Image: Getty

Happy 4th of July! Arguably the worst American holiday, from the casual celebration of binge-drinking to the expectation of bright, shiny, gunpowder blasts launched into the sky after the aforementioned binge-drinking. I love a mayo-based summer salad BBQ party as much as the next person, but surely there’s a better way to celebrate the U.S.A. than lighting various fires.

I’ll own up to the earned status of buzzkill here, but my intentions are pure: fireworks are trash, and you should absolutely think twice before lighting one up. And with that second thought, dump the stagnant cooler water you were planning on dosing your lawn/sidewalk/driveway with...all over your explosives. Because that’s what they are, okay? Literal explosives.

My worldview changed after a trip to Disneyland, like, seven years ago—a member of my family, a combat Marine, just returned from Afghanistan for the first time and recoiled at the sound of fireworks. He instinctively kept his back to the wall; it was an extremely harrowing position to be in and an extremely helpless one—here we were, celebrating his safe arrival at the trademarked happiest place on earth and it’s completely torturous for him. That’s an image you don’t forget, and it’s one people with gun-related PTSD of all kinds experience annually. And it’s not just combat vets: If you grew up around and/or live with gun violence in your life, presently, it’s not unusual. Perhaps you’ve seen this making the rounds:

Depressing! Reality!

But let’s be real. I know some out there perhaps aren’t motivated by vets, or victims of gun violence of any kind, and while I’ll keep my personal feelings towards you to myself, have you thought about the puppies and kitties effected by the explosions you’re launching into the atmosphere? As the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) revealed in 2015, one in five lost pets that go missing in the United States do so because they were spooked by fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises. In fact, more pets are lost on the 4th than any other day! Only 14 percent of lost animals are ever returned to their owners. While you can’t stop other dummies from launching a bunch of fireworks into the night—or day, dangerously close to your residence in a fit of Miller Light-fueled mania—you can stop shooting stuff off that’ll make your sweet spaniel run away. Also, keep her home and don’t act dumb.

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And if you don’t care about vets or puppies, surely you care about human babies. Babies fucking hate fireworks. Newborns wish you would cut it out. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics contends that there is NO SAFE WAY to use backyard fireworks. Someone is gonna get hurt, whether its a precious lil babies’ ear tubes or you. (Especially if you’re young and a dude, but that’s another story...which I will tell you now, quickly, before all hope is lost. Fireworks were “implicated” in 12,900 hospital visits in 2017, men and boys accounting for 76 percent of said trips.)

So, please, dear lord, cool it with the tiny blasts. If not for me, for literally everyone else around you. Think of the men!