We have a very special holiday coming up — the Fourth of July.
It will be a great time to spend time with family and friends, maybe go boating or cook out — all while hopefully thinking about and appreciating everything that makes the United States of America so special.
Without a doubt, there will be some who celebrate with fireworks and some who will celebrate with some alcohol.
Either one can produce horrible results if used irresponsibly, and almost certainly if they are used together. There’s always “that guy.”
My hope is that everyone will use some common sense when they celebrate.
Do not let children handle fireworks. Be considerate of your neighbors. Remember that many people and pets have a hard time dealing with loud noises created by fireworks.
For example, people who suffer from PTSD or autism may suffer high levels of stress from nearby fireworks. Plus, there are many people who need to get up early in the morning, and loud explosions at one o’clock in the morning are not conducive to getting a good night’s rest.
No celebratory gun fire — bullets that go up, will come down.
If you’re drinking, don’t be driving.
Not in a car, a boat, a bicycle, a lawnmower, skateboard, or horse. Don’t do it. Deputies will be out looking for those who can’t abide, and I’m pretty sure the city police departments and Florida Highway Patrol will be out and about as well.
Stay safe — and don’t be “that guy” on the 4th of July.
Grady Judd is the Sheriff of Polk County. Learn more about Judd and the Polk County Sheriff's Office at polksheriff.org.