Seriously, enough with the damn fireworks.

Philadelphia Social Commentary

It’s not your God-given right to blast off fireworks at 11 at night all week long, asshole.

You know what I love? Having to be up for work at 5:30 in the morning, and being kept awake several nights in a row until at least midnight by inconsiderate assholes getting loaded on cheap beer and blasting off fireworks all night. Seriously, nothing gets my dick harder than staggering into work the next morning running on 10 hours of sleep in the last three days. I love the feeling that comes with sleep-deprived driving, it’s like I’m driving drunk without having to drink any alcohol. Ever do 100 MPH down I-95 while wired on caffeine and not having slept properly in several nights? Diamonds. The real cherry on top is when you do this in conjunction with working an eight hour shift on your feet then come home and do a strenuous full-body workout.

Last year I wrote an entire article about these jackasses. Boy would I love to go back to those simpler times. Last summer felt like I was living in Kandahar on the weekends and the occasional weeknight. This summer it feels like I’m living on Omaha Beach on June 6th, 1944 literally every single night. I feel less like I’m trying to sleep and more like I’m trying to secure the beachhead at Normandy. The only difference is that instead of the Nazi war machine my enemy is a bunch of toothless inked-up lowlifes loaded on Natty Ice.

In that previous article, I said the following:

“Some of you are probably wondering why I don’t just call the cops myself. Those of you from Philadelphia reading this know exactly why this is a fruitless endeavor. For those of you who live in Candyland, the cops most likely won’t show up until 3 hours later, despite the fact that I usually see the same two patrol cars cruising up and down my area for hours on end until they’re actually needed, which is when they pull a Houdini and disappear never to be seen again. In the unlikely event they do show up, the cops will just give them a halfhearted “Knock it off”, then leave. About 10 minutes after they leave, the ‘tards will just start shooting off their sparkly boom-booms again. The cops will most likely not come out for it again, and if they do it will be to tell me to stop calling.”

Last week, I finally had enough and decided it was time to give the police a chance. After all, I’m a gold medalist in conclusion jumping. Maybe this time the police would actually prove useful and I would feel like an idiot.

So I dialed 911 for the first time in my entire life. I told the lady who answered that some idiots were shooting off fireworks in the nearby park, and that they’d been doing it every night now for the past week. She said they’d send someone out. I honestly didn’t expect a timely response of any kind, I really only made the call to validate my point about the cops not caring.

About 20 minutes later, I was treated to a massive barrage that lasted five minutes. I’m not sure if this was just coincidence, or if the cops did show up within 20 minutes and tell them to knock it off only for the idiots to launch their barrage out of spite after the cops drove off. In any case, the night wasn’t getting younger, and I had work in the morning. If I don’t go to work, who will pay for their sparkly boom-booms and Natty Ice? So I went out in my car and drove around the area trying to see exactly who I was dealing with. If it was just one or two guys I’d have no problem walking up and laying down the law myself. Unfortunately, there were at least 30 of them congregated at the park. Entire families were sitting next to the fence with chairs watching the show. There were little kids there and everything. Great parenting, guys! I drove home, defeated. As I came down my street, I noticed two squad cars with their lights off go flying towards the park. I got excited as I went back into my house, thinking that the police were going to finally shut this bullshit down for the night and I could get some sleep. As I laid in bed mentally cheering on the boys in blue, I heard another intense barrage of fireworks. Evidently the cops had no desire to deal with this, and I suspect that they were even watching the display themselves. Thankfully when the barrage ended I didn’t hear anymore for the rest of the night and was able to scrape together four to five hours of sleep.

This time though, it’s not just me complaining. Reports have been pouring from all across the country about late-night firework displays. From Chicago to NYC to LA, there has been a massive surge in the nightly use of fireworks. It’s become a national issue, with irate citizens taking to Twitter and other social media to vent their frustration:

Conspiracy theorists are also jumping on this one, with one Twitter user suggesting the fireworks are a plot by the police and government to further stoke racial tensions:

While Robert Jones Jr. certainly makes some thought-provoking and valid points, and as much as I love a good conspiracy theory, I’m going to say that there’s no conspiracy here.

