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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Senseless Death of Christopher Bizilj

I'm sure this entry is going to make a few of my conservative friends upset with me, and you know what - I'm perfectly fine with that.  Readers know that I don't take my marching orders from GOP Headquarters, nor do I drink the cool-aid that they force their operatives to drink before addressing the masses.  There is such a thing as free-thought, and I personally believe that if more people from both political parties practiced it more often, they'd appear less partisan and more intelligent than they generally do - particularly when it comes to a tragedy like the one that happened to poor 8-year old Christopher Bizilj.

Was it necessary?

When I watch this story I get sick to my stomach.  Any story about a parent's loss of a child is heart-wrenching.  You'd have to be a robot not to be moved by the sheer sadness. But this story is even more sickening than usual.  Eight year old Christopher, with so much to live for, was taken from this life under the most ridiculous of circumstances - by accidentally shooting himself in the head with a machine gun with his father by his side.  Yeah, that's right -  shooting himself in the head with a machine gun.

And so you know, I understand the whole second amendment thing, and in principle I strongly support it.  I really do.  And I think the left is wrong in their attempt to paint the second amendment as a decision made at a point in time, for a point in time.   It's true that The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were drafted in the 18th Century when war between European Nations was regular and commonplace.  And that tyrannical sovereigns used might to suppress their people.  So the inclusion of the right that ordinary citizens could keep and bear arms was far more than just a provision to allow local militia to defend territorial boundaries, it was (and still is) about a landmark principle to ensure responsible empowerment and individual liberty which is quite unique to America even today.

Had the forefather's desire for citizens to keep and bear arms been merely a temporary measure established to keep militia ready in the event of a British or Spanish incursion, or to keep Indians from raiding villages and towns, then it most certainly wouldn't have been made a permanent part of the Constitution via the Bill of Rights.  And if you think about it - not only was it important enough to be included, but it was deemed the second most important right for consideration by its drafters.

Today, the reason to own a gun is probably more justifiable than it was 200 or even 100 years ago.  Doubt me?  Open the newspaper and read about how many people in the last year alone were robbed, shot, murdered, kidnapped, raped, or dealt with home invasion and/or even worse crimes.   And the problems aren't isolated to just the bowels of our poorest cities, but they occur in white-upper middle class suburbia as well.  

Obviously it's not 1776, or 1812, 1863, or even 1941, so the threat from abroad, or from neighboring states is not likely.  But the threat from down the street by our own neighbors is more likely now than at any time in our Nation's history.  And the multitude of villains of today are heartless, machine-like, soulless creatures who don't value life the same way that, for the most part, Civil War era or 1920s-depression era thugs did.  Back then, even criminals had their limits.  So owning a gun for self-protection for oneself, one's family, or in defense of one's home is perfectly reasonable in most people's eyes.

Now, I know that a lot of people say they own a gun today because they are afraid of our Government.  Personally, I think its a rather foolish reason to go out and purchase a gun, and a damn foolish reason to tell others that it's why you own a gun.  For those people, I have a nod and and a smile, and hope that if I ever have to drive up their driveway for any reason that not mistaken for a G-man who's come to do them harm.

And there are other advocates for gun rights, like those folks who engage in the sport of hunting.  I suspect that a great majority of gun owners are likely licensed sportsmen, who purchase rifles designed for this purpose, and who seek to put the trophy stuffed deer-head above their fireplace for all to gaze at.  For the record, I'm not in favor of hunting animals for sport (although I do fish - sometimes for a good meal, and sometimes for sport via catch and release - However to be clear, I do not catch fish and gut them for fun, so there is a contrast to be made between hunters and fisherman).   And hunters generally do not practice catch and release.

Then there are gun aficionados or collectors who tend to buy at will, through the mail and at gun shows, who often own an arsenal of guns for the sake of having or displaying them, or taking them to the firing range to shoot them.  I guess some of these folks are a mixed bag.   The desire to own dozens of handguns, or automatic weapons seems a bit odd, at least to me.  The thrill of going to the shooting range to fire glocks, lugers, semi-automatic and automatic weapons is strange - which may be because some of these types of weapons are used by police or military personnel, or are used by villains to commit heinous acts.  There is a points where I feel I have to question the need for individuals to own a machine gun with boxes of ammo. 

I don't feel better knowing that there is some counterbalance between Hartford Armory owning machine guns and Fred down the street owning one.  Something tells me that if the Government is coming to get Fred, he's going to take a stand, that he'll be greatly outnumbered and its not going to be much of a shoot-out.  Again, so I'm clear, I'm not saying that Fred shouldn't own the machine gun, but the rationale - if its self-defense against the Government, isn't a winner in my book.

I don't know the background for why Dr. Charles Bizilj of Ashford, Connecticut took his young son Christopher Bizilj up to the Massachusetts Gun Expo in 2008.  Or why he insisted on having his child fire an 8 mm Micro Uzi - which fires 20 rounds per second.  Or why a then-15 year old Michael Spano was placed "in charge" of allowing expo-goers to practice firing such a dangerous weapon. 

And as I watched the news footage of the trial where jurors are being forced to listen to crafted testimony, and watch the horrific video to determine percentage of fault and blame, I couldn't help wonder if the real accountability didn't lie with Dr. Bizilj.  And the more I thought about it, the more incensed I became.  Could Dr. Bizilj have found some other hobby to introduce his child to?  Could he have helped his child manage the weapon?  Would the child still be alive if he demonstrated parental judgment that made a shred of sense?

You see, folks - it's not the Second Amendment that is to blame, or the 15 year old kid acting as supervisor, or the Expo President, or the Expo, or even the NRA people.  No!  It's a father who didn't have enough common sense to take his boy to a ball game instead of over to the Expo to fire off an Uzi for the thrill of it.

Well, now the thrill is gone.  And so is poor Christopher.  

So while the world is immersed in the strategies of attorney's artful trickery, and the activists from both sides of the gun ownership debate lob bombs at each other, we are left with the solemn reality that Christopher Biijl isn't coming back.  And this whole damned thing could have been avoided.

This original blog post can be found at

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