LETTER: Fireworks are for sociopaths

2016-01-19 06:00

Sociopaths show a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights and feelings of others. They live for the moment, forgetting the past and not planning the future, not thinking ahead about the consequences their actions will have. They want immediate rewards and gratification.

The use of fireworks is a sociopathic behaviour because fireworks have an obvious and pervasive destructive effect on everyone, including the person lighting the fireworks.

This New Year the carnage from fireworks was worse than ever. All around the country, there were fires resulting in major environmental destruction, human injuries, thousands of lost and terrified, injured animals, many of whom lost their lives, and the disturbance of the peace of everyone who has a right to privacy that fireworks invade.

Let’s examine the pros and cons of fireworks.

Pros . “Fireworks are fun.” Well, yes, but fun at the expense of others is something only a sociopath or sadist finds enjoyable.

. “Fireworks are a legitimate religious practice.” This is absurd. See below.

Cons . Environmentally destructive, pollutes the air and results in debris. Disturbs birds and other wild animals.

. Firework noise is pervasive and violent. This is disconcerting for many people including the elderly, post traumatic stress disorder sufferers, small children and for that matter anyone who prefers peace and quiet in their own home.

. Fireworks terrify animals. This is not something that can be avoided by locking animals in as some suggest, since they can still hear the explosions. There are many animals that cannot be given sedatives, like shelter animals, strays and wild animals in any given area.

To make matters worse, these sociopaths do not stick to the allotted times, with the result that animal owners cannot predict when their pets will be subjected to terrifying noise.

.Lastly, since there are no fireworks manufacturers in South Africa, most of the money spent on fireworks does nothing for the local economy.

Religous supportThe notion that fireworks are a legitimate religious practice is bizarre. Religion is supposed to raise human consciousness, to make humans more aware of their responsibilities, to see beyond self-indulgence and understand the negative impacts of a given practice. If that practice results in pain and hardship to others, religion should oppose, not support, the practice.

It’s a no-brainer to anyone except a sociopath that fireworks are not an acceptable expression of culture, religion or tradition.

Government-sanctioned schizophreniaOn the one hand we have noise laws that prohibit noise in residential areas, and fireworks by-laws that allow them during certain periods for either traditional or religious festivals. This ambiguity in legislative policy is schizophrenic.

The same goes for the emergency management services giving permission for displays to be held at schools, which is prohibited by fireworks by-laws. What is the point in having laws if the council is just going to give people permission to break them?

Since the Animals Protection Act states that it is an offence to terrify an animal, and we know that fireworks terrify animals and that there are pets in every residential area, fireworks should be prohibited in any residential area. Yet we have by-laws that allow firework use in residential areas. To any sane person, this is inconsistent.

Government needs its head read.

The use of fireworks is hopelessly incompatible with any ethic one can think of – they have no benefit whatsoever. They need to be prohibited in private hands as soon as possible.

Derek du Toit,
anti-fireworks alliance,

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