You may remember several months ago when I asked the Bellingham Bells baseball team to cease their fireworks displays in an article entitled Bellingham Bells, Stop the Fireworks. At the time, another noisy display was scheduled at a Bell’s game on August 5th, however it was cancelled, likely because of the high fire danger. This month, the Bells management was to have reconsidered fireworks for the next season but I have not heard of any decision in that regard. I do know they realized such displays were costly but they brushed off most of my arguments about the negative effects on pets, wildlife, clean air, veterans with post-traumatic stress and other individuals with fragile mental states or illness. “The fans and children like fireworks” was the feeble response from the Bells.
I just learned that the WWU Alumni plan an event next week on September 27th called Paint Bellingham Blue but includes this, “We’ll count down to light the iconic Herald sign in WWU Blue…and that’s when the fireworks begin.” Yes, and that is when pets and wildlife panic, acrid smoke fills the air, and veterans get to relive the sights and sounds of the battlefield yet again with all the negative consequences in yet another tiresome version of “Support the Troops.”
Consumer fireworks were banned in Bellingham several years ago for many reasons including the ones I mentioned above, although the city left in place an opening for “official” fireworks that are authorized by the fire department and supervised by professional fireworks groups. My assumption is that the city gave its authorization for this WWU display, but for what reason? The negative effects of fireworks are present regardless of whether they are deemed “official” or not. Our university ought to be on the leading edge of preventing harm such as is produced by fireworks.Therefore, I am calling on the WWU Alumni organization to cancel the fireworks to protect pets, nature and our citizens.