Today’s Westside Story is simply a slightly modified copy of a letter I sent to City of Lakewood Officials regarding their upcoming hearing and vote related to outlawing fireworks in our city. My letter follows:
To Whom It May Concern:
While I understand the argument that igniting explosive fireworks is good clean fun for Americans who celebrate the Declaration of Independence, it is a fact that many who breathe our Lakewood air lack the common-sense, courtesy, and intelligence necessary to deal with fireworks in a safe, sane and legal manner.
Last year a neighbor, acting like a goofball, came close to setting my property on fire when his party shot fireworks from the middle of a city street over our 7′ fence into our fir trees with two large rockets landing on my roof. Fireworks also fell into my neighbors’ property. Had this inconsiderate neighbor set my fir trees or other abundant vegetation on fire, my home and its occupants, which are surrounded by trees and vegetation, could have burned to the ground.
Fortunately, I no longer have a combustible shake roof, but rather a standing seam metal roof. The burning fireworks created a large burn stain on my metal roof as it burned itself out on top of my house with us sleeping inside late at night.
Anyone of us, including several neighbors, could have been injured or killed with the burning fireworks falling from the sky. We were held prisoners in our own homes daring not to venture outside, except quick trips to check for fire.
The offending neighbor had two guests / relatives attending his dangerous fireworks party. One was a policeman (Not Lakewood Police). The other was a fireman.
When I confronted my neighbor regarding my safety concerns, he bragged about having police and fire on the scene, and thus stated he was doing nothing illegal. He refused to stop.
Because there are ignorant, dangerous idiots mixed in with our general population, Lakewood City Council needs to do the right thing, the intelligent thing, to protect our community. Private fireworks needs to be outlawed in our city every single day of the year.
When these arson happy trouble makers attacked my house, 911-Dispatch reported to me that Lakewood Police did not have the staffing to respond to fireworks complaints. That fact forces the possibility; private citizens will arm themselves to confront stupidity to protect lives and property—what a recipe for disaster.
If our city and our police are not able or willing to solve the fireworks problem, then when under attack, some citizens may choose to fire back using illegal fireworks of their own aimed at the offender’s home, trees, or the offender. There is a distinct possibility a victim may choose to up the ante with superior firepower. Superior firepower means the suspect brought fireworks to a gunfight.
One might quickly respond with the the thought that the victim neighbor should not stoop to the suspect’s behavior to avoid becoming just as bad as the suspect. The counter to that is, Why not? The victim has to protect his family and property and the police are not going to show up for a fireworks complaint anyway.
When you think about it, this should be the responsibility of the city and our police, not untrained citizens.
In the likely event, Lakewood does not make fireworks illegal all year long then the city should fund extra police patrols to ticket offenders along with confiscating violator’s fireworks for unlawful and dangerous fireworks behavior.
While my opinions are strong, my statements are based on what I saw and learned during my 25 years as a police officer going to dispatched calls just like this.
A superior way to solve a problem is to avoid the problem in the first place.
Lakewood City Council, please have the courage to do the right thing. Outlaw private fireworks in the City of Lakewood.
END OF LETTER.
Ms. Briana Schumacher, City Clerk of City of Lakewood has informed me that the fireworks hearing has been moved to Monday, June 1, 2020. I do not know the time.
If you, like me, consider this to be an important issue because you detest cruelty to animals, unnecessary injury and death to adults and small children, unnecessary property destruction, tree fires, having your home destroyed, and unnecessary litter, than seriously consider attending the meeting to share your opinion with our city council.
If your schedule does not allow you to be a meeting attendee, the City of Lakewood has encouraged citizens to send their comments and concerns to: Ms. Briana Schumacher, City Clerk City of Lakewood. 6000 Main Street SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. Phone: 253-983-7705. Email: BSchumacher@cityoflakewood.us. She will distribute your letters and comments to the council membership.