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City councilor to host forum on 'fireworks trauma'

With pre-Fourth fireworks at possibly their most insane levels ever, City Councilor Julia Mejia (at large) will host a mental-health counselor and two youth leaders in an online session to try to figure out what to do about the problems the bombs bursting in air are causing.

Mejia's session starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, interactively on Zoom and simulcast on her Facebook page. To take part in the discussion, e-mail Mejia for log-in directions.

We hope to define the problem, how it impacts our mental wellness, environment etc and then move onto solutions

Mejia will be joined by counselor Gayl Crump-Swaby, Mejia's youth counselor, Naseoj Ware and Alondra Bombadilla, a Fenway High School student (and the city's first official youth poet laureate.

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Comments

Isn't this putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn't we be more concerned with ripping out the problem of illegal fireworks at the roots than just having a forum on how to "deal with it"? Fireworks ARE illegal after all, on more level than one (besides being illegal to own they also disturb the peace at all hours). And if indeed there is to be a forum, perhaps a better one would be on what exactly it is that attracts people to these loud explosives. It's a mystery to me.

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Nice fireworks store you have there New Hampshire. Be a shame if ...

Or is that too old school?

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Fireworks trauma?? Omg what's next?? How to cope with amusement parks??

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Bill,

This isn’t just a few fireworks. It’s fireworks all around your home. All night. Every night. For weeks now. Sleep depravation and loud noises that sound similar to gunfire. Your kids wake up every night to it. You can’t get a full night sleep because it sounds like a gunfight moving closer sometimes farther. It starts between 3pm and 7pm. Every night. And lasts till 4 or 5am. Every morning.
Sometimes as much as an hour or even two will go by and you think it’s over. Or it doesn’t start till 9 sometimes. At your house. All around. Every night. Again waking up your children in the middle of the night.

So you tell me if that sounds like an amusement park.

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How much noise from fireworks is in your immediate neighborhood? Not just ones you hear from a distance if you're awake and the windows are open, but loud noises on your block that wake you up?

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I'm sorry, but have you ever spoken to a Veteran? Or someone from a country plagued by war and gunfire? PTSD is REAL and explosive sounds are a trigger.

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Unless you live next to it, and it's all night long, every night. I haven't had a good nights sleep for 2 weeks. The fireworks are huge, loud, and you can feel them when the sound bounces of the houses. It's unbearable.

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There was a firing range behind the trailer court I lived in and it drove some of the nearby Vietnam vets into crisis.

I'm betting that it has something to do with PTSD of the sort that you would never get from keyboard twitter fights.

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Indeed. I’m not a vet but I have diagnosed PTSD that is badly triggered by loud noises. Yes, I live in a major city, so I have become desensitized to some loud noise almost constantly- but the recent barrage of fireworks going off all night (about every 5 seconds as I write this) raises my anxiety levels a lot. It’s inconsiderate. But I guess we are living in insanely inconsiderate times.

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If someone says they’re traumatized by fireworks, take their word for it. I respect that you think this is silly, but respect that not everyone hears (or sees) fireworks when they hear fireworks: they hear bombs or gunshots, they may be looking at some horrible scene outside of their body, etc. PTSD is no joke.

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Perhaps there's a state-sanctioned force that can go into the homes of people who are discharging them, and perhaps apprehend them and place them in cages to stop them from doing it. Do we have that?

Serious answer: Since fireworks exist, let's use the carrot: Fireworks can only be shot off from 9 to 10 PM for six weeks, and you do it in a public park with the supervision of a fire official. You meet your neighbors, you don't scare your neighbors with an unexpected blast.

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When I was a kid, we went to the Cayuse reservation to blow them off. They would sell you the fireworks, then you could blow them off in a field where a tanker truck and firefighter were on duty to contain any spreading mayhem. It was great because you could enjoy your own and everyone else's fireworks.

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while ignoring Indiana.

Sales have been down so fireworks are super cheap in NH right now with many places still holding tons of inventory that needs to go well before the 4th.

Build The Wall At Rockingham Park!

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"We hope to define the problem, how it impacts our mental wellness, environment etc and then move onto solutions?"

Really? People stressed already because of a batshite President, Creeping fascism, Covid-19, Police killings and subsequent protests sprinkled with a little anarchy here and there and she is wondering that bombs going off for hours on end can't easily be defined as messing with the mental health of people (and their pets)?

