Letters to the Editor

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FIREWORKS: Consider effects on those with PTSD

Letter by David L. Dittemore, Tacoma on July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am with 61 Comments »
July 1, 2011 10:36 am

I’m probably too late; you’ve probably already bought your fireworks. I should have written this weeks ago.

I’m writing this at 10 p.m. Thursday, and I hear constant fireworks. The Fourth of July is our time to play with fireworks and make noise. We call it patriotism, but I think it’s mostly guy fun.

Consider that we have a lot of veterans in the area who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fun fireworks you are shooting off are driving them out of their minds if they have post traumatic stress disorder – and many do – even Vietnam vets.

I lost a good friend, and flashbacks caused by fireworks were a big part of the problem. So maybe consider inviting a vet over to your home to share a picnic meal; he might share some of his military experience with you. In the end, that might be a much more patriotic way to spend the Fourth and a better way to support our troops.

(Dittemore is a member of Veterans for Peace.)

Leave a comment Comments → 61
  1. tomwa007 says:

    Let’s stop all 21 gun salutes at funerals and night firings and JBLMC too, it might upset our veterans.

    It would be more progressive to stop offensive wars on countries that have never declared war on us to avoid damage to the poor soldiers sent over there.

  2. Omega6234 says:

    Holy crap… this is the most backwards blog i have ever read. Its people like this that think everyone else should bow to a few. Well guess what?? we arent going to … i am going to be letting of rolls and rolls of black cats in the north end on the 4th… maybe even my cannon( cant put it to close to houses or it will blow the windows out) and tons of mortars. This is an american tradition… if you dont like it… move to Canada or Mexico… maybe Russia… Freaking crybabies..

  3. Roncella says:

    Omega6234, Welcome to the new world order, of the metro/male.

  4. KARDNOS says:

    I was wondering how long it would take for the “Patriots” to start attacking this Veteran.

  5. A321196 says:

    I just knew when I read this letter there would be the responses of this type. Sometimes I wonder why I even log on to this site.

  6. newscrap says:

    Holy crap man. I would not tihnk that even YOU could make this letter political. God it myst be a barrel of fun around your house. This writer was asking people to be considerate of the VETERANS with PSDT you moron. You and your fellow rightie radicals are usuall the ones bending over to kiss the backside of anything military. These vets are the victims of your guy Shrubs two wars, which if I rmember correctly you have defended. “We need to supportour troops” is the batle cry of the right. But now, this guy is asking people to consider how fireworks may effect those troops and you manage to turn him into some liberal/progressive bad guy. Congratulations on your consistency anyway.

  7. stetsonwalker says:

    Sorry, too late, but if it makes you feel better, our 4th of July bash is mostly compromised of veterans having a BLAST!

  8. theglovesRoff says:

    TP crap

    I didn’t see anything political in ron’s response. So accusing someone of being a metro/male is now political?

  9. ….not only that but….exactly what is the PURPOSE of celebrating independence by BLOWING THINGS UP?

    At what point did lighting off stupid explosives and disturbing the peace of the neighborhood, while throwing any semblance of civility to the curb, become the standard method of celebrating indepedence?

    90% of these local bozo rednecks wouldnt have a clue about explosives, but they sure are experts for one month every summer arent they! HAAA

  10. stetsonwalker says:

    Something tells me that I would feel more secured in a passenger jet with just one of these “bozo rednecks” as you call them than with 20 people of your ilk!

  11. “what is the PURPOSE of celebrating independence by BLOWING THINGS UP?”

    By the rockets red glare!

  12. stetsonwalker says:

    What is the purpose in celebrating xmas with a fat old man? Easter with a rabbit? Halloween with goblins? Can you not just have a bit of fun with friends and family and at least try to smile? It does not need a purpose and I doubt anyone will ask what your purpose is smiling.

  13. KARDNOS says:

    “theglovesRoff says:
    July 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm
    TP crap

    I didn’t see anything political in ron’s response. So accusing someone of being a metro/male is now political?”

    I guess they think we forgot how they used “metro/male” as a negative against John Kerry in 2004, as opposed to Bush’s “cowboy image”. They always think we forget and we don’t. I guess if you do it in 2004 and then don’t do it in 2008…(which they did) that means it’s not political anymore. Just wait for 2012 when they can’t say “Kenyan” or “Muslim”…..

