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April 25th, 2008
03:26 PM ET

Gun violence took my son...

Ronald Holt, with his son Blair

Ronald Holt, with his son Blair

Ronald Holt
Blair's father

It’s been nearly a year since gun violence took my son.

He was shot while jumping in front of gun fire, protecting a friend who was in harm's way. Blair was a smart, good and loving young man. This was supposed to be the year we picked out a University, talked about girlfriends and watched his talent take off.

But since he was killed May 10th of last year, his mother, Annette and I made our son a promise. Do everything we can to stop gun violence. We can’t do this alone. There are far too many kids getting killed in our communities.

Please help me by taking action against this senseless gun violence. Congressman Bobby Rush has sponsored House bill 2666, dubbed “Blair’s Bill” which works to have people register their gun purchases into a federal database, helping track down those guns involved in crimes.

Please log onto these websites to learn how to get involved.

www.Purposeoverpain.org

www.commonsensesaveslives.org

Myspace page

We can’t do this alone.
It was our son who lost his life to senseless gun violence, it could be yours tomorrow.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gun Control • Gun Violence
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Brian S

    Mr. & Mrs. Holt, I am truely sorry for your loss. This is senseless voilence. I am retired military and I have had access to guns in my military service. I am not a gun owner as a civilian. These laws would not affect me as I do not plan on purchasing a firearm but I don't think legislation will prevent the type of violence that killed youre son. We as a society need to teach our offspring the moral values that I joined the military to protect. And you, Mr Holt joined the police force to protect for the people of your city. The law abiding citizens that would follow those rules (legislation) are not the ones killing people. Even if they registered their gun and it gets stolen, the person commiting the crime does not care because they have no moral value, so now the one who follows the rules is the criminal because their registerd gun was used in a criminal act. Lets work on what is right and wrong and teach our children and their parents that there are consequences for the actions we take. Give back the rights to the parents to instill the values needed in their children.

    May 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  2. Lokesh

    Those who subscribe to the belief that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" use a limited logic . Guns are designed and sold for very limited purposes... maybe target practice is one purpose, but their primary purpose is killing. Hand guns in particular make killing in large scale much , much easier and difficulty to defend against.
    How many innocent men, women, and children have to be senselessly murdered before the American population starts to distinguish between the destructive capability of hand guns and assault weapons and the benefits of "the right to bear arms"?
    Can anyone give me a plausible justification as to why gun manufacturers are allowed to sell hand guns and automatic or semi-automatic assault weapons to the civilian population?

    March 12, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  3. David

    It's sad what happened to Blair Holt, but blaming the gun and passing some silly registration law would do absolutely nothing to stop crimes such as this. How ironic is it that a bill named the "Blair Holt Licensing and Record Acto of 2009" would have had ZERO chance of preventing the type of senseless murder that took place here. Gang bangers don't buy their guns legally. We already have thousands of gun laws that only apply to honest law-abiding citizens. That punk would not have been able to buy this gun legally if he tried, even our existing laws would have prevented the purchase. Unfortunately when they buy guns on the street nobody enforces any laws – money is all that is required.

    February 9, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  4. Kristopher

    illigal Guns are like drugs, no mater how tough the laws and rules they will always be used by idiots. But I suport my right to defend myself with a lethal wepon. I love guns. I am responsible with them. I keep them locked in a safe. More gun laws keep responsibal people like myself from blowing up a home invader with my ak-47. Swiss cheese. I wonder how the president would like for his secret service men to have sling shots instead of guns.

    November 9, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  5. Blairs mom

    My son was a good kid. He was on his way home from schoo; on the bus. He had plans and dreams. He worked in his grandparents store everyday after school and on weekends. So Sami K how dare you question what my sons intentions were, when he lost his life to save another. Blair is a hero. And besides no child or person should be a victim of gun violence. You never know who your angel is..........

    August 24, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Sami K

    Okay, I know I am going to sound heartless but lets ask the question of where was this kid to put him in such a situation as to jump in front of a gun to save a friend? Was he hanging with violent people in a bad part of town? I know good kids get caught in bad situations because they live in voilent areas. So why was he out there? I have no problem with laws to register and track gun ownership but that does not help solve the problems of gang infested and violent areas. Violent youths is the big problem!! My heart does go out to the family. I am a parent and I can not begin to know the depth of pain you must feel. Good luck on your persuit to make this a safer country.

