Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remembering Blair Holt

A little more than 2 years ago, Chicago lost a 16-year-old boy. It's a tragic scar on this great city that we lose too many young people to violence every week. There was something especially wonderful, promising and special about Blair Holt and his family that made his life and death touch a chord in many of us.

Blair Holt was an honor student, the son of a Chicago cop (dad) and a firefighter (mom). He was on his way home from school on a CTA bus when gangbangers boarded and started firing. He pushed his classmate out of the way and was killed instead. Yesterday, at his killer's sentencing, surveillance tapes of his heroism were shown publicly for the first time.

There is much that could be and is being said about Blair Holt's admitted, convicted and now sentenced murderer. I leave that for others. This post is about the boy who sadly never got to become a man.

• Blair was a well-liked student who made good grades and had no gang affiliations whatsoever

• He planned to go on to college and pursue a career in music management

• He loved steaks cooked on the grill

• He enjoyed renting movies

• He shared a love of the White Sox with his father

• His mother referred to him as her "best friend" and "running buddy"

• The father of the girl whose life he saved refers to Blair Holt as a "hero"

• Judge Nicholas Ford agreed from the bench yesterday.

There is a bill before Congress now, HR45, called The Blair Holt Firearm and Record of Sale Act. In summary, this law would:

• Prohibit possession of any handguns or any semiautomatic firearms that can accept detachable ammunition-feeding devices (excluding antiques) by anyone who has not been issued a firearm license.

• Require all sales of those types of firearms to go through licensed dealers.

• Direct the Attorney General to establish and run a federal record-of-sale system.

• Require the possessors of firearms to secure them (by secure gun storage or safety devices) when they are kept in locales where children might be capable of gaining access to those firearms.

I encourage you to read more about HR45, and consider contacting your Congressman to support it. Just as Blair Holt saved one of his classmates, perhaps we can honor his memory by saving another kid.

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