  14. Roncella says:

    KARDNOS, There are metro-males in both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

    However there are many more that call themselves democrat.

  15. Then it was meant as a political statement.

  16. KARDNOS says:

    Of course it was, Polago.

    Where is frosty with his cowboy obsession when we need him?

  17. KARDNOS says:

    “The term originated in an article by Mark Simpson[2] published on November 15, 1994, in The Independent. Simpson wrote:

    Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levi’s jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, he’s everywhere and he’s going shopping.”

    Now that we see the origin of the term and it’s true implication, it’s obvious that John Kerry would not be a “metrosexual male”, thus the terminology was used to spur the less than knowledgeable voter into believing that Kerry wasn’t a “real man”. This was to deny the reality of his serving in combat and being decorated, while his opponent was “MIA” in the National Guard.

    Yep. Political.

  18. SadujTogracse says:

    PTSD or not, if you’re going to be lighting off fireworks near other homes it is only common courtesy to let those people know beforehand in case there are any concerns. If there are no problems, light away and have fun!

  19. menopaws says:

    You idiots–this is NOT about politics. This is about showing some respect for those who served and have problems with fireworks…….We have a dear friend who returned from Afghanistan last year—he HATES fireworks and gets truly upset by them. So, you fat beer guzzling ‘PATRIOTS” who never served need to show some serious respect for those whose horrible, violent memories are re-opend when you pop open another beer and make noise to prove how American you are…………Trust me–I am usually a Democrat–but, I support the troops first and morons like you—distant second. Real patriots don’t make noise–they just put their heads down, focus and get their job done……..This letter writer is correct. show some respect please!

  20. stetsonwalker says:

    Please Mr Democrat, save us the BS. I have the utmost respect for all veterans, disabled or not, but I am not going to live in a wheelchair to make people confined to them feel better about themselves. These feelgood policies need to stop. When I hear that clinics perform abortions, the very thought of it makes me ill. Does it stop? No, why not? I am a veteran and I do not want to be made ill by abortions! You need to stop with the feelgood ideas and live life!

  21. newscrap says:

    So you support the troops by waving the flag, but when it comes to real veterans,
    9and PTSD is not “BS”), you have no sympathy? And what the hell does abortion have to do with it? But hey, your right to blow crap up and act 12 years old is more important the mental health of those troops you support.

  22. stetsonwalker says:

    You have no clue, when we have our ONCE A YEAR bash the attendees are 95% veterans, many disabled for an assortment of things. I am a veteran, as my dad was, the neighbor is, most that I know of are veterans. Last year several of the guys were diagnosed with PTSD as a matter of fact and 2 of them were participants in the lighting of fuses for the pyro show. So get off of your high horse!

  23. Good letter David, As you can see however conservatives are more interested in doing as they please, even though it is most likely illegal to do so, than showing a respect for vet’s if it lessens their fun.

  24. newscrap says:

    So stetson, since the vets YOU know don’t mind, you could care less about those who are effected? nice guy. By the way, you still have not made clear what abortion has to do with it! Go watch fireworks at one of the shows, As I said, grown men blowing up crap to “celebrate” the founding of our country is silly.

  25. Your message is drowned out by the sound of fireworks, David.

    The frenzy will continue regardless of who it harms.

  26. menopaws says:

    Amen—-our vets fought for the rights of people to behave like ignorant assholes…………So, these postings tell me they have a high contingent of the population that qualifies on the 4th……….Those of us who respect their MULTIPLE deployments and the personal toll it has taken on them and their families—salute them……….Being patriotic has NOTHING to do with shooting off fireworks–but, maybe that’s all these people know how to do……..Wishing everyone a safe 4th—with hope that people use their brains instead of loud noises to be a proud American this year.

  27. Roncella says:

    menopaws, Your disrespect for others in your post is striking and does nothing to futher your beliefs.

    Have you heard of the Movie Star named, Gary Sinise ? Here is a Ture Hero. He never served in the Military, however for the last 40 or so years he has been involved with helping wounded veterans, their families, first hand.

