From today’s New York Times…

Gun Fair Organizer Acquitted in Boy’s Uzi Death
Published: January 14, 2011

Filed at 3:20 p.m. EST

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts jury acquitted a gun fair organizer of manslaughter in the 2008 death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun.

A Hampden Superior Court jury found former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury not guilty on Friday of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Christopher Bizilj (buh-SEEL’) of Ashford, Conn. The charge carried up to 20 years on prison.

Fleury was also cleared of three charges of furnishing machine guns to minors.

Prosecutor William Bennett told the jury that Fleury was criminally reckless in running the event because he allowed children to illegally shoot machine guns under the supervision of a firing range officer who was 15 at the time and didn’t have a firearms license or certification.

Fleury’s lawyer, Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, denied the allegations and blamed the boy’s father, emergency room Dr. Charles Bizilj, for allowing Christopher and his then-11-year-old brother Colin to shoot such a dangerous weapon. Scapicchio noted that Charles Bizilj signed a waiver at the expo acknowledging the risks, including death, and absolving anyone of liability if something bad happened.

I’m wondering what reasoning the jury used? How a chief of police organized such an event with so little eye to safety? How the father will live the rest of his life? How adults are rushing to blame each other? Whether the public will consider the adults in this situation to be as innocent as they regard themselves?

22 thoughts on “Innocent

  1. Good decision.Why wasn’t the father on trial?He’s a doctor-emergencyroom specialist no less.What was he thinking about?
    It’s crazy to let a small kid fire a full auto SMG.
    My father took me shooting at age 10.It was a 22 rifle with virtually zero recoil and I got to kill some cans.Nowadays I kill paper targets and old bowling pins.
    I took my son and daughter shooting when they were adults.
    BTW,they dropped charges against state rep whose pistol discharged in his pocket,but he surrendered his carry permit.Good,because in 46 years of carrying handguns,I’ve never had one discharge in a pocket.I don’t know how one manages that.
    I know a cop it “happened” to and penetrated his hand.I never bought that story for a minute.
    Bizarre story:When I was assigned to Chicago,a female undercover cop and a female informant went to an apartment to buy drugs and the dealer pulled a ripoff and locked them in with a burglar gate.A struggle ensued and the cop’s backup team came down the hall and observed the dealer had disarmed the undercover cop and had a gun pointed at her.One of the backups fired at the perp through the gate and hit him,but the round ricocheted off a bone and hit the undercover in the head,killing her.
    Sometimes,you can’t avoid the worst possible result.

  2. Maybe they should card and not admit anyone under 18 to these gun shows. Or maybe like Rocky Point, you must be this tall to ride.

    1. Not a bad idea-at least don’t allow them to do live fire.
      Experienced law enforcement personnel get shot in range accidents.It’s like any other piece of equipment that can be hazardous-use appropriate care and make sure people who use the equipment know how.

  3. “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Apparently not, because no “person” is found guilty for killing this child–no manslaughter conviction, nothing. So…I suppose it IS true that guns kill people. Wait. No. The NRA wants it both ways. Neither guns nor people kill people–or it’s only people who kill people…when it’s a convenient explanation. Every death as a result of guns must be an accident.

    1. That is a typically simplistic view,but it masks the unterior motive of demonizing gun owners.
      Negligence and criminality and madness kill people.
      The tool,whether,gun,knife,car,poison,blunt trauma,or whatever is just that.
      Morphine can cause a lot of misery or do a lot of good.HOW it’s used matters.
      This defendant may yet be found liable for non-criminal negligence,thought the father’s contributory negligence may negate that.
      Why can’t you just be honest and denigrate gun owners instead of taking a sneaky way around?

      1. No sneaky way around at all. The NRA has done that for decades now. Truly, they want it both ways. Guns don’t kill people, people do. In this case…negligent homicide? Criminal homicide? No one’s guilty, so, apparently since the gun didn’t kill this poor child and people didn’t, then who or what did? Your logic, such as it is, is all the more “simplistic,” as you put it, because you assign adjectives and nouns that are descriptive of PEOPLE, yet you deny that people are responsible, really. I mean, the father’s responsible and the defendant’s contributory negligence negate each other’s? Wow. So, my point exactly. No one’s held responsible for something that should be seen as more than just a tragedy or an accident…something criminal. Your logic and lack of cohesive argument is void of insight and masks a lack of compassion on your part, since you seem to be apologizing for the gun industry–toeing their line. As for guns versus knives or baseball bats or just plain brute strength…well, put me in a room with someone who has a knife or just bare hands and let’s see who gets out. Put me in a room with someone who has a gun and, well, the chances are much, much greater that I get the short end of that deal.

