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EDITOR'S NOTE | Jamie Stewart

Having a blast this Fourth of July

Fourth of July is upon us once again, and my blood starts to boil. No, not because of the 100-plus degree heat wave we are in, but it is the reemergence of my nemesis, the fireworks stands. I hate to see those contraptions scattered throughout the city, selling those balls of fire in a can.

I really enjoy the fireworks show that the city puts on, with the awesome displays of color, done by professionals. It is the cardboard boxes filled with explosives that injure and maim hundreds every year that I have a problem with.

A lot of groups tell me that the fireworks booth is their main fundraiser of the year. Well, it seems to me that there are dozens more ways to raise money for a trip or new uniforms than selling those awful things.

I never really cared for them before, but especially after I had my T.J., my best friend, my dog, my partner in crime, that I came to really hate them. I don’t think people realize how traumatizing fireworks are to a lot of pets. You always see so many pets that run away from their homes because of the noise. T.J. wouldn’t run away; he would just shake and tremble and whine, looking terrified all night long. It got so bad that we ended up having to give him a sedative before the fireworks started just so he could make it through the night. But, even that was torture, because the medication would slow him down, affecting his motor skills, so he could barely walk. But you could still see the fear in his eyes, knowing that he was still terrified, but he just couldn’t physically express it. I hurt for him every year around the fourth of July.

I still believe that fireworks contributed to his death. After having to sedate him because of people letting off fireworks around New Year’s Eve, T.J. still was feeling the effects of the drug. I took him for a ride to try to see if it would help him. I stopped at a dog park to let him do his business, and he somehow hurt himself on the hill at the dog park, injuring his back. He ended up with a compression of his spine, and I lost my best friend. So, excuse me if I am a bit extreme on this subject.

There is also the addition of alcohol that really seals the deal as a really bad idea. It is a great idea to start lighting up fireworks, grenades that you can hold in your hand, while being half-lit yourself. That is a great combination. It is a wonder that there aren’t more injuries and deaths than there actually are every year. I wish that we could do away with the “safe and sane” fireworks and enjoy the shows put on by those who know what they are doing, and hopefully, sober.

Jamie Stewart is editor of The Shafter Press. The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper or its management.


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