New Year Firecrackers and Stray Bullets

Having lived in Davao City for some seven years back in 2001-2007, I got used to new years without firecrackers. Former city mayor Rody Duterte totally prohibited its use during new year celebrations. And I think most city folks agree with it.

There is also a city ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places except in some few designated areas. If you’re flying to Davao City, flight attendants would normally warn smokers of the city-wide smoking ban lest they end up in jail while visiting Davao. While some daring, unruly city folks may break this rule once in a while, these two city-wide ordinances are generally accepted by the Davao city dwellers.

Nationwide Firecracker Casualties Yearly

What really is so perplexing to me is this: Despite the all out campaign nationwide by the Health Department along with the police authorities, there is always a lot of casualties—lost limbs blown away, bloodied faces and deaths—every year nationwide caused by both legal and illegal firecrackers. Why is it that so many of our countrymen continue to buy firecrackers in huge numbers? Some even buy illegal firecrackers filling up their cars with dangerous explosives!

The usual reason I hear for all these is “for fun” and also, “for luck.” Nothing wrong with having fun but people traditionally want to make noise every new year to kick the evil spirits out, to scare them away, this is the usual reason I hear. And this is the belief of many, I would suppose. The reason behind this tradition is something that I cannot agree with totally—at least to me. Could this be a wrong foundational belief leading to wrong practices? Faith and practice go together.

I don’t mind welcoming the new year. It’s good to be optimistic and hopeful as we face another year. Hopeful for a bright new year, a new beginning, a new start, leaving the past behind. But the casualties—that’s another story.

Some sectors in society have been strongly urging the government to take stronger measures to end the yearly casualties. Is a total ban possible nationwide? That’s going to be quite an explosive issue!

Stray Bullets from Wicked Men

What boggles my mind is this: why do people who own firearms—despite the total ban!—continue to fire their guns every new year? Have they forgotten that what goes up, eventually comes down? To date, there are 20 casualties hit by stray bullets. Many of the casualties have been accidentally hit while inside their homes! Bullets came through the roof and through the ceiling. What kind of a mind can do this?

Truly the mind of man is desperately wicked. “Who can understand it?” asked Jeremiah (Jer. 17:9).

  • “Change my heart oh God, Make it ever true, Change my heart oh God, May I be like You.”

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