I was on a friend's packed rooftop in DC. Good time, not all that unusual. But one thing did strike me as unusual. All around the building, random people were lighting off their own fireworks. More of my story after this, from the DC Examiner:
D.C. police [said] they're expecting thousands of calls to come in from people reporting illicit fireworks and other pyrotechnic complaints.Okay, so maybe it's not so unusual. But it was for me. I've truly never seen anything like last night - pretty much every side of this building had people lighting off fireworks in the street below.
Authorities are asking residents to remain patient. Fourth District Commander Linda Brown says the response will take time, because the call volume will be "tremendous."
A semi-professional looking van in a parking lot across the street did a pretty good job, actually. Unlike regular fireworks which explode far away, these had the illusion of exploding far away but actually were just a couple hundred yards away. Was pretty neat - and seemed well under control.
But what kind freaked me out were kids in the street below lighting off their own. They were down. We were up. They were shooting fireworks up in the air with no quality control what-so-ever.
I looked around and others didn't seem concerned. So, I generally went on with my life. Until every once in a while...BOOM! One would explode fairly close to the roof. I looked around again. Several people looked back--their eyes showing their sense of alarm too. But the majority of the crowd was just fine. So nobody moved. This went on for a couple hours.
Eventually, though, one came exceedingly close to us. It was practically exploding in front of our faces. I yelled, "Abandon ship!" and rushed to a lower area of the patio (it was a two floor patio -- lower one more insulated). I actually can't claim to be a leader of masses at that moment. The people on the lower-level agreed with me, but most others stayed up top. Until...a couple more fireworks later, when they all came down too. (Victory!)
As I walked home, I heard illegal fireworks going off all around me. I felt like I was in a war-torn city.
Overall, a fun fourth. But, I think I've accidentally become radicalized into an anti-illegal fireworks avenger. Didn't mean for that to happen. Never thought about it that much before. But now, I'm thinking, "No mercy. Lock em up." 4th District Commander Linda Brown, if you need any witnesses to testify at trial or some volunteer cops next year to make arrests, count me in!