    In case you are not sure who he is he was Lt. Dan in the Movie Forest Gump.

    This Great Conservative has done more the our troops from the Viet Nam mess and Iraq and Afg. then any government official or Congressman has ever done.

    Gary has traveled all over the World with other enterainers to bases in many Countries, including Ft.Hood a month after the Muslim American Terrorist Murderer shot innocent Military troops just going about there business.

    Gary Sinise heads an Organization to help veterans and their families, especially those returning without arms, leggs, jobs, homes, etc.

    Use your google to find out more and send him a check, we all need to give more to our veterans who have given so much for all of us.

  28. letsworkitout says:

    Kardnos is just a jerk period. It wasn’t a political comment until you tried to stretch it out into one. Don’t be a douche.

    As to the letter, if the fireworks really bother you then you could possibly go camping that night or some other get away for the night. I know some will say, why should you have to leave your own house….well….then it becomes a back and forth about why should either side have to stop or leave….the many outweigh the few. Majority.

  29. nwcolorist says:

    I have a lethal allergy to peanuts. Without immediate medical attention, I’ll be dead in 60 minutes after eating just one.

    Do I go around demanding that no one near me have any peanut products in their possession? No. One thing you can be sure of – I do take careful precautions to keep myself away from people and places where these products are commonly found.

    Independence Day comes once a year. We all have 51 weeks to plan for it. Let’s start taking personal responsibility for our own lives.

  30. Roncella says:

    nwcolorist, Your comment about personal responsibility is right on.

    However the far left has no clue what that actually means. You see in the far left/liberals mind many of them believe that Everything is the Governments responsibility.

    Almost 50 million folks paying no federal taxes, millions more on food cards, millions more on un-employment, congress passing itself raises, talk about a lack of personal responsibility.

  31. stetsonwalker says:

    Did not know you needed to be spoon fed! The abortion comment was intended as an example of the fact that we all face things in this life that we find unpleasant or sickening and cannot expect the world cater to our desire not to be offended at times.

  32. Interesting how Roncella condemns the poor for not paying taxes but supports big corporations and the rich not paying taxes.

  33. menopaws says:

    Roncella–What in the hell does Gary Sinese have to do with shooting off fireworks and PTSD???? Have you started celebrating the 4th early? Guess what–the 4th of July is about being an AMERICAN- conservative, liberal, cat lovers, dog lovers, ……..so, please let’s put the politics away–conservatives AND liberals support our troops. The letter was about PTSD and fireworks–you want to turn it into a Glenn Beck moment–do it somewhere else……..All I care about is my friend and his PTSD—good for Gary Sinese, good for Stephen Colbert and his trip to Iraq…..Now, please, think before you make noise tonight…….and put your politics away–I am as American as you are Roncella…..this isn’t a day for liberal or conservative political theories……………Honestly—our troops don’t deserve to risk their lives for this kind of bull crap……….I plan on celebrating them—and hope their night is as peaceful as they want it to be.

  34. Roncella says:

    menopaws, I was trying to show you someone who really Cares about our Veterans, and their families and has for years and years, not just at the 4th of July..

    By the way if your so concerned about the fireworks, call your Governor and your senator and tell them you don’t want fireworks sold by the Indians or anyone for that matter in the State of Washington.

  35. Roncella says:

    xring, I never condemned the poor.

    If you would read and comprehend my post, I said when it comes to personal responsibilty the far left/libs don’t have a clue what that means. I then went on to give examples of a few of their social programs that are bankrupting the Nation.

    Your also an example of what I was saying about libs not understanding what was meant by the term Personal Responsibility, you really did not understand it.

  36. menopaws says:

    Libs not understanding personal responsibility???? Please on this American day climb down off your soapbox Roncella….It’s kind of pathetic how the 4th is all about politics for you….Lecturing me or anyone else about personal responsibility is not now or any other day your job………You really don’t have much of a life beyond Fox News do you? To the letter writer: thank you so much for your letter. My friend with PTSD suffers every year around this time. His time in the hills of Afghanistan gives him difficulty…….thank you….

  37. Roncella,

    But you did. Beginning with “However” you give examples which, in your opinion, are indicative of a lack or personal responsibility.