Too bad Alejandra St. Guillen didn't get two more votes.

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is that cops are letting this happen, encouraging it, or actively participating in lighting off fireworks in some twisted campaign to prove to the public that we need them somehow. In Mattapan it is going on ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. I got an email from the Civic Association asking people to log complaints with 311 and listing the areas/yards they seem to be coming from.
The cops know EXACTLY where they are coming from. It's clear as day, and the next morning the streets are littered with firework debris! THEY ARE CHOOSING TO DO NOTHING like some 5 year old having a tantrum. "OH YOU NEED US NOW DO YOU?" kinda shit. It has never EVER been this bad before.
The cops are either cowards (natch) and won't confront the people lighting these off because of all the anti-cop sentiment going around right now or they are complicit in these acts. Either way they look bad.
EARN YOUR PAYCHECKS JUST THIS ONE TIME PLEASE....

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This is why police reform never goes anywhere. You can't want the police to not target people and then ask them to target people.

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Hire better cops.

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Citizens: Target criminals please!
Cops: Nah, unenforceable (see Pete Nice comments below)

Citizens: Ok how about just not beating/killing innocent people for nothing
Cops: Also Nah, get on the ground and stop resisting.

Solid post BostonDog....(eye roll)

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Why aren't the staties stopping people at the border after they drive out of the parking lots of fireworks sellers.

By the time this stuff gets to the streets it is too late.

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You can't see the MA border from the parking lot of the fireworks places I know about in NH. So a MA State Trouper would need to either cross state lines and note license plate numbers of just about everyone or start randomly pulling people over once they get into MA and illegally search their cars. Either way, that's highly illegal and unethical.

And even if you overlooked those problems, now you have to contend with charges of profiling (since they can't pull every car over) and if one of those stops turns ugly, you have yet another problem.

Oh, and now you've also going to need a lot more cops for operation Blowup.

The firework problem is the classic example of why police reform is so hard. Fireworks are a minor, victimless crime just like unlicensed cigarette sales or paying with a fake $20. People want these crimes enforced until a cop crosses the line and suddenly people ask why the cops were involved in the first place.

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The SP have staked out NH liquor stores and stopped cars with MA plates that left those stores, when they crossed the border. This was to enforce the liquor tax. There's no reason they couldn't do it to enforce the fireworks law. BTW, setting off fireworks is not a victimless crime. My son is deaf in one ear because of a bonehead tossing fireworks around.

Also, if you think passing counterfeit money is a minor crime, maybe you should try doing it and see what happens.

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It's not illegal to buy booze in NH and consume in MA. You don't need to pay an additional tax as a consumer. I don't understand what you're talking about.

George Floyd's death was sparked by him passing a supposed obviously fake $20 bill which the clerk didn't notice until after he had left the store. Most people don't think that's worthy of a death sentence.

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It's not illegal to buy booze in NH and consume in MA.

Unless there has been a radical change in MA liquor laws, it's illegal to buy booze in NH and transport it into MA. If that is no longer true, please correct me.

Here's an old story.

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Massachusetts officials have long been concerned about the dollars flowing out of their state and into New Hampshire liquor tax revenue to New Hampshire. In 1977, he ordered tax agents into New Hampshire to watch those coming out of liquor stores and headed over the Massachusetts border with more than the legal limit of three gallons of alcohol.

Other states bust people buying liquor in NH, too.

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You could easily throw a firecracker from the front door of this store across the state line.

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Last time MA's cops came up here to enforce laws extraterritorially it didn't go so well:

He was also a strong proponent of state sovereignty. When Thomson learned Massachusetts tax agents were at New Hampshire liquor stores taking down the numbers on cars with Massachusetts license plates, he had them arrested.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meldrim_Thomson_Jr.

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We're not asking the police to "target" people, we are asking them, along with our elected officials, to do their job.

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Your theory is assumptions built on assumptions built on assumptions.

But let's say they spring into action, and try to confiscate or do something about fireworks. Then some sort of conflict arose as they were talking to the fire-work-shooters. Then what? They end up on CNN, and the city burns, and everyone's pissed again.

Seems like doing nothing about annoying quality of life crimes that likely would never be prosecuted is a logical response to this situation.

