Friday, August 25, 2006

This Boo Radley Had a Gun

I just read this story, by Rachel Hoag of the AP:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug. 24) - The father of a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the head while ghost hunting with friends said Friday that the group had been out for harmless fun.

"It doesn't make any sense. These were five good kids and this was something they've done in the past," Greg Barezinsky said.

Rachel Barezinsky was injured Tuesday night when a man who lives in a house considered spooky by local teenagers shot at the carload of five girls, police said.

Barezinsky, a high school senior whose classmates started classes Friday, remained in critical condition, the family said. She remained on a breathing machine and neck brace but was able to give a "thumbs up" sign, they said.

"It's going to be a long haul," Greg Barezinsky said. "It's going to take time."

The girls and other high school students have gone out to cemeteries to hunt for ghosts before, Greg Barezinsky said at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Family members said they did not want to discuss the felonious assault charges against Allen S. Davis, 40, who lives in the house with his mother.

Davis' home, across from a cemetery and overgrown with trees and weeds, had a reputation among local teens for being haunted. Students at Thomas Worthington High School in suburban Columbus had been daring each other to knock on the door or go in the yard, police Lt. Doug Francis said.

Three of the girls had gotten out of the car and taken a few steps onto Davis' property, but then jumped back in and circled the block. Barezinsky was struck while sitting in the car as it passed the house again.

Davis has told reporters he fired from his bedroom window to scare away trespassers and didn't mean to hurt the girls. He told officers he was aiming for the car's tires. He called the girls juvenile delinquents and said they shouldn't have been on his property.

He told reporters Wednesday he had prepared the rifle after numerous instances of trespassing.

"It's really something how homeowners defend themselves and the way the laws are written, we're the ones brought up on charges while the perpetrators get little or nothing," Davis said.

Francis said Davis told investigators he had never called police about any problems with trespassers.


Reading this story reminded me, of course, of the spooky Bradley residence in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. But while Boo Radley proved to be both misunderstood and, ultimately heroic, saving Scout and Jem from Bob Ewell's night-time knife attack, this Boo Radley not only shot a teenager, but had the gall to defend his actions by appealing to his homeowner's rights.

When children can't live out ghost stories, and when property is more valued than human life, we live in a sick and depraved society.


Jeff said...

Hi Chris,

Tragic story. It reminds me of one of the things I am most ashamed of in my life.

When I was growing up, there was an old woman who lived alone in a big house. She must have been close to 100. The house was unpainted and dilapitated, overgrown with trees, weeds, and grass that grew over three feet tall. She was rarely seen by anyone, and when she was seen it was frightening. She was bearded and would mutter darkly at the people who looked at her. Naturally, kids tagged her as a "witch".

I remember a few hot summer nights when the bored boys in the neighborhood would throw crabapples at the "witch's house". What a horrible thing, and what a disgrace that I participated (peer pressure - a pernicious thing). I think now of how terrified she must have been, alone in the dark with this going on. No one in the neighborhood ever reached out to her for anything or offered her a kindness.

At around the same time, there were characters in the neighborhood that you knew you couldn't trespass. Tall tales were told about one kid or another who been shot at with rocksalt for stepping on the wrong property. Perhaps this priority of property over lives goes right back to the fears of the early settlers and frontiersmen. Marginalized people, alienated from everyone else (perhaps, by being marked as the "haunted house"), react in fear.

Having said all that, I don't understand gun culture at all. I have no real quarrel with hunters and sportsmen, but I'm not interested in partakinging in what they do. I've never wanted to own a weapon of my own. What is the attraction?

Anonymous said...

Hey. i was just browsing and i guess i want to tell you that i agree with you.. Rachel is my cousin.. seriously.. i promise.. and she and her sister and mom were just down here to visit us a month ago. its awful what happened. and i completely agree with your original post. its all bull shit. this lunatic ruined her life. blehh.