Monday, October 27, 2008

Tragedy at Massachusetts Machine Gun Shoot

I think machine gun shoots are pathetic events. Basically, it’s a bunch of guys who get together and blow things up. They are drawn by the chance to shoot a variety of fully automatic weapons at targets like cars (probably some sort of road rage release) and other things that look “cool” when they get shot and blow up. While these gatherings strike me as both sad and silly I understand that they are legal and that there are men who get a thrill from the destructive power of firearms. These events will, no doubt, continue to take place across this county.

This past weekend the Westfield Sportsman’s Club held a machine gun shoot. The event was billed as “Cocked, Locked, and Ready to Rock” and promised targets that included vehicles, pumpkins and “other fun stuff.” Children under 16 were admitted for free and there was no age limit or license required to shoot a machine gun.

A tragedy occurred when an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head. The boy was allowed to shoot a fully automatic Uzi machine gun and according to the police statement “the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury.” The child died at the Springfield hospital.

The average 8-year-old stands just a little over four feet tall and weighs a scant 55 pounds. Even with two hands such a child would not have enough strength to control the recoil of an Uzi. While it’s one thing for grown men to get their jollies off shooting big, bad guns, it’s quite another thing to give a fully automatic machine gun to an 8-year-old. That is just irresponsible.

I hope that organizers of these pitiful events take a long hard look at what happened in Massachusetts and stop the foolish, immature, and reckless practice of allowing children to participate in machine gun shoots. If the adults at these events can’t exercise some common sense then policy makers should consider intervention. Next time the guys want to get together and blow things up they would do best to leave the kids at home.