    And one of the examples is “Almost 50 million folks paying no federal taxes”, which implies they are doing so due to a lack of personal responsibility.

  38. Roncella says:

    menopaws, Only you know the way to celebrate the 4th correctly, right ?

    The 4th is not just about politics for me. Its about remembering to be grateful that we live in the Greatest Country in the World and are truly lucky and blessed to be liviing in America.

    menopaws, you always sound angry in your posts, is there anything your really happy about ?? Happy 4th menpaws……Its a beautiful warm and sunny day, enjoy it.

  39. Roncella says:

    xring, What happens when more folks are living off the Government than are working and paying taxes ? Where will the money come from xring ?

    Watch the riots in Greece and thats what can happen here if the spending by Obama and others is not stopped.

    turn off MSNBC, CNN, NPR and think on your own for a change.

  40. psycodug says:

    PTSD is actually a learned behavior process. It is not something that you will need lifelong medication for and those who do believe that sacrifice life for drugs. I am sure ther are many perspectives on this topic, but you see, I am not one that gets paid if I determine you have it so it does not benefit me if I conclude a positive result towards a PTSD diagnosis. The learned behavior towards explosives can be changed through the use of fireworks educating the individual that the “Sound” is not related to a negative experience.

  41. “where will the money come from”
    Yes where will the money come from to buy foreign made goods when there are no more decent jobs in this Country.

    Another false assumption – that only people ‘living of the Government don’t pay taxes.

    Many of the 47% work in the private sector for minimum or near minimum wage jobs.

    At the other end, many large corporations receive huge government subsidies and tax breaks.

    So which of the two groups are living of the government?

    My two favorite news sources are the Christian Science Monitor and Aljazeera News.

  42. Roncella says:

    xring, I have heard that Aljazeera is a Soros supported news source. Just one of many he supports, all having a very far left view of current events. I would not believe any outlets that George Soros is involved with, they have no credibility in being honest about reporting the news.

    xring, Again I will ask you where will the money come from as more and more folks live off of the Government. Soon the Government will run out of money for retirements and many other beniefits, both state governments and the federal government.

    When that happens we will also have riots in the streets and civil disorder just as Greece is experiencing now.

    You keep referring to breaks that corporations get, yes its unfair however, if you want to keep jobs here there will have to be ways of enticing corporations to stay here and expand here in order to keep the jobs here.

    By the way just a side note the x-President of G.E. is a very close advisor to President Obama. He was successful in managing G.E. to the point of them not paying one penny in taxes, not a very good example for an Obama supporter.

  43. newscrap says:

    You, is your Social Security “living off the government”? Do you really drink the rightist cool aid about giving business all of these breaks so that they can “create jobs”? If that is the case, then why did 92% of the taxes returned from that out of the country tax refund to business go to dividends for stock holders and to buy back more of their stock. Business adds jobs when there is a need, not because they get a tax break. Pull your head out of the Fox News backside, and maybe YOU could think for yourself and stop advocating against your own best interests and your wight wing worship of the rich.

  44. Roncella says:

    newscrap, Its President Obama and the dems. who have created the mess with high unemployment including the additional expense obamacare will be costing both small and large businesses.

    Those stockholders you attack are folks like you and me. Their retirement income needs those dividends to keep their benefts coming. Why attack Fox News ? Most Conservatives don’t get their news from Fox. I believe as many liberals as conservatives watch Fox News. They have done many polls on who their customer base is and found a surprisingly high number of liberals watch Fox News.

    Have you ever worked for a poor person ? Your anger for the Rich is misplaced.

    Thats who provides us all with jobs and a future. Its their investment in businesses that makes the economy buss.

    Your like Obama, you need some basic understanding about why this Country is so successful and has so many millionaires and success stories to tell.. Our standard of living is so much higher than most other countries, because of Capitalism

    Stop biting the hand that feeds you.

  45. unbanned1 says:

    What a candyass

  46. newscrap says:

    No, YOU need to understand that to have a healthy country you have to have a srong middle class. I am not “angr\y” at the rich, but when, between 1970 and 2010 the salary of workers goes up 46%, corporate profit goesup 253%, but CEO salaries go p 430%, somethinig is out of balance. When I grew up my mother was able to stay home while my father worked. He was a business owner and he made enough for the family to live on, although we were far far from “rich”. I want a healty country for ALL, not just the top 10%. Kiss there bottoms if you want to, but stop believing they give one tinkers diddle for YOU.

