworks bill will be proposed, Chapman said.

“..legalizing the product in Iowa would increase injuries and deaths in fireworks accidents, including situations that involve innocent bystanders. Nationally, about 10,500 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2014, federal statistics show. In addition, some veterans’ advocates have cited growing concerns that legalizing fireworks would be a hardship for Iowa combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

(click here to read the entire article)

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