Friday, October 31, 2008
I am just stunned that something like this could happen! I really don't know what else to say.
Boy, 8, shoots himself to death at Mass. gun show
By SUSAN HAIGH – 4 days ago
WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — With an instructor watching, an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair aimed an Uzi at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera.
It was his first time shooting a fully automatic machine gun, and the recoil of the weapon was too much for him. He lost control and fatally shooting himself in the head.
Now gun safety experts — and some gun enthusiasts at the club where the shooting happened — are wondering why such a young child was allowed to fire a weapon used in war. Local, state and federal authorities are also investigating whether everyone involved had proper licenses or if anyone committed a criminal act.
"It's easy to lose control of a weapon like that ... they are used on a battleground for a very good reason," said Jerry Belair, a spokesman for Stop Handgun Violence, based in Newton, Mass. "It's to shoot as many times as you possibly can without having to reload at an enemy that's approaching. It's not a toy. It's not something to play with."
Police said Christopher Bizilj (Bah-SEAL) of Ashford, Conn., was pronounced dead at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., on Sunday afternoon, shortly after firing a 9mm micro Uzi submachine gun at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, co-sponsored by C.O.P. Firearms & Training.
"The weapon was loaded and ready to fire," Westfield police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. "The 8-year-old victim had the Uzi and as he was firing the weapon, the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head."
Nunez said the investigation is continuing.
Christopher, a third-grader, was attending the show with his father and sixth-grade brother, Colin. Christopher had fired handguns and rifles before, but Sunday was his first time firing an automatic weapon, said his father, Charles Bizilj.
Bizilj told the Boston Globe he was about 10 feet behind his son and reaching for his camera when the weapon fired. He said his family avoided the larger weapons, but he let his son try the Uzi because it's a small weapon with little recoil.
"This accident was truly a mystery to me," said Bizilj, director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. "This is a horrible event, a horrible travesty, and I really don't know why it happened."
Police are calling the shooting an accident but are investigating whether everyone connected with the incident had proper weapons permits. Massachusetts requires licenses to own firearms, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issues different licenses to possess machine guns.
The machine gun shoot drew hundreds of people from as far away as Maine and Virginia. An advertisement said it would include machine gun demonstrations and rentals and free handgun lessons.
"It's all legal & fun — No permits or licenses required!!!!" reads the ad, posted on the club's Web site.
"You will be accompanied to the firing line with a Certified Instructor to guide you. But You Are In Control — "FULL AUTO ROCK & ROLL," the ad said.
The ad also said children under 16 would be admitted free, and both adults and children were offered free .22-caliber pistol and rifle shooting.
Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. It is legal in Massachusetts for children to fire a weapon if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian and they are supervised by a properly certified and licensed instructor, Nunez said. The name of the instructor who was with the boy at the time was not released.
"We do not know at this time the full facts of this incident," Nunez said Monday.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Treasury working on aid for GM, Chrysler merger
By Karey Wutkowski Karey Wutkowski – 1 hr 24 mins ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is considering direct financial assistance to facilitate a possible merger between General Motors Corp (GM.N) and Chrysler LLC, a private sector source familiar with Treasury discussions told Reuters on Monday.
The Treasury Department is weighing aid of at least $5 billion, which could include capital injections and government purchases of bad auto loans, according to the source, a financial policy executive who spoke anonymously because the discussions are private.
Emergency financing, at least initially, most likely would be focused on GM and Chrysler and not Ford Motor Co (F.N), which is struggling but still better off financially than its U.S. rivals, the source said.
A Treasury decision could come this week, the source said.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported the Energy Department is working to release $5 billion in loans to GM to help it finance the merger. The money, according to the report citing a person familiar with the matter, would come from $25 billion in financing approved by Congress last month to help domestic manufacturers make more fuel efficient cars.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The first was at home this morning. I was just about ready to leave for work, the sky still not quite light with the morning, when I looked out the windows and spotted a flock of geese circling over Whiffen Spit. As I watched they rose higher in the air then appeared to be heading my way, gaining altitude to fly over the hill behind us and on to Victoria, so I surmised. WELL, as they got closer they went into landing mode and they were heading right for the house! I was not sure where they were landing because our yard slopes down a hill, away from the house, and there certainly is not any body of water on our property, something I thought attracted geese. I guess I was wrong because they landed in our lower yard, which grows wild with grasses and such, right next to our shed! I went to a side window, to get a better look, and sure enough, there they were, about 30 of them, just strutting about picking at the grasses and making some strange, cute sounding noises - noises that sounded way to delicate to eminate from a goose, which carry a bad reputation with me. After my initial amazement wore off I thought of how much comes out the other end of a goose, and that they were in an area frequented by us and the dog, so I decided they had to go. I went downstairs, turned on the outdoor light and opened the rear door from the garage. That was all it took and they were off in a flurry of wings and noise and back down to Whiffen Spit. Crisis and dirty shoes averted! My saving grace is that I saved a cute little lizard from certain death the day before as I moved it from in front of the garage door back to the garden, where it belongs.