Many cities and townships cancelled their 4th of July fireworks displays this year due to COVID-19. Because of this, fireworks suppliers have taken a huge hit in their bottom line. To attempt to recoup this loss, many suppliers have taken to running specials of the “Buy two get one free” variety. Thanks to the stimulus check and the extra $600 a week furloughed workers have been receiving, people have the extra money to afford to stock up on fireworks. After all, many businesses are still shut down, so it’s not like they can take the money and go shopping, dine out, or drink it away at the bar. There are also rumors of suppliers liquidating their inventory in lesser-than-legal ways, but I have no evidence of that, so until I do it’s just hearsay and speculation.

I also suspect that at least some of it is rooted in a misguided form of protest. On one hand I’m for taking drastic measures as a form of protest, but on the other hand you’re not really helping your cause by keeping your community awake all night. I agree that something needs to be done about police using excessive force, but I’m just not sure how exploding stuff all hours of the night is going to do anything to further that goal. It would be more effective to do this outside the mayor’s house or the governor’s mansion, not in residential areas.

On top of all that, you also have the police reluctant to do anything about non-serious crimes, thanks to June’s riots. After half the country cried “defund the police”, the police basically said “Okay, you’re on your own then” and backed off on dealing with everything short of violent crimes. So there are now little to no repercussions for blasting off fireworks all night long. The police won’t even show up and tell them to knock it off, and chances are that anyone who has to wake up early for work the next morning won’t be too prone to initiating a violent confrontation.

To sum all of that up, the government doesn’t need to do anything like this, because all the conditions are perfect for the people to do it themselves.

Moving back to Philadelphia, people are getting tired of the nightly fireworks, both literally and figuratively. Kevin Kinkead over at Crossing Broad writes:

“[…] but whatever the reason for the extending fireworks display this year, please, God, just make it stop. Go inside and play Rocket League or smoke a joint or make a TikTok video or whatever kids are doing these days. The constant explosions are bad for dogs, babies, veterans, and anybody else who has to listen to this shit every single night.” Link to full article

A-effin-men, Kevin. Going inside and playing Rocket League is definitely a sentiment I can get behind, along with stopping with the fireworks every night.

Government officials claim to have heard our cries, and are allegedly working on a resolution to outlaw the use of fireworks after 10 PM. Which would be great, except for one minor detail they seem to have overlooked: It’s already illegal.

Blasting off fireworks late at night already falls under the noise ordinance, which states:

“Philadelphia City Ordinance Code §10-404:
a. No person shall discharge or allow the escape of sounds of a nature:
b. which are prohibited by or are in excess of that permitted by City Ordinance or
Regulation, or
c. which result in or cause noise;
d. which tend to cause discomfort, disruption or annoyance to observers and
participants during parades or other public events within the City.”

In addition to this, it’s also illegal to use fireworks within 150 feet of a residential area, and on public or private land without written consent from the property owner. While I’m not going to break out the measuring tape, I’m highly certain that the Department of Parks and Recreation has not given written consent to anyone to pound down cheap beer and blast off fireworks all night in any of the city’s parks. I’ve never been more certain of anything in my entire life. So while passing another law that singles out fireworks might look like it’s doing something, it’s really not. We don’t need new laws, we need enforcement of the laws that already exist.

I’m not saying that we should send armed police to beat late-night firework launchers with nightsticks (though when it’s 11:30 at night and I can’t fall asleep because it sounds like a war zone outside I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind). I’m not even saying we need to ticket these people. In many cases, all that’s needed is for someone with authority to come and politely tell these clowns to knock it off. With all the pork barrel spending this city does, you could easily reallocate some funds to create a separate division of the Philadelphia Police Department whose sole job is to deal with simple domestic disputes, noise ordinance violations, and other quality-of-life complaints that don’t require armed officers. If the situation escalates, then a citation can be issued. If the situation escalates beyond that to the point of threats or violence, then actual armed police can get involved. I have a lot of thoughts on how to reform the police and rebuild their trust with not just the black community but the public at large, but that’s another article for another time.

So while the world we live in is far from perfect, I don’t think I’m asking for too much when I say knock it off with the goddamn fireworks every night.


Hailing from the fine village of Northeast Philadelphia, AJ has been creating content on the internet for over 15 years. None of it has really been funny or entertaining, but he keeps trying anyway. Maybe he's bored, maybe he's drunk, maybe he's both.