  47. Roncella,
    “Aljazeera a Soros supported news source” Let me guess you heard that on Fox Entertainment Spews – home of the most uninformed.

    The logical fallacy in your ‘x-president of GE’ rant is that all corporations enjoy the same lax tax code.

    Also you were big on Ayres/Wright, and Obama lacks experience in running a business rants, and now you’re damning the President for having the x-pres of a major corporation as an advisor.

    Frosty is obsessed with midnight cowboys.

  48. I only read the first 10 letters or so and I got the idea of the entire lot. I too am a veteran with ptsd from service connected trauma. I too climb the walls every time the week of July 4 approaches. When the neighborhood scofflaws start their “celebration”, I am on pins and needles. I jump with every explosion and tonight, July 4, I have spent the largest part of the evening in a dark room with the windows and door shut tight. Want to show your “patriotism”? Visit a veteran at American Lake, donate to the DAV or American Legion. Don’t “blow stuff up” on my behalf or the behalf of my brother and sister veterans. I’d rather not spend the night in the dark surrounded by fear. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice, Mr. Dittemore. You are not alone, Brother. To those that make comments like “candyass”, When did you serve?

  49. Roncella says:

    xring, President Obama uses Class Warfare to divide the middle class and the rich and the poor.

    He seems to like to pit one group against the order as he clearly did at his last press conference. He used the press conference to attack the rich and cause anger among the poor.

    For a President who campaigned on uniting the Country in 08, remember when he read from his tele-prompter, We are not Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives, back or White, we are all Americans, not his exact words but very close, what happen to that very powerful speech he gave ??

  50. menopaws says:

    Papasan—I sincerely hope you were okay last night…….My husband, who has to get up at 4:30 am. and I were up past midnight with all the so-called patriots shooting off fireworks……….They think being loud will mask their ignorance………Roncella, you need to either quit drinking or get some professional help….this entire post was about fireworks and veterans—not George Soros, Gary Sinese, GE and whatever other Fox News tidbit you threw out to change the subject………..And, in terms of the big picture—the respect I have for our veterans is what brought me to this site. I suspect, for you, it’s just a place to expound more of your version of right wing politics………The letter was about the veterans and PTSD—any other comments demean their service and loyalty to this country……..Try to honor them first and your politics second in the future………Got it???

  51. Sorry to keep you waiting KARDNOS. I haven’t read many of the posts regarding this topic but did notice that KARDNOS thinks I’m a cowboy. I guess I could consider that a compliment coming from an urban hero like him. I wanted to wait until the day after to comment on this idiosy called the “4th of July celebrations”. True to my expectations, the fools were out in droves. The drooling, knuckle-dragging sunshine patriots who think that making a lot of noise is some how “patriotic”. I would suggest to these Neanderthals that if they enjoy making noise so much, why not go into the military where the noise that you make will be of some benefit to your country and have more meaning. The skies this morning are overcast with a smoky haze and these liberal politicians complain about one guy smoking a cigarette in a public park? I doubt that the Pierce County council has the guts to ban this insanity, since they are in the pocket of the Indian tribes. It’s about the money, pure and simple. I do get some satisfaction when I read that some fool blew his fingers off or burned down his house, ahhh, the sweet smell of revenge!

  52. stetsonwalker, I disagree with your assessment that the 4th of July “bash” is comprised mostly of veterans. I live on a street where at least six of my neighbors are retired military. They, like me, hate this exercise in stupidity. It starts around the the 30th of June and lasts until the 5th or 6th of July. I see kids as young as 7-8 years old, unsupervised lighting fireworks. I have had my little dog on sedatives for four days, she won’t even go out into the yard because of the chaos. So for all of you armchair patriots who feel that disturbing your neighbors for an entire week somehow proves how tough you are, I have news for you, we veterans for the most part look upon you with distain and in my case, pure hatred.