My working theory
By Marco on Tue, 06/09/2020 - 10:14am.

is that cops are letting this happen, encouraging it, or actively participating in lighting off fireworks in some twisted campaign to prove to the public that we need them somehow. In Mattapan it is going on ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. I got an email from the Civic Association asking people to log complaints with 311 and listing the areas/yards they seem to be coming from.
The cops know EXACTLY where they are coming from. It's clear as day, and the next morning the streets are littered with firework debris! THEY ARE CHOOSING TO DO NOTHING like some 5 year old having a tantrum. "OH YOU NEED US NOW DO YOU?" kinda shit. It has never EVER been this bad before.
The cops are either cowards (natch) and won't confront the people lighting these off because of all the anti-cop sentiment going around right now or they are complicit in these acts. Either way they look bad.
EARN YOUR PAYCHECKS JUST THIS ONE TIME PLEASE....

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This is insane

This was already happening leading up to violence in many areas

Seriously though we have daily marches that are absorbing the whole police force , which is already wobbly from Covid19 responses and illnesses. We have a police force that is being told not to enforce as much, to be nicer etc. Maybe this is one of those cases where neighbors need to work together to convince their neighbors to cut the shit.

We are also playing catch and release with the jails right now. What exactly do you want the cops to do. What is your full game plan, I'd like to see it laid out.

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In unrelated news, this morning the BPD released their crime stats for the year so far and there’s an uptick in violence including homicides and people shot.

But I’d rather they forget about all that and worry about your problem, but not before we defund them first!

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The fireworks are out of control this year. Glad to see an elected official bringing some attention to this.

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I really feel for folks dealing with this. When my kids were little we lived on a popular fireworks street in Dot and it was torture. Every single night for a couple of weeks in the summer the kids would wake up screaming despite white noise machines, fans, closed windows, etc. It takes a huge toll on families (not to mention my car that got a fender taken out by an M80). It got to the point where we would save up all year just to make sure we could go somewhere else during the 4th week. I can't imagine dealing with this during quarantine for weeks with no end in sight.

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Let's add funding for BPD to form a fireworks unit.
.
/Irony

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Let's call it BPD FU.

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Honestly there seems to be complete apathy from law enforcement on this. I live by the police station in East Boston and hear fireworks every night. If I can hear them, they sure can.

Not to mention it's kind of a safety issue. The shooting outside Santarpio's the other night was basically in front of my apartment, and I just assumed it was more fireworks instead of a maniac shooting out a car window.

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Cops will respond, but unless they walk up on people setting off fireworks and the people don't run, move, deny, ignore, walk away etc, it still becomes an enforcement issue.

Who bought them, who set them off, who is watching? Unless you actually see someone lighting them off, it really is impossible to enforce. And even if you do see them, are you going to chase them if they run or even walk away?

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response right here. YES you chase them! Just driving squad cars around the areas they are going off might deter some. Hell, you might even SEE SOMEBODY lighting them while you are cruising around.You guys KNOW where they are being set off and choose to do NOTHING.
Plenty of time to set up drivers in Southie with a plainclothes cop stepping into a crosswalk on the opposite side of the street to pull people over for bullshit tickets though. Can't enforce speeding, can't enforce fireworks. Call the cops after your house gets burglarized to write a report for the insurance company, (because a civilian getting paid half what a cop makes couldn't so that) and then do zero else to help get stolen property back, so I guess can't enforce that. Oh and if you want a copy of the report that's $5. GTFO here!
Seriously make a case for why we need police here? You enforce nothing. You protect no one. You serve something but it sure as hell ain't the community.

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Unless you actually see someone lighting them off, it really is impossible to enforce.

Cellphones all have cameras. If people can use them to video cops, they sure as hell can use them to video fireworks-using scofflaws. Such videos would constitute evidence, wouldn't they?

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Never seen or heard of anyone sending in cellphone footage of people lighting off fireworks though.

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Exactly, these same people who are running up to cops with guns with their cell phones filming somehow are incapable of walking up to some people setting off fireworks and either taping them or telling them to cut it out.

These same people who call for anarchy are all of a sudden crying because their baby can not sleep because a firework went off overhear.

Don't get me wrong, I think this needs to end now. I just do not know how it does considering the pretzel we have created. No matter what the cops do they are screwed and quite frankly they are already over extended as it is with all thats going on.

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So it's not "impossible" to enforce the prohibition. And people complaining to the police should send videos if they can.

