The neighborhood slowly falls asleep, and peace descends over Meerhoven like a soft fleece blanket. Every now and then a car tears past in the district where you can only drive 30 km, but I am used to those young people who want to run the risk of car damage. To the left of the road, where the speed bumps are low, ignoring all the traffic from the right, they often think lordly about the street. Movies like “Fast and Furious” do not help curb that behavior. With all the consequences of this, as recently when a young lad had “driven no faster than 30 km “, but succeeded in pulling a 50-meter slip track, had been rolled several times, and then molested a traffic sign and a concrete drainage column before landing in a ditch.
So I was not really surprised when around half past twelve at night a car came running at high speed, held with squeaking brakes in front of my house, and then immediately with slipping tires drove away. Reacting makes no sense: the police are not coming, and my security cameras do not look at the street but at my front doors. The voices of people also were not striking: more often, outgoing youth is a bit noisy. Certainly in December, if one illegally lights off some fireworks. What happened then, however, was not as expected ….
At about 25 meters from my house was heavily professional fireworks chipped off, whose pops vibrated my windows and furniture. Bright flashes of light brightened the night sky in a fountain of flashing colors. A group of advanced boys had illegally ordered fireworks, and lit it on the sports field across the street. That lends itself a bit, of course, but still. Next to it is an apartment building, and at least 2 houses are close by.
At the first blasts I let it pass. Usually it stops.
But because it did NOT stop, I first looked, then I considered taking pictures of the culprits (but it was too dark), so I decided to go out and talk to the boys (you know: to show little social supervision). While the fireworks went on and on, only a drunken lad was left who reacted provocatively to my angry calls. The rest (including, of course, the initiators) was already gone. The fireworks lasted more than a quarter of an hour, and the remains burned out for more than an hour. The next day the twisted metal rack and the launchers were sad witnesses in the midst of burned-out waste.
Should I have done something else? Call the police? Potentially, this was a very dangerous situation: if the installation falls over because of the explosions and the force of the propulsion jets, the heavy fireworks go like a rocket through one of the surrounding houses. In addition there’s the inconvenience: many older people live in our neighborhood, and some have traumas of loud bangs. But there are also many very young families with children and babies that now woke up in the middle of the night. And last but not least, the pets that are often nervous already during regular fireworks.
Granted: it was pretty nice to see, and no accidents happened.
But should you just tolerate young people seeking an outlet for their testosterone, looking for a way to revolt against the established order, having fun in a cross-border mischievous way? Is it that which, for example, tempts student associations into unacceptable behavior during dejuvenation periods? No one else responded in the neighborhood. Is that resignation? Or understanding and tolerance? Moral fading begins somewhere; when do you have to start correcting that? And what about that group behavior? I bet that the group felt strong enough to cross the border of accepted behavior. A few would not have ventured here. In the background there is also the acquisition of a better position in the group, more prestige by showing more courage, leadership in unusual activities. In themselves, these are very normal learning processes. Hopefully, sooner or later there also will be a bit of social awareness, that you do not live on this world alone, and that you also depend on the tolerance of others to be who you are!