Incident number two happened in the afternoon at work. My phone rang and I answered, as I usually do, and was greeted by the now quite familiar sounding friendly Canadian who announced that she had seen my blog, was from CBC Radio and wanted to ask me about how we handled the power outage that hit Vancouver Island on Sunday! I told our tale of woe, how we got cut off at The Spaghetti Factory, just as we were about to order, yet were cajoled with warm sour dough bread and tea & coffee. (how did they know I LOVE warm fresh bread??) Forty five minutes later we found the IMAX also without power and cancelling the evening movie. As a neighbor noted today our venture to see The Dark Knight turned into The Dark Night. (groan!) I have no idea if my horrible voice will show up on the radio and drive listeners to the competiton, but I did pass the interviewer off to a co-worker who has a much more colorful voice and who actually had a turkey in the oven at the time the lights went out.
So that is my day, so far. Don't forget to click the button on the left to Help the Animals. Thanks for tuning in.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday is Thanksgiving and we are having a nice dinner at home. The weather has turned damp, drizzly and foggy so we are hibernating and actually going through some boxes that have not really been opened in the year we have been in the new house. Upon reflection we have a lot to be thankful for: friends and family to talk to, a home to shelter us and provide us with happiness and pride, food on the table, stable jobs in a somewhat stable economy and not much of the financial drama that has plagued the US recently. We really are living in a great place.
Power restored to Vancouver Island following massive blackout
Cindy E. Harnett, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, October 12, 2008
A massive power outage hit southern Vancouver Island Sunday night, knocking electricity out for about 200,000 customers on the south Island and the Gulf Islands.
The entire region south of Ladysmith on Vancouver Island lost power for an hour because of transmission problems, according to B.C. Hydro.
The lights went out at about 5:40 p.m., as Thanksgiving turkeys were roasting in ovens. About an hour later, power returned to some areas in and around Victoria, although service remained spotty.
Many customers are still without power, said Ted Olynyk, spokesman for B.C. Hydro.
Olynyk said the power company was patrolling transmission lines trying to find the source of the problem. He said he does not know when power will return to all customers.
Traffic lights went dark and police departments and hospitals automatically transferred onto emergency backup systems in Greater Victoria. Sirens and honking horns could be heard throughout downtown.
Suzanne Germain, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, said the affected hospitals continue to function.
"We have back-up power and the generators kick in automatically. They are up and running and all is fine," Germain said.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Canada rated world's soundest bank system: survey
Thu Oct 9, 2:41 PM
By Rob Taylor
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Canada has the world's soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.
But Britain, which once ranked in the top five, has slipped to 44th place behind El Salvador and Peru, after a 50 billion pound ($86.5 billion) pledge this week by the government to bolster bank balance sheets.
The United States, where some of Wall Street's biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40, just behind Germany at 39, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.
The United States was on Thursday considering buying a slice of debt-laden banks to inject trust back into lending between financial institutions now too wary of one another to lend.
The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report based its findings on opinions of executives, and handed banks a score between 1.0 (insolvent and possibly requiring a government bailout) and 7.0 (healthy, with sound balance sheets).
Canadian banks received 6.8, just ahead of Sweden (6.7), Luxembourg (6.7), Australia (6.7) and Denmark (6.7).
UK banks collectively scored 6.0, narrowly behind the United States, Germany and Botswana, all with 6.1. France, in 19th place, scored 6.5 for soundness, while Switzerland's banking system scored the same in 16th place, as did Singapore (13th).
The ranking index was released as central banks in Europe, the United States, China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland slashed interest rates in a bid to end to panic selling on markets and restore trust in the shaken banking system.
The Netherlands (6.7), Belgium (6.6), New Zealand (6.6), Malta (6.6) rounded out the WEF's banking top 10 with Ireland, whose government unilaterally pledged last week to guarantee personal and corporate deposits at its six major banks.
Also scoring well were Chile (6.5, 18th) and Spain, South Africa, Norway, Hong Kong and Finland all ending up in the top 20.
At the bottom of the list was Algeria in 134th place, with its banks scoring 3.9 to be just below Libya (4.0), Lesotho (4.1), the Kyrgyz Republic (4.1) and both Argentina and East Timor (4.2).
8. New Zealand
10. Malta 11. Hong Kong
15. South Africa
130. East Timor
131. Kyrgyz Republic