    July 12, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  7. Me

    AAAAAAHHHHHHHH IT'S SO FRUSTRATING. Reading all these comments just brings to light how many kids die, and how many people lose. Children and friends, it seems as though everyone has lost someone. These people are KIDS, why would you kill a kid. What's wrong is no one takes responsibility for there kids and they end up growing up in loveless homes or foster care. They make there own family in the form of gangs and kill kids like Blair or Lawrence who had families and a future and life. ITS NOT FAIR. The injustice of the world sucks.
    (sorry just needed to get that out)

    May 2, 2008 at 8:20 am |
  8. Kathryn K Bussler

    Mr Holt, I cannot imagine the pain your family has gone through as I haven't lost a child myself.
    What your son did was a very brave and selfless thing and it is obvious he had a lot to give – it's horrible that his life was stolen away before he could have done more good.
    I think registering firearms is a good idea. I don't think it's enough. As long as we live in a world where people justify killing other people using any excuse -valid or not – this type of tragedy is never going to go away.
    The world needs more people like you and your family – and especially people like your son. I am grateful that he did have the chance to inspire people to peace in the short time he had on this planet. He accomplished more than many ever will in their lifetime.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  9. Bette Clark

    Dear Mr. Holt,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. My son was 15 y/o and shot point blank to the back of his head, also last year in July 2007, he was also a wonderful young man, with so much potential. Here in Phila. we see the same kind of violence happening almost every single day that someone dies because of a shooting. I too hope we find something, somewhere that stops this kind of violence from continuing. Our children are dying, no one deserves to die this way, no one! I applaud you for working so hard and trying to find ways to stop this in your son's memory, it is something I also find myself trying to do in my son's memory. I am so sorrow for your loss, and know whole heartedly the pain you and your family are going thru. No parent should go thru seeing their babies die in such a violent way.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  10. mamakass

    My heart and prayers go out to you and your family for your loss.. I Know a lot is said about others not caring about these kids but speaking for myself and others I know We DO care!! As a mama, a child lost of any color, background, big city or small is a heartbreak beyond heartbreak... Any child lost is devastation to those around them and for plans left unfullfilled..
    What can we do would be the question?
    We know HOW we got here but now how do we change IT?
    May GOD give you the strength and COURAGE for the battle...

    April 30, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  11. Tom J

    No wonder your son died trying to save another; he obviously had a strong role model in you. What this society desparately needs are more MEN like you. That means MEN willing to stand up and confront wrong and fight for right. Too many so-called "men" in this society are willing to hide behind locked doors, letting our children and women suffer while they spout meaningless rhetoric about "gun rights" and "law and order". Bless you for your words and actions. I'm sure your son is as proud of you as you are of him.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Tina

    I agree that it is the mindset and lifestyle of the individuals who kill, not necessarily the guns. However, when you look at some other countries where guns are not as prevalent (such as Canada) there doesn't seem to be as much gun violence. Please note I'm not saying there is NONE. Parents need to bring their children up in loving homes, where children are taught to respect other people and have compassion and empathy for others. I also want to say that re-instituting the draft it not a reasonable solution. I have two wonderful young sons who were raised with the values I mention, and who are avid hunters and gun owners. They were taught proper gun safety at a young age. They do not wish to go out and kill other people, which would certainly be a possibility if they were drafted. On the other hand, imagine what it would be like to be in the armed forces with some of those young people who don't care about the lives of others–not those of the enemy and not those of their comrades. No, the draft would not solve this problem.

    Mr. Holt, my heart goes out to to you and I applaud your efforts to remember your wonderful son by trying to make the world and Chicago less violent.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Amy

    We must teach our children! We must teach them about respect for themselves, each other and the community and Earth as a whole! Kids these days have no boundries, no rules and no consequenses. Until they are taught – BY THEIR FAMILIES – not the government, not the schools – by the people who brought them into this world, this cycle of violence will never end.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  14. R.D.Lee

    Mr. Randy Jensen seems to believe that divorced mothers are to
    blame for the gun problems of the world. Mr Jenken I am a divorced
    Mother of two boys and I raised them alone without benfit of their
    fathers input because, when the divorce came he left them to me to
    raise alone as most fathers do as they want to start a new family.
    My sons know how to fish, camp and lead good lives and by the
    way neither of my sons ever choose to raise a gun, I guess that
    makes me a "woosy" mother if so then I am proud to be a "woosy"
    i dont have the answer to the problems but, I do feel if we would
    stop teaching our children to hate and to take responsabilty for
    our own actions and perhaps reach out to just one child regaurdless
    of race color or creed. Just let them know all is not lost. That somewhere in the future they can change their lives with education
    and good morals. By the way Mr Jenken why do you hate women?
    Would you teach your son to love and honor their mother.
    R.D.Lee

