Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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January 13, 2010 - MidWeek
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Editor’s note: MidWeek letters, in most weeks, are almost always in response to MidWeek editorial content - columns, stories, photos, cartoons. But in the days after New Year’s we received many letters about fireworks. In light of that, as well as stories about the big increase in injuries to humans, property damage and fires caused by fireworks, this week we’re publishing letters on this controversial topic alone.

Space aliens’ report

Here’s how I imagine a space alien reconnaissance ship might report back to the mother ship after hovering above Hawaii on New Year’s Eve (think you could see ‘em through all the smoke?):

“The people of Hawaii are quite curious. Not content to breathe the world’s cleanest air every day of the year, one day a year they choose to breathe the dirtiest air we have yet encountered on this planet Earth, which is saying something. To do this, many willfully break the law by shooting off illegal fireworks that rattle homes and fill the sky with the foulest smoke for many hours. In fact, from above it resembles Baghdad during the American invasion of 2003, with bombs bursting in air, and sometimes on the ground, sending many to medical emergency rooms. Hawaii people like to talk about their islands being the home of aloha, which can have many pleasant and affectionate meanings, including the literal ‘breath of life.’ This is beyond ironic as the heavy smoke poses serious health risks for both infants and the elderly, as well as those with pre-existing lung conditions, while the noise terrifies/tortures all manner of animals. The excuse for many who engage in this behavior is that they are trying to drive away evil spirits. From our observations, however, it seems that they are in fact possessed by these demons, and that is what causes such selfish, antisocial and often self-destructive behavior.”

Beam me up.

Richard Ramirez


Bye-bye, birdies

I am a man of over 70 and have watched fireworks being used all my life while being tolerant and without an opinion one way or the other.

My wife and I live on a water inlet with a bird sanctuary in the middle. The birds have been there for more years than we know. Every morning we were awakened to a crescendo of the birds’ beautiful singing until it turned into an orchestral overture. Just prior to dusk they would all come flying back from different directions, to again create another beautiful orchestral sound.

Last New Year after the heavy use of fireworks plus the noise and smoke they created, the birds never returned. In addition I ended up wheezing after every breath for the following two weeks.

Since then I, along with at least 20 percent of the good citizens of Hawaii, suffer with chest and breathing problems. This means that in two out of every 10 homes on your street the people are locking themselves inside their homes, unable to go out and enjoy New Year’s Eve with their friends and family. We also have to watch our animals hiding and being petrified and frightened. They go through unbelievable agony just so that a few others can see a few “cultural” sparkles and hear a few bangs in front of their own homes.

Hawaii, like other civilized states, needs to enforce laws against the use of illegal fireworks and then mandate their use in centralized communities throughout the state at no charge to the public. The only reason I can think of that it is not being done is because maybe our legislators own the fireworks concessions.

Michael B. Bass
Hawaii Kai

It’s disrespectful

They say it’s a local thing, lighting fireworks on New Year’s Eve for hours leading into the new year. I say it’s a stupid thing.

The smoke, the noise at late hours, next-door neighbors blasting fireworks with smoke permeating through many homes - it’s a much-disrespectful custom I have witnessed since moving to the Islands.

In the Philippines, they light fireworks to scare away evil spirits, but here on Kauai the drunks and party animals are making noise not for a spiritual reason but just because it’s “da kine.”

Every year people lose limbs from detonating fireworks, people suffer from asthma and other breathing difficulties and are rushed to emergency, 911 is overburdened with calls, and there are too many fires to even report.

Stop this foolishness already and leave fireworks displays to the professionals in a safe environment.

James “Kimo” Rosen

Useless laws

Hawaii has the most useless and unenforceable laws in the nation. There’s a law prohibiting aerial fireworks at any time. This past year has been the worst bombardment of homemade and other so-called pipe bombs, which started after Halloween. Our lawmakers are the culprits responsible for this senseless practice. A total fireworks ban has been introduced many times, but with irresponsible politicians who only care for their own agendas, what can we expect?

Fireworks put our firefighters in harm’s way going to senseless fires, pollute our air, set off car alarms, injure many people, disturb babies’ sleep and spoil our quiet nights. To you phony law-makers, you should be held accountable for any fatalities that might happen in the future from fireworks.

On a similar note, “Click it or Ticket” law protects people in autos, but why are people allowed in the back of pickup trucks? Will you lawmakers care to answer this question? I doubt it. Remember the four women who were killed in Kunia in 2006?

It’s time for legislators to wake up and pass some laws with muscle or get out of office.

Eugene Cordero
Pearl City

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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