LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Independence Day In Burien

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In the week and days before Independence Day (July 4th), my Shorewood on the Bluff (SOB for short) neighborhood resounded with explosions. Being the curmudgeonly sort, I strolled the area engaging neighbors as I dared about fireworks.

My question always was: “Did you know fireworks are prohibited in Burien?” “Whaaat the F***?” was a common reply (along with suggestions about my relationship to my mother). Many said the city can’t tell them what to do. Yea, I’m noticing. So, I asked about opinions on the public vote to ban fireworks. The common reply was, “Well, I didn’t vote for that.”

The bottom line seemed to be that “I’m gonna do what I want to and ‘they’ can’t stop me;” or “I didn’t vote for the ban so #$%@ (expletive) the city.” It was an interesting survey…and a noisy few days. The debris littered the streets afterward.

One person had actually been at the city council meeting where one councilmember forced the police chief on camera to make instant public policy and carve out an exception (minors won’t be cited) that isn’t in the law. As this neighbor said: “I’ll just hand the rockets to my kid if the police drop by.” Success, someone who pays some attention to the city council.

Anyway, the level of law abiding in my SOB neighborhood was as minimal as Shorewood on the Sound (SOTS), Maplewild and 3 Tree Point (the Gold Coast) — areas I can see from my deck. The poor weather did nothing to dampen patriotic enthusiasm to celebrate our Nation’s Independence Day — I’m just positive that was what they were celebrating even though a significant number don’t actually vote.

Yes, Independence Day 2010 proved once again that the United States is a nation of laws — provided I agree with those laws.

-Stephen Lamphear

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Have something you’d like to say? Then email a “Letter to the Editor” by clicking here. Be sure to include your real name and a way to contact you, and, pending our review, we’ll most likely post it. Otherwise, feel free to leave a Comment below…]

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3 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Independence Day In Burien”
  1. Shari says:

    Stephen, I agree with your thoughts both in the specific (fireworks issues) and the general (resistance to ‘being told what to do/not to do’). It seems to be basically true that living in proximity isn’t the same thing as living in community. The more that respect for the views and well-being of ‘the other guy’ go by the wayside, the more incensed we get at having to compromise any aspect of our behavior for some vague notion of ‘greater good’ and the more we have to rely on the net effect of a massive set of regulations—and a cadre of beleaguered law enforcement staff—to do it for us. I’m not sure it’s possible to legislate a sense of community. And asking law enforcement to control behaviors in a way that gives the appearance of real community isn’t fair to them or even particularly effective (and the things you write about in your letter suggest it may even be counterproductive).

  2. nartweag says:

    This is why my husband and I stay home on the 4th of July. The first July 4th we lived in our house we found fireworks remnants on the roof the next morning. We stay home with a hose handy just in case our “patriotic” neighbors set fire to our home.

  3. Coverofnight says:

    Did Stephen call the police to report the lawbreakers? If I had that type of neighbor who talks that way around his kids, I would have called the cops in a heartbeat!

    Most of us do respect the laws and are considerate of others as part of our living in community. There are more of us than there are of “them” who don’t give a damn about others. It can be frustrating living with these morons, but don’t give up setting a good example to your community.

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