Other the last few days the article about the young girl who shot her instructor in the head, by accident, with a fully automatic Uzi has been broadcast around the world, and I must admit Im rather dumbstruck by this. I will be the first one to admit that Im am fully capable with most rifles and handguns, although I stay away from anything that is too high powered de to an old shoulder injury. But I certainly did not become comfortable with using a gun by being given a fully automatic rifle at the age of 9. After a bit of research I found out that this is not the first time in the USA that this has happened. In 2008 Massachusetts 8-year-old boy, Christopher Bizilj, who lost control of an Uzi back in 2008 and shot himself in the head. The boy was simply too small to control the little sub gun’s full-auto muzzle climb.
In my opinion this was not the children’s fault, and to an extent it was also not the fault of the instructor. In my eyes this is down to the parents. Now before anyone gets upset, take a deep breath and think about this. I grew up on a farm in South Africa, where guns are a part of every day life but we where not just handed a gun and told to fend for ourselves, we graduated from caliber to caliber. At about 8 or 9 (yes other were younger) we were taught how to shoot, by my dad or mom, with an airgun or a pellet gun as we call it. And we were allowed to shoot birds and vermin. If we were lucky, we were allowed to go on hunting trips with my dad,, but it was more of an observational trip than anything else. We then graduated, once my parents where happy with our ability to look after the pellet gun, to being able to shoot with a single shot .22 and it was always in the presence of an adult.
As I grew older I was introduced to other rifles and I became comfortable with using them but I had a healthy respect for the consequences and the damages that a gun can cause. After meeting my hubby I was introduced to his .308 Mannlicher rifle that once belong to the Lesotho king Metsing Lekhanya and that is now my preference. But how does any parent allow their 9 year old daughter to handle such a powerful rifle. Many are also saying that the instructor should also be held responsible, not with standing the fact that he is dead, and that he should have opposed the parents consent. But have you ever seen how some parents react when they are told no, especially when their are told no when they have already said yes to their child? That little girl should not have even been given the opportunity to think about firing that rifle let along be pulling that trigger.
Now lets consider the psychological effects that this incident is going to have on this girl and her family. She killed someone, he died, yes it was an accident and yes it was not her fault but a man in still dead and that thought is going to haunt this girl and, hopefully, her parents for the rest of their lives and I hope that it will give them (and anyone else) a reason to pause and consider the consequences next time they decide to allow a child to handle a fully automatic weapon!