Fireworks and My Privilege

I’m going to bet every person who reads this knows what I’m talking about when it comes to fireworks. The damned things have been going off nonfuckingstop for weeks now. They go off from 8:00 right on through until there’s some random window-rattling blast at, like, 2:45 a.m. Pets hate it, people hate it. You bitch about it on Nextdoor, and it’s a surefire way to make the people doing it gloriously happy. Trolls IRL.

Our Nextdoor has a whole group about it. I’m in it. Everyone has resolved to call the cops whenever they can identify the source. A cop parked in the empty elementary school parking lot across the street from our house one night gave us blessed quiet. I was grateful.

Then I read this in the New York Times: A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested. The neighborhood a few blocks away from where George Floyd was killed has resolved not to call the police. For anything. A homeless encampment has sprung up in their park, and they feel unsafe. A guy got held up at gunpoint (not related to the encampment). A man wearing a hospital bracelet passed out in the elevator of an apartment building. The guy who found him called 911 and asked for an ambulance only. They got a cop.

Not calling the cops in these situations is hard-core allyship. I don’t know how I feel about this. I mean, damn, it’s walking the walk, but I don’t know if I could skip calling the cops when somebody just held me at gunpoint.

What I do know is I’m feeling pretty fucking privileged talking about calling the cops about fireworks, however annoying and dangerous in Colorado’s dry climate they may be.

And I’m feeling pretty hypocritical talking about defunding the police and then wanting them to deal with fireworks.

I’m not writing this to tell you how swell I am because I know exactly what to do to be all principled and moral. I’m writing this as a first step in reflecting on my privilege and my irritation and my desire to not have people’s houses burn to the ground or even have their pets freaked out. I’m just laying out my own hypocrisy and trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing.

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Paula is an author of historical fiction as well as a wife, mom, and teacher.
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