July 4 is a week away, but there have been countless fireworks celebrations going on for weeks. Across the US, people are taking to social media to question if they’re just imagining the nightly sound-off of fireworks in their neighborhoods. People are even using conspiracy theories to explain the phenomenon, and some folks are taking them seriously.
Sudden Fireworks All the Time outbreaks seem to be happening everywhere but the media won’t talk about it. And I think that’s because everyone deep down knows the truth about who’s setting them off: The evil clowns from 2016. https://t.co/uoJzfg5pvG— Ben Mathis-Lilley (@BenMathisLilley) June 17, 2020
The largest conspiracy theory present on social media is that the onslaught of fireworks is part of a government operation. Buzzfeed News highlighted the theory, explaining that people believe police are setting off the fireworks. They believe this is to “destabilize communities of color or to target the Black Lives Matter movement.”
A video surfaced of New York firefighters setting off fireworks at a Brooklyn station and added fuel to the conspiracy. The FDNY is currently investigating the incident.
People are using the term “boompilled” to refer to people who are convinced of the government’s involvement in fireworks. It’s a nod to the term “redpilled,” which is used to describe someone who has rejected liberalism to accept extreme right-wing or misogynist views.
Despite the trendy conspiracy, there’s an even more likely explanation to the fireworks — the coronavirus pandemic.
The Likely Cause
Buzzfeed News reports that industry experts said the increase is likely due to post-lockdown restlessness and a spike in fireworks sales. According to a statement by the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), sales are “off to a record-breaking start.”
With more people celebrating at home, more people are expected to put on their own fireworks show.
Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an illegal fireworks task force after increased fireworks activity. The team of more than 40 law enforcement officers will conduct undercover buys and sting operations to target people selling fireworks in NYC.