Fireworks: Local events and national conspiracy theories

NEMiss.news Fireworks conspiracy
Fireworks at the 2017 Freedom Fest.
June 27th, 2020     Featured General News

New Albany’s annual Freedom Fest celebration has been considerably abbreviated because of…you guessed it…the coronavirus pandemic.

There will, however, be a community fireworks display tonight, June 27th, scheduled to begin at 9PM.

Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud says tonight’s fireworks display can be seen from the Park Along the River, as in past years. For those who would prefer to remain in their vehicles, parking will be available at BNA Tennis Complex and Union County Library parking lots. The city does ask that everyone who uses these parking areas stay in their vehicles and dispose of trash properly.

Before leaving home to see the fireworks, bring your outdoor pets inside. Otherwise, they may be part of the rash of frightened pets who go missing each year during these displays.

And, on the subject of fireworks

As a result of reader inquiry on the subject, NEMiss.new has rounded up a few facts on the rising conspiracy theory about fireworks.

Across the country, since about April, the use of fireworks on private property and from tops of buildings has increased greatly, particularly in large cities. Many neighborhoods are being bombarded for hours each night, with many complaints being handled by authorities.

  • Complaints in New York City were 236 times greater in June than the year before.
  • Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Greenville SC, Columbus OH – all across the nation – reports of this “problem” are similarly skyrocketing (pun intended).
  • Many fireworks manufacturers and sellers, who expected a skimpy season of sales, are actually having a very good year.

Kaitlyn Tiffany, technology writer for The Atlantic writes, ‘Conspiracy theories bloom in times of uncertainty, when strange things happen, and when people are bored. This summer is a trifecta.”

Because many large cities have expecrienced similar increases, and because (largely) of Twitter news and retweets, a conspiracy theory has quickly arisen and has achieved widespread attention.

  • The Atlantic documents that in, in mid-June, rapper WALE tweeted to his 6 million followers about the increased fireworks: “Too many ppl from major cities sayin this,” “Something is afoot.”
  •  The following day, “My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces,” was tweeted by novelist Robert Jones Jr. to 58,000 people following him.
  • Parts of Jones’s theory were retweeted 16,000 times; a corresponding post was shared 20,000 times on Facebook as of June 24. Thus, it has easily been seen many by millions of people.
  • The conspiracy theories are off and running. They involve police departments, firefighters, the CIA and “the government,” in general – to name a few. We will not detail them here.
  • Thank you again, Social Media.

What is the possible extent of “government” involvement?

One observer,  who drove his city’s streets and talked to kids and families who were actually touching off some of the fireworks, thinks that it is because it is fun and they are bored. He says that, sometimes, you just have to go with what you actually see happening.

Jon Weitzel is a partner at Brooklyn Fireworks, which is actually located in Pennsylvania. He told Business Insider, “Point blank, period, I’ll tell you where the money is coming from: the unemployment stimulus, the extra $600 they’re getting a week, 100%, because I’m swiping those red cards all day,” Weitzel said.  He added that his regular customers are spending much more than usual this year.

New Albany Police Chief, Chris Robertson, tells NEMiss.News that, so far this year, our local community has actually seen a downturn in complaints about unauthorized fireworks. He also reminds us that there is city ordinance against “private” use of fireworks.

The last, and perhaps most pertinent point to the general public, comes from a Tannersville, PA, fireworks seller. He says that the only involvement of the government in the recent uptick of fireworks’ sales is the fact that sellers are required to collect a 12% tax, which goes to “the government.” He says the government generally passes the funds along to emergency responders, who will be called upon to assist those of the public who do not read the printed directions on the fireworks.

More information on altered Freedom Fest and coronavirus precautions.

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