As the world around us becomes undeniably stranger, there are no shortage of conspiracy theories popping up, hoping to pigeonhole the oddball antics of 2020 into something that makes sense….at least a little bit.
It’s easy to see why conspiracy theories are so prevalent today: We are in the middle a global pandemic, we were just threatened with “murder hornets”, the nation appears poised to re-settle the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement all at once, and World War III feels like it’s just a few minutes away.
Oh, and then there’s the fireworks.
An annual summer staple in the United States — on par with popsicles and unfortunate sunburns — are fireworks. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, fireworks can often be heard echoing throughout urban neighborhoods around the country. However, in the last few weeks, those echoes have become roars, with fireworks having become an unexpected all-night occurrence, spanning cities from New York to Los Angeles to Chicago, and starting at dusk and going into the early hours of the morning. In a time when tensions are running high, both because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and weeks of protests against systemic racism and police brutality, the proliferation of fireworks has left many people searching the Internet for answers.
Oddly, the fireworks appear to be professional in nature, meaning that a license would be needed to purchase them. This makes their ubiquitous nature all the more mysterious.
Can anyone explain why we’re getting Macy’s 4th of July level fireworks every night in NYC for the past 3 weeks now? Asking for a friend. It’s been nonstop from 8pm-3am in all 5 boroughs. #nycfireworks #fireworks #fireworksnyc pic.twitter.com/uPj5BOckgw
— PolitiKiss1600💋🥁 (@PolitiKiss1600) June 22, 2020
The theories as to what’s “really going on” with these festive displays are simply bizarre.
One current popular conspiracy theory about the fireworks started cropping up after videos appeared showing New York police officers and firemen setting off fireworks. This led to people speculating on social media that the fireworks had become so ubiquitous as a way to justify why cities need enormous police department budgets.
A second explanation trending online is that the fireworks are a form of psychological warfare used by police to keep residents sleep-deprived and on edge and therefore unable to effectively organize or protest. Both of these theories can, at least in part, be attributed to the fact that tensions between law enforcement and the people are at an all-time high.
Experts believe that this is a case in which the amount of conspiracy theorists have increased dramatically, not the fireworks, stating that these sorts of hypotheses have a tendency to flourish during times of cultural chaos and unrest.
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