TRACY, Calif. — A pair of military heroes are leading the effort to stop their neighbors from lighting fireworks, sources say.
"You know, we went over there and did awesome operator things for your freedom, but we just want to ask that you respect our sacrifice by not exercising that freedom," said former Army Sgt. Joshua Taylor. "And if you do, you're a disrespectful little shit."
Taylor's best friend Matt Zimmerman echoed his thoughts.
"It's really hard, you know," he told a group of neighbors. "I went to war, which I talk about and miss every single day because of all the cool shit I did, but I hate it that for one single day back home, other people remind me about it."
According to sources, Taylor and Zimmerman recently went to a local town hall dressed to impress, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like "kNOw guns kNOw peace" and "Don't tread on me" to let people know they served, before making an impassioned plea to the locals: Please stop making loud, scary noises.
The request seems to have resonated with locals, according to some residents.
"I never really thought about it that way before," said one town hall attendee. "It's bad enough these guys have a disability rating from the VA for hearing loss. That was the first thing they told me, and I could never deal with that every day."
Before leaving, the two friends reminded the crowd that the state of California prohibits use of all aerial fireworks and high explosives except by licensed pyrotechnic operators. If neighbors can't even follow the law, Taylor said, they risk "running afoul of our locked and loaded AR-15s."
"We're itching to pull those babies out," said Taylor. "We miss war every damn day. It would be a shame if we accidentally thought there were terrorists out in the streets."