July 1, 2007
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The nation’s fireworks industry has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for promoting noise, mayhem, reckless endangerment, and even death. The Injury Board report that illegal fireworks “present substantial risks that can result in deaths, loss of sight, amputations, and severe burns.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, commented that “freedom entails the right to be left alone and enjoy your own property. It’s a sad commentary that the United States of America celebrates its independence by making tons of noise. To many people, the essence of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ are disturbing the peace by making noise. Where is the freedom and liberty when your house is pounded by thunder and crackle all day long–or even all week long? On the Fourth of July, some American cities sound like Baghdad.”
This Fourth of July, there were several incidents involving fireworks, noise, and violence:
- In Pasco County, Florida, extreme irritation from the constant pounding of fireworks led an 85 year-old man, Paul Hanna, to climb out of bed, throw on some clothes, and grab his .22 caliber rifle, telling the noisemakers, “I’m going to shoot everybody.” He was charged with aggravated assault.
- In Youngstown, Ohio, a prank involving firecrackers was blamed for a shooting outside an East Side convenience store. One shopper was so frightened by the noise that he began firing at the noisemakers with a handgun.
- In Cleveland, Ohio, Terrance Hough, Jr., a 35 year-old off-duty firefighter, was so angered by noisy fireworks next door that he shot three people to death. Another man was shot in the elbow and a woman was wounded in the head.
Rueter concluded, “The Fourth of July demonstrates a clear link between noise, crime, aggression, and violence. Unnecessary noise makes people mad. Extreme noise makes people aggravated. Intense noise can lead to violence. Fireworks are a symptom of this country’s extreme noise problem. It is time for this country to quiet down.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is www.noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Congressman Darrell Issa, Echo Manufacturing, and Pioneer Electronics.