Jul 7, 2015

Bellingham WA: Pets & Veterans, Families Human & Non-Human are All Safer without Fireworks

Thank heavens for Clay Butler RIP. He was the "Control Fireworks Guy" in Bellingham WA. His inspiration came from his Australian Shepherd who suffered during the long New Years and July 4th seasons of booms, barrages, and rockets. Inviting citizens to sign petition initiatives, Clay said he was a shy, retired guy but felt compelled to go public to campaign for peace, quiet, sanity and law enforcement. Many other cities in Washington state had instituted successful bans on consumer fireworks many years earlier. 
Clay Butler RIP
(from his public Facebook timeline)

When there was no "watchdog" survey-type email from Clay around July 4th, I searched and was surprised to see per various hits including the Mountain Dulcimer Club of Bellingham that he had passed away May 24, 2015 at the age of 71. The post says his Facebook timeline can be consulted to leave condolences. I had never met him in person but am deeply saddened that he is gone. Fireworks are banned now. It took more than one initiative and he didn't back down when the first petition didn't pass. It took five years. But now, thanks to his gumption, even unincorporated parts of the agrarian county in which Bellingham is situated and smaller cities, are following suit. 

Clay's daughter mentions on Clay's FB timeline his Australian Shepherd "Charlie Girl" (she is around 11 years old now). I trust she has been having a peaceful July 4th season. Illegal fireworks are still set off, but less than in 2014, and law enforcement is slightly more responsive than they were in 2014 as far as I can tell. All dogs and cats of Bellingham thank Clay Butler.

There is now just a "professionally run" commercial show over Bellingham Bay, but in my opinion, it should be banned too. It would be more respectful to veterans of all centuries to have moments of silence. It is especially important considering about 5 million veterans in the USA currently suffer from PTSD. Critters in the bay are undoubtedly frightened, hurt and appalled with the idiocy. As a neighbor of the site where "professional" cannon noises are set off, I do not tolerate the disturbance well at all. Of course birds and other land-based wildlife and pets are upset by them. Because of citizen law-breakers (and probably City-endorsed "professional" fireworks), the shelter is full per their Facebook page. As far as I am concerned, both consumer and commercial fireworks should be prohibited nationwide.

Related articles:

July 2, 2015 - NWCitizen
Fireworks and Clay Butler - by Dick Conoboy
In Bellingham WA "Consumer fireworks are now banned.  This speaks volumes to the power of one person with an idea." 

June 30, 2015 - BellinghamHerald
Whatcom View: Families, environment safer without fireworks in Bellingham - by Taimi Gorman

March 3, 2013 - NWCitizen
Support our Troops - Ban Fireworks - by Dick Conoboy

July 7, 2012 - SweeneyBlog
Banning Fireworks in Bellingham: Blast or Dud? - by J. Riley Sweeney
Quoting Taimi Gorman, “They used to hand out cigarettes to people on a plane. You don’t have the right to make everyone in the neighborhood suffer because you want to blow stuff up.”