    April 30, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  15. Tim in Atlanta

    First and most important I am so very sorry for the loss of your son.He is a hero.He gave his own life to save another's and that in itself makes his shortened life that much more incredible. The gun violence in our cities is beyond control.When kids can get a gun as easy as buying an ice cream cone,there is something very wrong with this country. The worst part of it all is this will continue to happen with more people losing jobs,dipping into 401k's and their own personal finances being purged on a daily basis.The fact that a young mans life had to be taken away is a tragedy,but I hate to say it but this may only be only the start od such sad stories...RIP and God bless.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Mark

    Can morality and the value of a human life be taught to an individual at a late date of development, or does it have to be instilled in them from a very early age? Is there any hope for the violent young people out there to change their current behavior?

    April 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  17. Me

    Too many children die senselessly. Lawrence King a young homosexual was gunned down by another child simply because he was gay. It has been a month since I found out about and not a day goes by that I don't think about that poor kid. Now Blair will be added to my list. To the Holt's : Let me express my deepest sympathies. Blair sounds like he was a wonderful person with a lot of potential It's rare you find a person like that
    Good for you to channel your emotion into something productive

    April 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  18. L.J.

    You are right that guns don't kill people, people kill people. But if this small inconvience could save even a few lifes then do it. If it makes it a little more difficult for some killers and can cut the number of deaths than I say suck it up and do what you have to do. I have not lost a child and I would do anything big or small to keep it that way.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  19. Abby

    There are no words to express enough sympathy and love to you at this time. The pain that you feel is beyond any that a person should have to endure.

    The pain from the loss of a child goes beyond race, economics, or relgion or political affliation. Although all of these things contribute to our problems in this country, what I wish everyone understood is we are all fragile people, we are parents who love our children more than ourselves and we can set aside our differences to protect our children. Parents, not politicians are the answer because we aren't looking out for ourselves; we live and breathe our children.

    You are in our prayers; thank you for turning your pain into something positive. God Bless You

    April 30, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  20. lori

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am the mother of 6 and grandmother of 4 and I can only imagine your grief. Our country is under attack and our children are being destroyed! God bless you and I join in your resolve to save our children! Please let us know what we can do to help!

    April 30, 2008 at 11:55 am |
  21. Carol Bradstreet

    All I can say is that I am so very, very sorry for your loss. It's obvious your son was a 'winner' in every sense of the word. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in protecting another person from violence. Your son and your family will remain in my heart and thoughts.

    April 30, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  22. JohnA

    John: "Feel good" measure? Hardly.

    I've heard many of the talk radio fear-jockeys use that catch phrase many times. Try reasearching the data. Don't believe everthing Rush, Hannity or Boortz tells you: they are being paid to disinform and manipulate the facts. Did you know that several major US gun manufacturer's contribute large amonts of money to companies that own talk radio stations? they also contribute to the sponsors as well.

    "Draconian" is another buzz word often used to stir the emotions.
    If you want to see 'draconian', I suggest reading the "Patriot Act".

    Randy K: the Boy Scouts have never been 'hammered' as a 'bad organization'. However, the organization was in fact criticized for handling reports of sexual abuse in the same manner as the clergy of the US Catholic church.

    A fraction of the money going into Iraq to make sure large oil companies can operate safely could have be used to improve economic conditions here at home. I guess that is not a 'top priority' for the current administration.

    April 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  23. JohnA

    Gun violence will continue to plague or society until we confront the realities of the problem.

    Absurd rhetoric and bumper-sticker slogans, such as "My gun has killed less people than Ted Kennedy's car" is ignorant, and shows that some people simply cannot grasp the issue seriously. Besides, these people wouldn't like it if we substituted "Laura Bush" in place of Ted's name, because, as I recall, she is just as guilty of causing a death as he.

    As someone who has a concealed carry permit, I realize the awesome responsiblity I have. My father was a medical examiner for thirty years, and I have worked in county and city morgues: I am very aware of what a gun is capable of doing. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not. You would surprised how many people purchase a gun, obtain a permit for it, and have never previously fired a gun, nor do they bother to seek proper firearm training from a professional or practice target shooting inorder to become a proficient shooter (Debra from FL most-likely fits into this catagory).
    We have to be realistic: police officers, federal agents and military personel are trained extremely well to use firearms, and they still get killed in duty or combat.