  53. papasan, Amen brother! The thing that disturbs me the most is what all of that noise does to the animals. I’m a dog/cat lover and I have more sympathy and respect for them than I do most people. People are supposedly intelligent enough to make their own decisions, animals do not have that luxury. Every year, many of these pets run away and get killed by a car. If the fireworks cost the life of one pet, to me that’s enough reason to ban them.

  54. live4fish says:

    Wonder if they canceled the yearly fireworks show on JBLM?

  55. No, they didn’t cancel the JBLM show this year. And Gary Sinese was there with his band. Lots of combat veterans and their families really enjoy it… Including mine. It’s a terrific show. Fireworks and howitzers all performed to music, including the 1812 overture complete with real cannons. Every state and US possession displayed and honored in turn with a cannon and a parade of flags. From solemn to festive, they have it all.

  56. Roncella says:

    menopaws, Apparently you can’t read and comprehend so well, so I will help you understand why I mentioned Gary Sinise (Lt.Dan from the movie forrest giump).

    You and I equally support and want only the best for our troops currently serving and those who have served in Viet Nam, Iraq or Afg..

    Gary Sinise has done far more for the Troops both wounded and able and their families than anyone else I can think of. I was trying to make a point in answering another post, but you seem unable to understand why I mentioned Sinise in first place.

    menopaws, lighten up why don’t you, you always sound angry and unhappy, life is too short to have such a chip on your shoulder as you seem to have.

  57. There’s nothing wrong with organized, tightly controlled fireworks such as those at JBLM. The problem is when every mumbling fool who can light a match is turned loose on the public. People who I wouldn’t hire to wash my car are now the local neighborhood hero because he can finally do something that will get the attention he so intensely craves.

  58. letsworkitout says:

    I find it interesting the picture painted by those who are against the use of fireworks. They all paint a picture of either rednecks, neanderthals, or super macho guys lighting fireworks recklessly in a frenzy. Really? How about you people try to use better reasoning/debating skills than that. I mean, what it comes down to is that you people outright lie to support your cause. You know that everyone who uses fireworks does not fit your painted pictures, and yet you continue to purport that idea…..

  59. letsworkitout, Okay, how about you decribing in your own words what kind of people use fireworks in a neighborhood? Did they bother to check and see if anyone in the area may not want to hear the noise? Did they consider what that noise does to pets and other animals? Did they ensure that there was proper safey precautions taken to prevent a fire or injury to a kid? Please tell me the benefits derived to a neighborhood by turning it into a cacaphony of unending noise for three to four days.

  60. letsworkitout says:

    No no old man. Nice try at the turn around. Address the actual point I made about the assumptions people like you make. I didn’t say anything about the affect on animals/noise or any of that. I know why you did what you did, because you know that people from all walks of life are buying and lighting fireworks but that doesn’t fit your nice neat picture of the firework villan.

    The animals will get over it. They are animals not people. It is about time people remember that and act accordingly. As to the precautions? I can say that we have a bucket of water we put the used fireworks in and have a hose on and ready. Everyone except the person lighting the fireworks maintains a distance of no less than 250 feet. We light mostly parachutes and cakes. Little kids aren’t near the fireworks.

    Benefits? Come on. No one is going to try and debate that there is a benefit to a neighborhood no more than there is that there is a party with alcohol.

  61. letsworkitout, nice try at skirting the issue. The letter didn’t mention economic status. The subject of the letter is about goons using fireworks, if the shoe fits, wear it. Since you’re such an expert on the proper safety precautions for using fireworks, maybe you should start a business educating the other 99% of the slack-jawed pests out there who insist on showing their patriotism by making noise. From the news reports I’ve seen, your expertise could be put to good use. Just think of how many fingers and homes you could save every year. Your seemingly lack of concern for the welfare of helpless animals pretty much describes the “macho hero man” who impresses the neighborhood kids with his skill at lighting fuses. You say the animals will get over it? If that’s the case, why is my dog still afraid to go out in the yard? How about the many animals that run away and get killed every year? Will they “get over it”. Lastly, I don’t know what kind of neighborhood you live in,although I have an idea, you won’t offer an explanation of how fireworks benefit a neighborhood, only to draw some lame comparison to an alcohol party. When you can rustle up an excuse, get back to me.

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