COLUMN: Terroristic Noise

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“And the rocket’s red glare. The bombs bursting in air…”</em>

—from “The Star-Spangled Banner”, by Francis Scott Key.

I am to the point that I dread living in Utah during the month of July. I am not fond of living in Utah generally. But, when you add the fact that the Beehive State allows for its residents to shoot off what is referred to as fireworks legally for two entire weeks during this month, I feel like I am under siege from terroristic noise.

Utah law is a strange thing. The state allows for use of fireworks on the three days before and the three days after Independence Day…which all of you should know falls on July 4th. This can happen, without any violation of the law, up to 11 PM, except on the 4th, when you can make noise up to midnight.

And since July 24th is Pioneer Day, a state holiday, Utah allows its residents to repeat this awful procedure again—with the same rules as before—for that full week.

Of course, no one in Utah works that week. And certainly no one has to wake up at 5 AM to go to work. So, as with most laws in this backwards, 3rd class state, the complete absence of logic and foresight into allowing this exercise fits neatly into my packaged disdain for Utah pols.

Babies? Yeah, fireworks wake them up. Dogs? It is a traumatic experience for them to hear those noises. War veterans? Many do not react well to the sudden burst of noise that resembles the bullets and bombs that were fired at them.

But, hey! It’s July 22nd! Time to celebrate…something.

Fireworks are a public nuisance. And it is time for the state to change the law to limit the days they can be set off; or, allow individual counties, municipalities and townships to set the days they think prudent for allowing these unnecessary activities.

I personally would completely ban fireworks for Pioneer Day. If fireworks are supposed to be a commemoration of America’s military, Pioneer Day is entirely the wrong event to celebrate such an event.

You see, when the Mormon Pioneers–and it is a proper noun–decided to settle in what we now call Utah, this land was the property of Mexico. True fact: The early Mormons, in order to make a better lives for themselves, left the United States to seek better fortunes on Mexican land. Good thing the Mexicans did not build a wall, eh?

But there is a second factoid about July 24th, 1847 that makes it wholly inappropriate to light off fireworks as a means to celebrate American exceptionalism. When Brigham Young settled the Mormons in Mexico—now Utah—Mexico was at war with the United States.

Not exactly a great American holiday, is it?

Setting off fireworks to celebrate America’s independence brings suffering to many of the vets who defended that freedom; and, setting off fireworks to celebrate Pioneer Day is effectively making a festive event out of leaving the United States in order to make a life living in the land of an enemy at war with America.

In 2017, this may be somewhat more acceptable. On a daily basis, Trump supporters in Utah often take solace in a foreign adversary trying to hurt the United States.

Good job, Utah. Stay hot!

What exactly is gained by being uncivil and obnoxiously overbearing by shooting off fireworks near your neighbors, who just want to go bed to early? What cerebral eroticism comes from seeing fleeting lights in the sky? How simplistic is the brain that feels a soothing serenity from a small stick making crackling sounds?

It is a puerile mind that finds great entertainment in such an obtrusive act. Even with the horrific dearth of courtesy that a majority of Americans extend to their neighbors nowadays, I am still flummoxed how many of us can just flat out ignore that fireworks are invasive to the point of being terrorizing.

Some reading this might find my judgment to be hyperbolic or overly harsh. And it’s understandable if some thought I had a personal agenda. I do.

Like many, I own a dog. His name is Cooper. He is a mix of dachshund and German pinscher. His most prevalent nickname, the Brown Torpedo, comes from his fur color and his reckless abandon when chasing thrown stuffed toys as well as living, breathing squirrels. He wants to kill every squirrel he sees.

Cooper makes bad days better. Most good days come from something he does to entertain me. When he came down with an unknown illness a few weeks back, I spent three days on my couch with him nestled next to me in convalescence. Cooper is not just the family dog, he is family.

When Cooper hears fireworks, he goes absolutely batty. He is inconsolable. Holding him, I can both feel his heart beating through his chest and sense his overwhelming panic at these bizarre noises. On the 4th of July, it was necessary to drive Cooper into quiet areas around Tremonton and then up Logan Canyon to ease his anxiety.

This is not just about a dog. I think I would be just as angry at those who set off fireworks for a week straight if an infant lived in my house; or, a veteran who fought in a war zone; or, someone who has to wake up at 5 AM to go to work.

It is time for Utah residents to contact their elected officials and demand that 2017 be the last year that July is thought of as a month of terroristic noise. July 3rd, 4th and 24th is a good compromise. Three days of noise can be worked around. Fourteen days of rude inconsiderate fireworks are insane, inhumane and illogical. It is time to change the law and allow all Utahns to look to July, 2018 free from consternation and loathing.

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