Letters to the Editor

Fireworks are outdated, inappropriate for 4th | Vashon Letters to the Editor

Fireworks should be limited

Skull-splitting explosions, animals cowering in fear and sleepless nights hardly seem appropriate ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. Vashon Island is special because of its quiet repose and year-round serenity — except for the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, when everyone must endure the regressive, pathological need of a few to blow things up.

Why can’t we do the sensible thing and restrict this impulse to create explosions to a defined time and place, such as the perennial pyrotechnics at Quartermaster Harbor, and give the rest of the Island a break? Especially in this time of terrorism at the hands of those who like to throw bombs and make explosions, shouldn’t we set an example for our children and the world that shows some respect for safety, sanity and common sense?

My dog and I would be eternally grateful if the King County Council would enact an ordinance that bans fireworks except at a defined location, date and time. Let the summer patriots express themselves at the ballot box instead of at the end of a fuse.

— Robert Miskimon

Holiday needs ‘re-visioning’

I know some people really like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Those who don’t often feel compelled to stay quiet about it.

Yet, every year, despite hearing horror stories of family pets diving through windows, being hit by cars, running themselves, literally, to death (and the less spoken stories of the impact on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder), we willingly shatter the night with increasingly loud and sophisticated explosives.

As the name of the holiday implies, we don’t think about the welfare of the whole on this day. We’re operating from a sense of personal entitlement. The enjoyment of fireworks rests, in part, on denial and/or lack of regard for the impact this behavior has on human and non-human others. From every aspect (environmental stewardship, community wellbeing, resource use, safety), this holiday needs re-visioning.

Independence is a mental construct. It is an idea with no basis of reality in a conscious, interconnected and inter-dependent world. Its logical trajectory is at the root of told and untold suffering on this planet.

What if we changed the holiday and called it “Inter-dependence Day” instead? We could keep our picnics, still gather with family and friends, connect with our community, but the day could morph to honor something bigger.

As a community, maybe we’d plan a big, locally grown meal or a night full of stories, dance and music or engage in dialogue and call ourselves to action on behalf of who and what’s been harmed by our illusion of separateness.

Maybe we’d take hikes in the woods to plant trees, clean beaches, send money to worthy non-profits — create new, unexpected rituals we love.

I, for one, will be happy for the day when we tell of a time, a long time ago, when we, as a nation and people, spent huge amounts of money on explosives that polluted the air and waters, terrified everything around us, and hurt many things but then woke up, saw what we were doing and found another way.

— Donna Tietjen

He’s anything but

“Big Ugly” is not the slogan we would choose for the much-loved Paul Wallrof — the wonderful Wally Wallrof, Coach Wally, Big Wally, the Big Teddy Bear, the man we know who is running for mayor.

Wally Wallrof is known for being a fabulous football coach to our Youth Pirates here on Vashon and for many years before that at the University of Puget Sound.

Wally was the past president of Tacoma/Pierce County National Footbal Foundation Chapter and was inducted into the University of Puget Sound Hall of Fame. He continues to be a volunteer for St. Vincent de Paul and St. John Vianney Catholic Church and works with the homeless at Nativity House in Tacoma.

In Glen Acres, he is known for far more than coaching football and his volunteerism. From the 1960s to present day, Wally and his wife Nancy have served as “second parents” to the Aspiri family. Wally wears a big smile as he enjoys watching and participating in weaving a web of mischief, hanging eggs from power lines (Ed Babcock’s personal favorite), playing ding-dong ditch, sharing beach fires and s’mores, and countless meals on the beach. (Some Island folk never grow up).

He has always enjoyed the chaos and covered for us when needed. He never was “The Fiddler on the Roof,” but he was on the roof from time to time, which gave us opportunity to cover for him in return. The stories we have shared, trouble we have created, blessing we have been given and appreciation for good neighbors that we have been gifted would fill more than this Beachcomber.

Watch for “The Little Wally Pirates” in the parade. And please vote for Big Wally Wallrof as Vashon’s Mayor for 2008-09.

— The Aspiri Family

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