Support our Troops - Ban FireworksPermalink +
Sun, Mar 03, 2013, 5:17 pm // Dick Conoboy
Over two years ago I wrote a column for NWCitizen entitled “Fireworks in Bellingham” in which I explained the reasons there should be a total ban on public purchase and use of fireworks in Bellingham. (Click here to reread that article.) In the interim, the Bellingham City Council has not acted on pleas from the public to enact such a ban. Today, well before the Fourth of July, I am calling on the city council again to particularly and specifically recognize and honor our veterans, who, with their service, ensure that we can continue to enjoy our freedom as celebrated on Independence Day. As a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I am also calling on that organization here in Bellingham to write to the city council on behalf of their fellow soldiers in order to stop the sale and possession of fireworks in this city.
Combat is a terrible experience that leaves its survivors with physical and psychological wounds, some of which never heal. Few of us have ever been in a war. Efforts to describe war can never replicate the reality, so what one sees of war on TV and in the movies is, for the most part, outrageously and idiotically bogus. I am a Vietnam veteran, and although I did not see direct combat as an infantryman, I did experience an occasional mortar attack and was shot at once, even hearing the bullets pass by my head. Nevertheless, just these brief experiences created for me a fear of loud noises and flashes of light that lasted for years after my return to this country. I eventually adjusted, but many do not.
My best friend, who worked with me at the Pentagon, lost both of his legs and part of each hand from a booby trap in Vietnam. This son of a famous Marine general later received a Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography. But the notoriety and immense support from the public and his family did not chase away the memories of combat. In 1994, he put a bullet in his head, being unable to further tolerate the physical and psychological effects of his wartime experience. A close friend of mine from college drank himself to death, largely trying to deal with the demons from his combat experience. A fellow officer who served with me in Vietnam, and who also tried to chase the demons of war, died of acute alcohol poisoning from the icy tumblers of straight whiskey he drank throughout the day.
For those who have been in direct combat for days or months, the reaction to noise, stress and other such stimuli can last a lifetime. This is not a secret from which we can hide. Suicides among service members now exceed the number of those who die in combat. Our veterans live among us, mostly anonymously and quietly. They demand little but deserve much. We do not hear about their suffering, as many have learned to be stoics in order to survive each day, or not be perceived as weak.
We, Bellingham residents, choose to celebrate our independence each year with parades and ceremonies and the eventual display of fireworks. But long before, and for a substantial time after the 4th of July, because of poor enforcement of our municipal codes, the so-called celebration begins with explosions, flashes of light and the odor of gunpowder. Ironically, we have learned very well to recreate the sounds, sights and smells of combat, but to what end? Why are we intent on a celebration that reproduces for weeks those very aspects of war that bring continued suffering to our veterans in the form of anxiety, flashbacks and panic? Is this our gift to veterans on Independence Day? Is this how we support our troops?
Stop the fireworks now.
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am // Terry WechslerWhile the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writerPatrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.
2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:54 pm // Terry WechslerNot content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.
10 comments; last on Aug 26, 2014
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2014
Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 7:12 am // Terry WechslerA massive upgrade of the Cascade [rail] Corridor has left residents stranded and the sheriff asking Washington, DC, to intervene.
6 comments; last on Aug 21, 2014
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm // Guest writerSandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.
4 comments; last on Aug 18, 2014
Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:52 am // Riley SweeneySome Context for the Primary Results
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm // John ServaisBellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.
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Fri, Aug 08, 2014, 10:10 am // John ServaisUpdated Wed evening. The Tuesday evening 8:20 pm Auditor report on the election is in.
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Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:00 am // Dick ConoboyCouncilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.
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Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 4:47 am // Terry WechslerCarefully planned actions are rolling across the state to make the point that it's not OK to expose us to risks associated with CBR.
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Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 11:40 am // Riley SweeneyNorthwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!
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Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am // Dick ConoboyIn contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.
1 comments; last on Jul 30, 2014
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Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 6:54 am // Terry WechslerIt is time we stop allowing corporations to externalize the costs associated with their risky business practices, and demand more from our regulators who hold the keys to…
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Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am // Guest writerGuest writer Sandy Robson breaks the story of officials from Washington treated to a coal-promoting junket to Wyoming.
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Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am // Guest writerFerndale's most famous landmark is frequently commented on and is often in the news. Here is their side of the story.
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Wed, Jul 02, 2014, 5:14 pm // Terry WechslerOn the anniversary of the Lac-Megantic disaster, communities throughout North America rally in solidarity to remember and protest wholly inadequate government response to crude-by-rail's risks.
4 comments; last on Jul 12, 2014
Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 9:01 pm // Guest writerIn the Weekly, Tim Johnson left out three words in quoting Craig Cole - and his story misleads readers. Guest article by Sandy Robson.
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Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am // Dick ConoboyThe Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.
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Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 10:18 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed
1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am // Dick ConoboyThe possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.
1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am // John ServaisWyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.
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Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am // John ServaisBellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.
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Mon, May 26, 2014, 7:51 pm // Wendy HarrisCity park improvements have implications on the local and global scale.
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Sat, May 17, 2014, 2:34 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates
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Sun, May 11, 2014, 2:20 pm // Terry WechslerPart 1: Introduction to the Bellingham Basin’s Potential for Fracking, Earthquakes, and Earthquakes Due to Fracking
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Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am // John ServaisThe Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.
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Fri, May 09, 2014, 6:10 am // Terry WechslerWhy Washington must step in and assume lead agency status in Skagit County for the Shell crude by rail proposal.
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Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm // Riley SweeneyThe value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .
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Mon, May 05, 2014, 3:34 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the gyrations of the bid for widespread county slaughter are exposed.
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Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm // Guest writerMove to Amend is a national movement to amend the U.S. Constitution and define persons as people and speech as not money.
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Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am // John ServaisRiley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.
1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am // Dick ConoboyEvery Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.
4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 1:59 pm // Terry WechslerA closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."
3 comments; last on Jun 25, 2014
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 11:43 am // Wendy HarrisThe public needs to support city council and request that a waterfront habitat assessment include terrestrial species and habitat connectivity.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:57 pm // Terry Wechsleror How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs
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Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 2:23 am // Wendy HarrisThe public has a week to comment on the scope of issues reviewed under the EIS.
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 1:32 am // Wendy HarrisOn March 26, 2014 the city and county provided their update and assessment on the status of Lake Whatcom. This is mine.
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Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue
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Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 1:11 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein there's a crackdown on growing plants, and plans to let slaughter run free
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