Breathtaking: 4th of July Sky Lights Up with Fireworks Despite COVID-Induced Ban


In advance of the Fourth of July weekend, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health banned public fireworks displays, among other things, because of a spike in cases of COVID-19.

“Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for the county, in a June 29 news release.

“The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19.

“We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part. Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities.”

This is logical only if you don’t have a particularly good understanding of how to beat the novel coronavirus. The original recipe — bottling people up until both they and the economy they rely on were about to burst, then trying to slowly release the pressure in a controlled way — apparently hasn’t quite worked for California, one of the states that was actually supposed to have this whole thing under control from the beginning.

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Most of us aren’t public health or human behavior experts, but we know what doesn’t work, and it’s what we tried the first time around.

Also, larger fireworks displays wouldn’t be dissimilar to the recent spate of protest marches (and riots), in that viewers would be watching them outdoors, and presumably with more social distancing than mobs were able to manage. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the rest of the state of California conveniently looked the other way at these protests, and we’ve since been told in the most perfervid manner they’re absolutely not to blame for any spike in COVID-19. So we should have been good, right?

Anyhow, we supposedly weren’t. Fast forward to Saturday and this was the scene from the skies above California’s largest metropolis:

Notice how the anchors were somehow aghast at the fact people would defy their leaders, the people who Know What’s Best For Them.

“They’re putting up warnings on social media,” said a befuddled KCAL-TV anchor over the sight of a fireworks spectacle far more prodigious — and unmanageable, at least from a bureaucratic standpoint — than anything that would have put on otherwise.

Notice the intonation here: “We’ve done stories on this. More people have, unfortunately, been setting off illegal fireworks. I mean, it is quite the sight, but this is notsupposedtobehappening. I mean, you could be fined up to fiftyThousand. Dollars.”

Should Los Angeles have banned fireworks for the Fourth of July?

Good luck on that, Los Angeles County. Good luck, KCAL.

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You try getting the police — Los Angeles’ recently defunded police, consistently portrayed as the scourge of the city unless officers are enforcing laws liberals like — to investigate all of those people who didn’t listen to those stories you ran, who decided they wanted to celebrate our country’s birthday in patriotic fashion but were told by a phalanx of Karens how enjoying yourself on the Fourth of July was going to lead to more coronavirus cases.

Crowding around a burning American flag in the streets remains a perfectly legit way to enjoy your weekend without the fear of spreading coronavirus, mind you. Celebrating America by socially distancing at a public fireworks display is apparently a bridge too far, however.

It looked just as epic from the ground, as well:

Here’s a time lapse:

Here’s one of your Karens vulgarly cursing people for not doing what she wants them to do:

WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.

I love how she spends 30 seconds cursing out people for breaking the law and the video ends as the car she’s in plows through a yellow light. #AllLawsMatter.

And here’s facile anti-religious polemicist Sam Harris, bemoaning a transient spike in air-quality readings:

And yes, it was a little hazy in Los Angeles after the fireworks. Apparently, smog in a city historically known for being smoggy is man-bites-dog news for some:

And yes, there were issues with air quality and fires in Southern California, something local media liked to rub in the faces of everyone who didn’t listen to their stories.

As per Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV : “Fire departments said they saw a sharp increase in the number of calls for service. It was the second-busiest day ever in calls for service from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, according to Dispatch Supervisor Imy McBride.

“The dispatchers usually field 1,000 calls on an average day, McBride said. On July 4th, they handled more than 1,600 calls, including tree, brush and roof fires.”

All of this could have been averted if officials had allowed fireworks to proceed as normally, however, so this isn’t a particularly good argument. Illegal fireworks are necessarily going to be more dangerous than legal fireworks — and Los Angeles was going to receive more calls on July 4 anyway, so an increase of 600 calls seems modest, given the circumstances.

Any sympathy you might have for Los Angeles’ officialdom should be attenuated by the fact it had every opportunity to head this off but decided its best strategy to deal with a potential spike in COVID-19 cases was to bludgeon residents with news releases, potential penalties and serious-sounding stories on the evening news.

There was apparently legitimate shock that this was the outcome. I saw this movie when it premiered in early March and I knew how it ended. I’d also seen the prequel, which happened last year:

This was without people being told Fourth of July was canceled due to the novel coronavirus. In Los Angeles, a town driven by the engine of the entertainment industry, they apparently didn’t realize a stock storyline when they read the first act.

Oh well. A belated “Happy Fourth, L.A.” That fireworks show was a blockbuster.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture