Indicator: Too Broke For Firecrackers : Planet Money A listener reports a peaceful Fourth of July.
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Indicator: Too Broke For Firecrackers

Up like a rocket in Cayucos, Calif. Kevin Cole hide caption

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Kevin Cole

Anybody else notice a strange quiet on American streets over the holiday weekend? Hoover Pendleton writes from Portand, Ore., that the recession has resulted in "people setting less stuff on fire":

Every year (first with our skittish dog and now with our early-to-bed toddler) the 4th of July has been kind of a nightmare for us, as every kid (defined loosely as anyone under 15, and any male under the age of ~57) in the City spends three days or so setting a match to anything and everything in the hopes that it will make some kind of large exploding sound. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th have always been the worst, with fireworks going off until the wee hours of the morning for three consecutive days.

But this year was different.

The 3rd (even though it was a Friday) came and went as simply another day. The 4th erupted with its usual bang (except in Vancouver, Washington, where they canceled their regionally-famous fireworks display - citing fiscal woes), but didn't seem to drag on as long. And the 5th was all quiet on the Northwestern front. I mentioned this to my co-workers this morning (7/6), and they all agreed. Even though they hail from different neighborhoods scattered throughout Portland, they all reported quieter, more sane holiday weekends this year. And a good friend of mine who is an EMT (and who was on-duty over the weekend), said that his last few days have been "surprisingly mellow."

Our collective theory, of course, is that, like the City of Vancouver, individuals and families have been feeling the pinch, and therefore not buying as much ammunition, er, fireworks this year. Stated in simpler terms, economic meltodown = relative peace and quiet.