  4. well, it’s because fatal accidents and intentional murders are so common that they don’t even make the front page. any attempt at sensible gun regulation is opposed by the NRA. the adults at this gun show seem to have been so hypnotized by the idea that guns make you safe, are manly, are American, that they didn’t even recognize that they were luring a little boy to his death. he trusted them. the grownups were not thinking straight.
    people who want to own a gun should be responsible and accountable. we should renew the assault weapons ban, so that it will be a little harder for the next would-be hero to get a weapon of mass destruction.

    1. You will not see the assault weapons ban rstored anytime soon,if ever.
      One problem was that the law’s framers didn’t seem to know what an “assault weapon” is.
      The only proposed firearms law I agree with is the requirement to have background checks at gun shows.It makes no sense to sell a firearm to someone without such a check.
      We had a neighbor once,a college professor,very liberal,but a pretty nice guy.One day when our sons were very youn(8 or 9)he was watching them play with something on the porch.I walked over and it was an unshielded electric motor.I asked him if he normally sat on his brains because either or both of them could have been electocuted.If that had happened,would he be more or less of a criminal than the range supervisor?
      Really,I don’t think there was any justification for the boy to fire a submachinegun.
      I normally don’t feel a need for a high capacity weapon now that I’m retired.But I don’t like to decide rules for other people in this regard.

  5. Hello ninjanurse,

    From the US Constitution
    Amendment II—>>

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    a. Was Jared Loughner in the Arizona Militia or National Guard? If not, how could he buy a hand gun?
    a.1 Didn’t Jared Loughner fail a drug test trying to enlist in one of the branches of the armed forces of the United States?

    b. The UZI trial….What can you say?
    The father will never overcome the weight of his own complicity. He is punished for life.
    The Police Chief’s exoneration is laughable. Loaded machine guns in a less than controlled setting and he bears no culpability? Please! Were the kids in the Massachusetts Militia?
    In a well regulated militia such as my old alma mater, the United States Marine Corps, the Police Chief would have received a letter of reprimand at the very least. Probably a Courts Martial would have been convened to review said incident. But, I can assure you Police Chief Fleury would not have fared as well in the Marines as he did in the Massachusetts court.

    c. Regarding the drug bust gone bad….
    Wouldn’t have happened if drugs were legal. When did America become the safe harbor for irrationality?


  6. James A-i managed to spend 27 years in law enforcement,over 20 on the street without shooting anyone.I was assaulted with vehicles,firearms(fortunately the perpetrator didn’t get a round off),a linoleum cutter,feet,a club,a machete(more than once),a toxic chemical,a apir of scissors,and some other goodies.
    You don’t know jacksh*t about me and you go off on how I have no compassion.
    The last thing I wanted to do was kill someone.i put a number of people in the hospital.
    Nowadays I’m much older and physically inacapacitated and I don’t plan letting someone who just got out of prison all nice and buffed assault me or my wife and get away with it.I will not hesitate to do whatever I have to.
    You don’t know how I’ve treated people who needed help,so why don’t you grow a brain before you make stupid judgement calls on me.
    And,by the way,I’m incapacitated due to complications of diseases caused by Agent Orange I was exposed to in Vietnam in 1968-69.
    I could say something really miserable,but it’s not my blog.
    My point about the contributory negligence,etc. isn’t what I necessarily believe,but about what happens in the real world of law.
    I think the father should have been charged criminally.I think I said that earlier,but in your rush to dump on me you kind of ignored what I was saying.
    BTW one night on Milk St,an individual got ahold of my partner’s gun and had it pointed it at me,but he couldn’t shoot ebcause the safety was on-I had my gun drawn and instead of shooting him Ijumped him and fractured his skull with my weapon.
    Maybe you think you could have done it better tough guy,but have you ever faced that situation/or a 16 year old panicked kid working in a drug house swinging a machete who another officer and myself disarmed and muckled instead of killing him.
    Learn who you’re speaking with before going off.

