Neighborhood Facebook Group Torn Apart By Incessant Posts About Fireworks
BOSTON — Local woman Madeleine Potter confirmed to reporters Tuesday morning that she is seriously considering leaving her neighborhood Facebook group due to an overabundance of posts about fireworks. “It’s getting out of control,” the 29-year-old complained via text. “People start setting off fireworks in the week before Memorial Day and then you hear them every night all summer long. And yeah it’s annoying, but we live in a ducking (sic) city!!!!! What do people expect?!?”
It’s not just Potter who has a problem with the posts. Mercedes Gilbert is a recent addition to the admin team, but she’s been a member of the group for just under four years. “This is an annual problem in our group,” she said on our Zoom call. “You see all these posts pop up at 11:23pm or whatever asking if — hold on, let me see if I can find an example.” She paused to scroll for a minute. “Ooh, this was a good one!” she laughed, before reading the post out loud:
Today is a sad day in our community, as we have reached a new low. I am simply distraught by the sheer abundance of disrespect that a few of our neighbors have for the rest of us. Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I heard the sound of seven gunshots being fired in quick succession outside my window. Fearing for my life, I grabbed my cat and ran down my basement stairs to take cover, terrified that at any moment the perpetrator would break through my front door. After hiding for what seemed like a lifetime, I quietly returned to the first floor and called the police, who informed me that what I heard was in fact not gunshots, but illegal fireworks.
This behavior MUST END. I have a heart condition, and I truly believed that if a gun didn’t take my life last night, a heart attack would instead. Fireworks cannot and should not be a part of this community, which I have otherwise grown to love in my time living here. I implore you, my neighbors, to please refrain from this illegal activity. It may have been fireworks this time, but next time it could be gunshots. My life is in your hands.
“And that’s not the only post like that,” Gilbert added. “So many of these people think they’re just constantly hearing gunshots. It’s like… you live right next to the Arboretum and you think someone’s shooting a gun over there every night? Do you think all the shadows outside your window are robbers scouting out their next target too? No, it’s trees swaying in the wind. Use your head!”
Another admin, Nolan Enriquez, finds the fireworks posts annoying for a different reason. “See, what bothers me most is all the people who make posts complaining about all the fireworks posts. ‘Stop complaining about fireworks,’ they say. ‘You’re clogging the group feed! All I see is fireworks posts! We live in a city just get used to it!’ But y’know what all those posts are doing? They’re clogging the group feed too! They need to take their own advice and stop complaining. Part of living in a city means you’re gonna hear fireworks in the summer, and part of being in a neighborhood Facebook group means white people are gonna complain about fireworks. It’s just how this thing goes.”
Enriquez is right about the racial makeup of the posts. Of all the fireworks-related content, the overwhelming majority is authored by white group members. (Fittingly, the two white women responsible for the most posts are both named Karen: one is anti-fireworks, while the other is anti-complaining about fireworks. It takes all Karens.)
There is an upside to this problem, though. Gilbert noted that “since some people won’t stop posting about fireworks, the remaining members have decided to just have some fun with the situation.” Most recently, Floyd Ayers unwittingly offered himself to the group as tribute when he posted a link to his Change.org petition to “Stop Our Neighbors From Irresponsibly Setting Off Fireworks Outside of City-Sponsored Events.” His only support in the replies came from Donna Lambert, who commented “I Will Gladly Sign. Ur Petition , FLoyd ! We Must keep. Our Neighborhod Free From Pollution OF All Kinds ,, Including Noise Polution !”
But other commenters weren’t as receptive. “Petition to Stop Floyd Ayers From Irresponsibly Sharing Change Dot Org Petitions In This Group,” wrote Imaani Emery, whose comment received over 50 laugh reacts in the first hour. Another popular comment came from Nicole Wu, who responded to Ayers’ post with a single “🥴” emoji. Additional calls of “move to the suburbs if you don’t like the noise” and observations of “hey aren’t you the guy who complained that your sandwich from City Food Supply & Stuff didn’t have enough mayo on it?” filled the replies until Ayers closed the comment section and angry reacted to every reply except Donna Lambert’s.
Once the vast majority of the online community banded together to mercilessly troll the fireworks posts, Gilbert observed a sense of togetherness in the group that hasn’t been felt since before the city enacted stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “And to that point, it’s also likely that the fireworks posting problem is exacerbated this year by the wild shifts in societal and living conditions that are unique to 2020,” she noted. “People have spent significantly more time in their homes recently, raising everyone’s levels of irritability.”
But despite the many changes that make this year unlike any other, Madeleine Potter’s final text to me sums the situation up perfectly:
“Everyone needs to shut up. Just. shut. up!!!!!! This shit happens every goddamn summer, and I am OVER IT.”