I would like to ask fellow Long Islanders not to use fireworks this Fourth of July. Not only are they illegal and sources of litter in our neighborhoods, they leave people wondering whether they might be hearing gunshots.
However, chief among my concerns are veterans, people with autism and pets.
Some of our veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I know a local woman whose brother goes to the veterans hospital for the day to be safe from the upsetting noise of neighborhood fireworks.
I work with special needs students. I have seen people with autism bite their arms, claw at their thighs and legs or make fists and beat their heads when they hear noise such as fireworks.
Last, many animals suffer from explosive sounds [“Fireworks’ pops scare pups into hiding,” exploreLI, June 25]. They pace, drool or hide in bathrooms and closets. My own dog let out a yelp when she was nearly hit by a bottle rocket while lying in our backyard. Now I have to sedate and comfort the dog on the Fourth of July.
Disability need not forever be a hurdle
I sincerely congratulate Robert Browne on his graduation from Long Beach High School [“Grad’s ‘magical moment,’ ” News, June 27]. However, as a wheelchair user, I’m disappointed that a cliché story of “overcoming” disability was deemed front-page news. I recognize that people want an escape from what’s going on in the world, but please consider what stories like these convey.
Instead of celebrating bodily diversity, disabled people are practically forced to denounce disability as part of who we are. Granted, my disability isn’t due to injury, so my perspective and experience differ. The traumatic change is something I can’t imagine. But perpetuating the idea that disability is forever a tragedy to push beyond only makes it harder for newly disabled people to adjust, and for all disabled people to accept ourselves.
Society applauds a disabled person’s moment of struggle to perform able-bodiedness, but where is everyone when it comes to the daily fight for equal employment opportunities, inclusive education and better health care for disabled people? Where are these cover stories?
I don’t begrudge this young man his moment. But it disheartens me that we live in a world where disability is so stigmatized that people internalize the idea they must reject it, because otherwise they are less than whole. I am disabled. I am whole.