Ka-boom! Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat! Sha-wheeeeeel!
Those are just some of the sounds heard nightly in many area neighborhoods. These loud noises are caused by fireworks purchased to commemorate our nation’s declaration of independence from Britain. These pyrotechnic celebrations, however, often go on many days prior to and after July 4.
In some neighborhoods, they go on until the last Roman candle, the last sparkler and the last firecracker are ignited. These celebrations can go on late into the night and even early into the morning of the next day. They result in lost sleep for neighbors, terrified dogs and cats, and the remains of bottle rockets littering front lawns and the roofs of houses.
As Press staff writer Becky Campbell reported in Wednesday’s paper, some of the fireworks complaints Johnson City police responded to over the holiday weekend involved a group of teenagers shooting the explosives at homes, cars and even a police officer. One man told police that a firework was tossed into the open passenger window of his car and exploded in front of him around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Johnson City is among a number of municipalities in Tennessee that restrict the sale and use of fireworks. There is no exception — not even for the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. If you are found in possession of fireworks in Johnson City, police say they will confiscate them and issue you a citation.
Catching the culprits is the problem. Police say perpetrators often skedaddle long before they arrive. Perhaps this is where residents who are vexed by these noisemakers can help by capturing them in the act on a camera phone or other digital device. We also have a suggestion for Washington County volunteer firefighters who are raising money by selling these annoying and dangerous devices: You should also sell water cannons for neighbors to use to soak any pyromaniac who is rude enough to set off his fireworks at an unreasonable hour or on a day other than July 4.