  7. Ellis-the “militia’argument is passe.It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.
    You reaad it one way and I another-no point in trying to convince.
    I amy not like some Suprewe Court decisions,but I know I have to live with them or we have chaos.
    Drugs(ther than marijuana)should be legal?
    I don’t know about you,but I don’t think allowing people to just walk in to a store and buy opiates or angel dust or meth makes much sense.The stuff ruins lives.
    I spent nine years working narcotics at street level and it was futile-the “war on drugs’ was bullsh*t,but I don’t have a good answer.
    I’ve had the full tour of opiates in hospitalsthey’re good for pain,but really mess you up otherwise.
    I cannot think of a legitimate use for meth,dust,LSD,or Ecstasy.
    Demand drives the drug tsunami,plain and simple.If I knew what would work,I probably wouldn’t be on this blog arguing with people who think I am an a**hole.

    1. Hello observer,

      Please post the reference that supports your statement: “….the militia argument is pass`e. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.”

      Drugs being legalized in no way envisages or is predictive of the scenario you describe. That’s bull…..

      Alcohol is legal; what’s the problem with drugs?

      Prohibition made the Mafia a national organization. In 1975, the late Pablo Escobar, was a local phenomenon; 1985 he was estimated to be the eighth richest man in the world. (Newsweek, Time and US News and World Report: one of these weeklies mentioned that piece of trivia.

      Do you really want to put that much money into the hands of the Escobar’s of the world?

      A national commitment to personal responsibility rather than focusing on drug use would probably be a more reasonable course-at least one that should be open for debate.

      The goal of drug use is to get high, hallucinate, feel good, get to know your anxiety potential better, etc. etc. But that is a personal matter not one for national legislation.

      What’s the goal of drinking: play a better game of chess? write a great little droid app?; make your date better looking?

      Did you ever wonder why some women drink so much on a date?
      Look at their date-alcohol works both ways.

      Some friendly counter observations.


      1. The easy question first-the Heller decision separated the notion of private firearms ownership from serving in a militia.
        The McDonald decision incorporated the 2nd amendment against the states,taking in the Heller decision.
        now,as to drugs.marijuana is something i believe is no more of a problem than alcohol.If it’s legalized,big deal.People don’t have fatal overdoses on marijuana.
        I have had stuff like dilaudid in the VA Hospital after surgery,including once when my trigeminal nerve was temporarily damaged-it’s extremely potent stuff-the overdose threshold is razor thin,same with fentanyl.
        I just don’t think those are recreational drugs.Angel dust is somethig no one should take.People die from alcohol overdoses,and alcohol is probably abused morer than any other substance.
        I’m not some moralist or preacher here,but some drugs are way too dangerous to just let people use as they see fit.
        a few years ago they put meon Plavix for two years.You can’t get high from it,but it’s a dangerous drug-should it be available over the counter?
        I never found that I did anything better when I drank,but sometimes I thought I did.Big difference.
        As I said,having been in the trenches of the “war on drugs”I have no answer.
        One thing I’d like to see is a revision of RI laws so someone doesn’t get a felony beef for ANY amount of a drug other than marijuana.
        Having a felony conviction limits your life right off the bat and lessens the motivation to deal effectively with one’s problem.
        NY has at least two levels of misdemeanor violations for possession of”hard’drugs.We oughtta think about it in RI,but no one has ever submitted such a bill.
        And seriously,no-we shouldn’t be enriching the Escobars or whoever is running things now.
        I basically try not to think too much about the drug issue.

  8. Hello Observer,

    See anything interesting today?
    Thanks for the refs. I’ll comment later after a peruse or two.

    Regarding the decriminalization of drugs: I don’t want to leave the impression we turn on a dime and wham! drugs are legal. The decriminalization of drugs would require much thought on the part of the citizens of the United States both nationally and locally.

    Legalizing drugs without making the individual aware of their responsibilities regarding the changed landscape would be reckless.

    Too, the plethora of drugs would need to be sorted, classified, with both the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic, properties elucidated for a ninth grade reading level. (US reading level last I heard.)

    BTW, pharmacodynamic: what the drug does to the body. (includes the mind)
    pharmacokinetic: what the body does to the drug. (includes metabolism, excretion, areas in the body where a drug can accumulate, etc.)

    I am an RN, since 1978, and was a CRNA from 1986 – 2008. I know of fentanyl and the like and you are correct about the margins separating salubrious benefits from harmful benefits.

    We use to say what’s the difference regarding a poison and a cure? The dose.

    Additionally, after my tour with the Marines, I was active during the Age of Psychedelics.

    Those who would use drugs would be held accountable for their actions while ‘high’ for lack of a better word.