    Guns have become a false sense of security.

    No, gun registration won't solve the problem entirely. However, it has stopped felons from obtaining a gun for use in a crime. The Brady Bill managed to keep firearms out of the hands of over three million convicted felons who actually had the audacity to walk into a gun store to purcahse a weapon. Had this bill, or at least a law that would check an individual's record for violence and mental condition, the Virginia Tech shooter would not have been able to accquire a gun.

    The gun manufacturers are more concerned with making money than what happens when their product gets into the wrong hands. There are also people who have permits to sell guns outside of a 'traditional' gun store: these individuals often attend gun shows and will sell firearms to people without any form of background check or obey any waiting period. Many of these 'backdoor'/'car trunk' gun sellers have been caught selling guns and ammunition to felons. It's not difficult: I have known several individuals who have obtained a firearm this way while avoiding "federal channels".

    "...gun registration would not have prevented his death."

    We don't know that for certain.

    Not all people who have killed another human being with a gun are the 'hardened street thug' we like to imagine. I've been to many crime scenes and seen homocides committed by the 'average joe' who came home one day to his suburban home and shot his wife and kids to death.

    April 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  24. lavonjohnson

    i think gun violence is so uncivilized. I think people that perpetrate these acts should go to war and fight.

    April 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  25. Debra from Fl.

    My gun has never taken a thought of it's own and has killed less people than Ted Kennedy's car.

    When will the left want cars off the road for " CAR VIOLENCE " ???

    April 28, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  26. Ken in NC

    I'm sorry for the loss of this young man, but gun registration would not have prevented his death. Guns are inanimate objects, they don't think and aren't capable of self-locomotion. Some states have strong gun laws, but don't enforce them. I'm tired of judges dismissing the gun charges during the course of subsequent trials. Blaming the gun prevents us from pursuing the real culprit, the person who pulled the trigger. I'm willing to bet that this person is no stranger to the police since they have so little regard for another's life.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  27. CJ

    It's such a shame that the youth of America are killing each other off. Meanwhile those in government do little or nothing to combat gang violence.

    In Chicago alone, 27 people were shot just in the last week! That's more Americans right here in one major American city than are getting killed that in the battle zone in Iraq!

    Clearly there has to be a balance between preserving the rights of gun owners who hunt game out in the countryside and yet preventing the gun-toting gang bangers who thrive in urban environments from murdering innocent people.

    It's going to take an experienced and tough president to be able to find new ways to approach the troubles of inner city life. Because the "look the other way" approach seems to not be working.

    It's interesting that Hillary Clinton spoke about having a poverty czar, someone who has a cabinet position that would focus solely on the issue of poverty and crime in the inner city and how best to combat it. The three things are clearly intertwined - despair, poverty and violence. I think this is sorely needing to be addressed!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  28. Rufus Holiday

    I don't mean to diminish the loss of your son. I am the father of two young children and could not bear the thought of losing either one. However, I feel your anguish is misguided in the sense that it is not "gun violence" that took your son. It was violence by cold blooded thugs with no regard for family or human life. This life style is celebrated & glorified in both the cinema and in song. We, as Americans, need to rediscover our responsibilites to our families and put an end to the culture that revels in bloodshed and demeaning women.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  29. b gibbs

    Well, it's too bad guns get the blame for what humans are doing. Put a gun on the table and it is harmless. It will do no one any harm. But let a hate mongrel pick it up and then he is the dangerous one. The gun will do only what the hands who hold it want it to do. Why not give the instsnt death penalty to those who take others lives. Lock them up and throw away the key. Keep guns in the hands of safe law abiding citizens . The murderers out there are not going to register their guns. So gun registry is not the answer. Thouroughly prosecute the criminal, that is the answer.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  30. Lydia Marie

    Your son died on my fourty-fourth birthday last year, May 10th 2007. Also, as I stated before, I attended Julian all those thirty years ago. The bus stop that the camera showed was the same bus stop that I waited at many a day.

    There was gang violence back when I was there, but it seems different now. I don't know why.

    I pray about the violence in Chicago and the rest of the country. This young lad at sixteen years old is already dead and we older folks are still around. I don't get it. I don't get it.