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But kids with fireworks in the City aren't just setting up in some park with a box of fireworks and letting roman candles fly in front of a crowd. They are driving around throwing out M-80s and scaring people and having fun (in their mind).

If a marked patrol car shows up people scatter or pretend they don't know whats going on. The fireworks are stashed in a car or house and cops arent' going to find them.

I'm tellin ya, it isn't an easy thing to enforce.

That being said the police have made some arrests and done some enforcement on many of these calls. I just don't think its being publicized.

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You've gone from "it's impossible" to "it ain't easy," while describing some special circumstances and implying that they're universal. I don't think you're willing to admit that the cops just don't want to bother enforcing the law.

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Not impossible to enforce some violations. If you noticed someone challenged me on the literal use of the word “impossible” so I clarified that it isn’t actually impossible, just like is isn’t impossible to milk a cat.

And yea it’s a tough law to enforce. But this would be a great experiment to see if we can reform policing. You and a few others can simply respond to all fireworks calls. In fact, you can get a scanner, go to hot spot locations and just drive there! Take some photos for the cops and give them the photos when they arrive

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And pray they don’t get shot.

Because if this person looked at the BPD posts about the confiscated fireworks, they’d see a few of them also resulted in firearm arrests.

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Oh, Shotspotter picks up fireworks just fine, but the problem is that by the time police get to a location, most of the time all that's left is some spent fireworks cases - the people who set them off are long gone.

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And while the 17 East Boston neighborhood Facebook groups are already cesspool of stupidity and selfishness, the replies to people raising concerns about this may be the new gold standard for it.

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For people with PTSD, sensitivity to noise (such as many with autism), little kids, and those who live with any of the above it's a serious problem. For someone who has lived in a war zone or been deployed in one, the flashbacks are seriously traumatic. Someone already discussed the effect on children.

One night may be bearable. Weeks on end is a major problem.

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I think that part of the uptick in use is the pandemic. Some people think that what else is there to do? It is easy to go to CT or NH or buy some when you are down south and you don't have to leave your house to do it.

I have a dog who is petrified of fireworks and thunder. I also have a husband with PTSD that does not like them.

I don't understand them but I think the pandemic is driving the uptick of them. It is a fact of living in the city around this time of year but it is worse this year.

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Contrarian point of view, I guess. But I have a lifelong love of watching and hearing fireworks, and yes, setting off a few too, in the early summer as the 4th of July approaches. I know, somebody somewhere lost a finger, and somebody’s house burned down. I’m not advocating for legal M-80s and skyworks that rival the Hatch Shell display. But in Massachusetts (and ONLY in Massachusetts), you can’t even wave a sparkler around without breaking the law. The thousands of people who drive to New Hampshire and who have been celebrating the arrival of summer with fireworks have spoken, and deserve the right to have some fun and make some noise. Be careful. Settle down after midnight. Have some limits, yes. But legalize fireworks in Massachusetts as they have in 46 states in the USA.

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... always struck me as stupid.

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I have seen sparkler detritus light fires in underbrush which then spread. They are more dangerous than they look.

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... but smoking outside is not generally illegal.

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"Not within N feet of a building" and "End by 11 pm" would be reasonable limits if we go this direction.

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are people not connecting the dots? The sudden onslaught of all-hours fireworks is directly related to the George Floyd protests.

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George Floyd or people bored out of their minds from the pandemic driving up to the Live Free and Blow Yourself Up state to buy up extra fireworks to go boom with back down here? Because this all started happening before the protests.

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But that’s just simply not true. Yes there has always been an uptick in firework usage that coincides with warmer weather. This time it’s different, and it’s not because of firework economics or pent up energy. The utter onslaught began the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and lasted almost two weeks straight. Who else other than neighbors does the use of illegal fireworks impact most? Boys in blue. You shared the 311 reports yourself. Not a coincidence that the top contributors are Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan/Hyde Park, as well as Southie, which lines up nicely with your theory.

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in my neighborhood before the protests but on the same day the fireworks stores in New Hampshire opened. I do not see a direct correlation.

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What if the neighborhoods directly affected by the fireworks made up fliers and posters explaining the effect these fireworks are having and imploring them for the good of the community to keep them within certain hours? Maybe if it’s explained in a heartfelt way they or their mothers will reconsider.

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I can imagine kids literally Zoombombing this thing.

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