Big-bang bullies take to the air



From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, my neighborhood sounded like Hell. I was Clint Eastwood mad and helpless.

I expected the worst because for weeks before the Fourth there were nightly fireworks all over metro Denver. The Denver Post reported, “From June 15 through June 21, the city fielded 750 firework calls, with June 21 alone prompting 317 calls, according to the Denver Police Department.”

Was the scale of illegal celebration larger this year because of a pent-up frustration with current events that include: a stay-at-home order, a safe-at-home-order, the protests and riots, failures of our leadership, and the cancellation of games and events and performances? Or just the expression of outright rudeness that we’re so good at in America?

Take your pick.

CBS Denver reported, “The constant fireworks shown in the Copter4 video appear to be professional-grade fireworks. The helicopter crew said they had never seen anything like it.”

Oh, and, “Illegal fireworks are to blame for several fires around the Denver metro area.”

South Metro Fire Rescue tweeted, “This is what we feared, warned the community about and up-staffed 5 extra fire engines for.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s office tweeted, “Please do not call our dispatch center to report hearing fireworks. The call center is getting overrun with these calls.”

I’m not surprised, and no one else should be either. We’re a smug lot, we are.

The phrase “We’re in this together” was conceived in outer space. We’re not in anything “together.”

The Fourth of July is always a good excuse to let off steam; there’s just more steam this year than usual. “Letting off steam” translates into, “I, me, mine. I, me, mine.”

During the evening, I heard from readers. One wanted to remain anonymous because the “main person” involved in what he estimated to be a $10,000 professional-grade fireworks display “seems to be a violent person.”

Another reader wrote, “This is terrible.”

Another, “Kona and Watson (her dogs) are running from room to room at this very moment.”

Another, “Times like this I wish I lived somewhere else.”

Another, “It’s like a war zone here.”

Harry and I made a quick trip to the store. On the way home I had to enter the wrong lane of a street that was swarming with kids who were setting off fireworks.

Swell: a new generation of abject rudeness to look forward to.

It’s reprehensible when someone imposes their will on someone else. I think we could possibly agree on that. Maybe not even that.

How would you like it if I mowed my lawn at midnight?

Or woke the hood at 5 a.m. with a blaring rendition of the “1812 Overture”? You know? The full one with cannons?

I wouldn’t do it because I respect people who don’t disrespect people, and there were some in my community.

It’s only once a year? No. There will be more today and tomorrow, and disrespect will show itself in other forms, like the teenagers I see who can’t be bothered with masks. Just not cool, I guess.

There’s an English proverb, “Empty pots make the most noise.”

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at


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