    But no way should we legalize drugs without some kind of national referendum. The legalization could be like the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution, or whatever is decided. Even before that however, we must start educating people about drugs (includes alcohol), drug effects, and most importantly: personal responsibility. Then everyone would, at least, have a chance to cast an educated vote.


    1. 9th grade!?That is really f**ked up.
      I graduated an inner city multiracial HS in 1963 in Brooklyn and NO ONE was illiterate in my graduating class.Most people read at or above grade level.
      Most all of the students,Black,White,and the few Hispanics came from two parent homes-we had some upper middle class kids,some blue collar tenement kids(me)and some kids from the projects.
      It wasn’t Providence Country Day-we had gangs,police assigned full time,and a lot of fights,but we didn’t turn out a collection of losers either.

  9. ellis-I had some intensive drug training centering on Schedule 1 &2 stuff at Quantico in 1988 and again in 1990 when I was re-assigned to a Federal/Local drug task force from my normal duties as an INS agent.It sayed with me.
    Now,as far as this whole discussion of guns.etc. I have this questin for you,ninjanurse,and James A:the whole issue of what causes the problems of gun violence and accidents-the behavior of people or the guns themselves,consider that Vermont has NO laws regarding ownership or carry of firearms.They rely on Federal law(which,except for retired LE personnal doesn’t address concealed carry)and Vermont has very few gun crimes.New Hampshire and maine have very minimal gun laws and carry permits are easy to obtain-again,little gun violence.Community environment sems to have a great deal to do with it.
    Illinois,Maryland,New Jersey,and New York have draconian gunlaws and they have a hell of a lot of gun violence.
    So I think it’s people acting out in antisocial ways that causes the problem.
    Israel and Switzerland are other examples.Everyone is armed and there not much gun violence.
    Obviously,I’m not including the Palestinian/jewish conflict in this-that is not a matter of routine criminality.
    So,I’m not basing my opinion on NRA slogans.I don’t much care for slogans at all-they allow one to avoid thinking.

  10. Hello there observer,

    I think I’m getting a hand gun for my end-of-the-month birthday. (drat! already 63). I think its a Glock. I would prefer a Beretta, but I’m not buying.

    What if Jared Loughner had only been able to purchase a muzzle loader or bolt-action type rifle? How many would have died?
    The toll last I heard was six dead and 13 wounded.

    Remember Virginia Tech? April 16, 2007, 32 killed and 17 wounded before the assailant, Seung Hui Cho, committed suicide.

    Therein lies the rub: a mentally unstable person can purchase a top-of-the-line automatic or rifle. He can wreak havoc until he runs out of ammo, tries to reload, or kills himself.

    I would like to see a couple of more options added to running out of ammo, reloading, and suicide.


  11. I hate Glocks.More cops shoot themselves accidentally with Glocks than any other type of weapon.
    I prefer a revolver or a single action auto-if you take the time to become proficient with a single action,it’s really safe.The first pistol I ever fired was a 1911 at Parris Island in 1965(I was a reservist-later on served 4 years active in the Air Force).
    The high capacity issue is a serious one,but a skilled shooter can deliver an amazing number of rounds on target fast with 10 or even 7 round mags.
    I have a 45ACP revolver that uses moonclips and I can outshoot a person with a 1911 in a plate match because I can reload the moonclips(6 rounds)faster than he can reload a mag and release the takes some practice.
    The sad fact in Tucson is the failure of anyone who was in contact with this person to make a definitive move.It wasn’t just one person that he made very nervous.
    I worked with a guy who had some really bad PTSD from Vietnam and he was a scary dude-I always tried not to get assigned with him.He finally left the agency.
    He could converse with an empty telephone for an hour.My bad luck was that I was one of the few agents he “liked” to work with and trusted-I got really creeped out by the stuff he would tell me-he was completely out of his mind and he was a Federal agent.
    It turned out later on he supposedly had Claymore mines on his property,but they never were able to make a case against him.
    I don’t think Claymores are covered by the Heller decision.

      1. I had a partner who was severely injured on the job and they put him out on disability and he became a nurse-anesthetist,but I never knew the shorthand designation.
        They use them at the VA and they’re very good.
        Life being strange,my former partner,after 12 years retired decided he was better and came back on the job after much effort and took a pretty tough assignment and eventually retired on conventional terms.
        I always tell him he musta been sampling the goodies to came back like that.LOL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s