The Great American Pumpkin Shoot: Eight-Year-Old In Massachusetts Shoots Himself in the Head with Fully Automatic Uzi

An 8-year-old boy, Christopher Bizilj (Bah-SEAL) of Ashford, Conn., died after he accidentally shot himself in the head at a gun club during the annual “Great New England Pumpkin Shoot”, which features automatic weapons. It appears that organizers (or the boy’s parents) see no problem is handing an eight-year-old a fully loaded, fully automatic Uzi. At a minimum, one would think that an adult would hold or secure the weapon when a young boy was pulling the trigger on a submachine gun (shown to the left).

The terrible accident occurred at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club. Police reported that “witnesses state that he was shooting the weapon down range when the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury.”

Obviously, this would be a good case for liability except for the fact that the father was present and likely signed waivers as a participant.

For the full story, click here and here.

22 thoughts on “The Great American Pumpkin Shoot: Eight-Year-Old In Massachusetts Shoots Himself in the Head with Fully Automatic Uzi”

  1. mespo,

    No. They failed the parental prime directive. I’ll not argue that.

  2. Buddah:

    While I feel something for the parents –and I’m not sure what — my compassion is reserved for a young life needlessly snuffed out by the carelessness of those charged with protecting him. Can you think of a higher duty these parents had than this one that was
    so miserably unfulfilled?

  3. The message of this is not anti-gun per se. It is anti-gun stupidity. I’m no expert, but I have done target practice and I know from reading that an automatic weapon, like an Uzi is hard to control. This gun club presumably was run by knowledgeable people, who should have understood that even many gun wise adults might have trouble firing an Uzi. Mespo & FFLEO make excellent points about gun safety. Look, I reiterate that I can understand the feeling for their sport of real hunters (not caged birds like our VP), target shooters and even those who feel the need for personal protection. Staging a pumpkin shooting event, with Uzi’s, is not about serious gun ownership, but is an example of priapic, immature excess.

    A wise and deep comment.

  4. The Westfield article with blog comments I provided has one observer describing the eventas a ‘shitstorm’. I wasn’t there, AND I believe it.

    And another blogger wrote there was a sign posted on the way in, apparently, warning participants that shooting these weapons is not like playing a computer game, even if your proficiency is really good
    – which, if accurate, suggests they knew they might potentially be inviting people who were essentially ‘clueless’…

    Ironically here, the boys father is director of emergency medicine at a local hospital near where the family lives in CT…

  5. I am a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment, a NRA Member, pro-hunting, I began hunting at 8-years-old and I have owned many styles of firearms throughout my life. However, these parents were negligent in allowing that youngster to use that advanced firearm.

    I certainly do not want the anti-gun folks to overreact in this case by blaming the firearm, but the parents are culpable in their son’s death through criminal negligence similar to if they gave him the keys to the car and let him drive down the highway and he then killed himself or others.

    I am also a father and there is no way my son would have used that firearm at any age.

  6. Mespo,
    I have only shot a gun once in my life and I can still remember the noise it made and how badly my shoulder hurt afterwards. It is sad that this poor child died without the safeguards that you grew up with.

  7. I began hunting at age 12 and never carried anything more dangerous than a single shot .410 shotgun. I finally got a 12 gauge at age 16 but by then had gone through two hunters safety classes and years of training from ultra-safety conscious adults who hunted with me. I still remember to keep my safety on until I sight the target and to point my shotgun and aim my rifle as I hold my breath. I also learned to see what I shoot, and make sure there is nothing down range since you can’t will the projectile back in the barrel. Sadly this little child never had the benefit or opportunity of these safeguards.

  8. It is truly amazing to me that any parent could allow their child to shoot such a deadly weapon. I feel for the parents in their gigantic loss, but I can’t deny my thinking that they could have and should have prevented this horrific accident.

  9. Mike,

    They won’t have much of a life after this. And they will have much suffering. The only thing a court could do is restrict their freedom of movement because they walk about in a prison of their own creation, prisoners in their own skin. Was it avoidable, negligent and irresponsible? Absolutely. That being said, I’m pretty sure they deserve a little compassion, if not understanding or approval. Their world was inverted in an instant and it will never be the same for them. Nothing any of us could say or suggest as punishment would compare is my guess.

  10. Forget the second amendment issue for a moment and riddle me this.
    How serious is any group of adults, who with and for children, hold an event shooting pumpkins and propane tanks with Uzi’s? As a non-shooter, who supports the 2nd amendment, it makes it very hard for me hold my position. Rodeo’s boring to me but have at it. Wrestling, so what. Monster Truck Rally’s I don’t get it but can’t begrudge your fun. Hunting, not my thing but I get the fascination for real hunters. Target shooting, I’ve done some myself and it was okay. Firing Uzi’s at pumpkins just seems as dumb as cheerleading.
    Bringing kids to the party is inexcusable. The horror of having done something so dumb and having your child killed is not criminal but how can one continue to have any kind of a life after it?

  11. Mespo, snap out of it…

    We’re talking about JT who is so risk-aversive, his wife fears
    they are raising proverbial ‘bubble babies’… 😉
    His words, not mine!

    I think most ‘gun people’ agree that children, age 8, should not
    be permitted to handle anything more powerful than a .22
    – period. Ever.

    They’re simply not physically strong enough or psychologically mature enough at that young age – even at an exhibition event like this with professionals all around.

    It’s too dangerous.

  12. JT:

    “The terrible thing is that I am sure that these are loving parents. As the father of four, I cannot imagine such a thing, but these cases often involve parents who are in every other respect caring and loving. It is simply baffling.”


    Sorry my friend but we part company here. Hard to believe anyone could think this was safe. For 2000 years we’ve lived by this little passage from the Christian Bible:

    “Or what man there among you would, if his child asked for a fish, would hand him a snake?” Matt 7:10

    Even a skeptic like me recognizes the wisdom in this philosophy.

  13. Oh I am sure the parents must feel absolutely terrible! I know I would if that was my child.

    I just feel that they felt their child could handle a little more gun than he should have.

    I’ve got two children of my own and gun safety is something we plan on teaching both of them. I would not allow them to handle such a large gun until they were at least teenagers.

    An eight yr old cannot possibly have the strength to handle that kind of power. My heart goes out to the parents and family

  14. Sally, JT,
    As a parent and grandparent the contemplation of what these parents must be feeling is unimaginable. It is painful to even explore mentally. That it was monumental stupidity goes without saying. To live with the knowledge that your action/inaction caused your child’s death seems unendurable.

  15. Sally:

    The terrible think is that I am sure that these are loving parents. As the father of four, I cannot imagine such a thing, but these cases often involve parents who are in every other respect caring and loving. It is simply baffling.


  16. Shame on the parents for being so ignorant. That’s a rather weapon to hand over to a child. What ever happend to good ol’ bb guns?

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