There has been a boom in fireworks-related grievances across the nation. While people are fairly used to early Fourth of July celebrations, this year, there has been an explosion in pyrotechnic complaints from residents (and their dogs) across the United States as fireworks light up the sky night after night.
Residents in Hartford, Minneapolis, Chicago, Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles have been plagued with nightly displays. In New York City, fireworks-related complaints have boomed 236 times higher this month compared to the same time period last year, according to Gothamist while over in California, the City of Pasadena reports that their fireworks calls are up 400% this month. Police in the Boston suburb of Salem, saw complaints increase by 2,000%, CBS Boston reports.
Naturally people are complaining about them on Twitter:
And there are jokes.
The fireworks even made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:
Dogs that are terrified of fireworks are also suffering—as are the people they live with as their pup hides under a table or tries to scratch their way through a wall.
There is some colloquial evidence to support the idea that sales of fireworks have risen considerably since lockdown. “Usually there’s one week before July 4th where it’s like a mad rush,” Anthony LoBianco, who runs Pennsylvania-based Intergalactic Fireworks, told TIME. “But that level of activity is happening now. Everyone is buying radically: they’re bored, and they have nothing to do at night. Fireworks fill in that little void instead of sitting at home and watching TV.”
So what else is behind this spike in fireworks? The New York Times attributes the rise to, “a release after months of boredom and seclusion in cramped apartments,” as well as “a celebration of hard-fought strides made during the demonstrations, and a show of defiance toward the police.”
Another theory is that there are simply more fireworks around than usual since many Fourth of July events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus, and prices may have dropped.
And some believe that it’s not just people blowing off steam after months of staying inside or marking the protests or celebrating Juneteenth, but something else entirely. Users on social media are speculating that the fireworks are part of an organized effort to destabilize or punish communities of color by depriving them of sleep as a response to the calls to defund the police department and denounce police brutality after George Floyd’s death.
In response to the many sleepless nights, there was a protest outside of the residence of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio on Monday night. Frustrated by what they view as the mayor’s lack of action over the fireworks, people reportedly decided that if they can’t sleep due to the fireworks, he can’t either so crowds yelled and cars honked.
The protest apparently caught the attention of the mayor who has since launched a taskforce to investigate where the fireworks are coming from and cut off the source.
He also announced that the city will hold its Fourth of July celebrations over the course of four nights. Meaning that a city exhausted by nightly fireworks will get more fireworks.