    April 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  31. Barry IL

    Gun violence is out of control these days. Some of our young men do not even need a reason to shoot and kill. They just do it. Some of our slums have become one of the unsafest places in the whole world. They are NO GO areas. Even worse, they are expanding the slums violence to the wider community. Chicago is a case in point.

    Gun control may be one part of the problem. But the BIGGEST problem lies in changing the mindset of the "crazy and cruel" young men who shoot each other, including for no reason. They shoot and killing children walking home from school. They rob gas stations and then kill the poor gas-station who work for minimum wage trying to make ends meet. Something is terribly wwrong with their mindset. Engough attention has not been given to our slum "war zones". Unless we are able to change their mindset, gun-control alone cannot solve the deeply rooted crisis.

    April 26, 2008 at 9:40 am |
  32. Randy K. Jensen

    Kids today have no values of life instilled in them, they need things like cub scouts, boy scouts, even the military draft to bring them through the rights of passage of growing up. Not street gatherings or divorced mothers trying to manage a family. the military draft helped young men grow up and start a trade and find productive bonding, not peer pressure to do wrong. positive leadership is a good direction to go. Drunk drivers kill 17,500 a year, the military in 5 years of war have only lost 4,000 not to make that any less of a loss, but its safer than the streets of America. let alone the unsupervised use of a gun, take responsibility and teach them the proper use of the gun in a safe environment through the right of passage.

    April 26, 2008 at 8:16 am |
  33. Christian

    John, no matter what the NRA says, firearms are one of the causes for firearm related crimes as they promote a "shoot first" mentality.

    Be realistic, there will always be criminal people, but only a fraction of them are actively out to hurt you. Most of them only want you money or other luxury items and do whatever it takes to get them. With strict gun laws those criminals likely flee when you surprise them when they break into your house or threaten you with a knife.
    But with the loose gun laws currently in effect as soon as something goes wrong the criminals will shoot as they have to assume that you are armed. It also affects the police. Why do you think do we hear about trigger happy policemen again and again? Because they have to assume that everyone is armed, in some states much better than them as it is legal to buy assault rifles and submachine guns. No wonder that they are nervous.

    You see, the liberal gun laws are partially responsible for the violence in the US. And all the talk about guns preventing crime isn't really convincing, considering that the US is quite high on the list of murders per capita and rapes per capita. The only crime firearms prevent are petty thefts and crimes like that. But is it worth it the increased amount of murders? I think not.

    But we all know that the gun laws will never change as the US earns too much because of weapon sales and the NRA is simply too strong and too close with the republican party.

    April 26, 2008 at 6:31 am |
  34. Randy K. Jensen

    Guns kill youth all over the USA more today because there is no draft or Boy Scouts are hammered as a terrible organization and youth don't have the ability to have the right of passage they need to learn and these days mothers (diviorce) are not the ones to teach youth how to properly handle and appreciate the right to know and use a gun safely there are too many woosy mothers and no military to teach proper use and care of a gun reinstate the draft and lower gun violence

    April 26, 2008 at 2:08 am |
  35. B Downs

    I think that gangsta rap is the problem. These young Black kids listen to this music that praises the thug life and go around trying to be little thugs without thinking of the consequences. It's sad how Black men and kids shoot each other.

    April 26, 2008 at 2:03 am |
  36. Anna in AZ

    Your son is beautiful. Looks just about the age of mine and I can only imagine the pain you are in. I think you are very couragious to stand up and put the whole truth on the table. Guns in the wrong hands is truely out of control. I wil be on your website.
    God bless you

    April 25, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  37. Blue

    Susan and John are absolutely correct. My best friend was gunned down in front of me. I doubt any gun law in the world could have saved him. The scum who shot him simply did not have the same values, the same ethics and morality, moral compass, what ever you want to call it, as what we hold to be the social ideal. Until that problem is addressed, tougher firearm laws will be ineffective.

    April 25, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  38. Cherisa - Memphis, TN

    My heart goes out to the Harts for their loss, and I applaud them for doing something to try and end gun violence.

    There are too many people doing nothing, contributing to the problem.

    Memphis is facing its own battle against violent crime. I've contacted state senators to support tougher legislation for gun crimes and will continue to take actions, however small, to affect change in my community – to be part of the solution.

    I hope everyone else will do the same.

    April 25, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  39. Susan

    Hi Ron,
    I am so sorry for you loss. I too, am the Mother of a murdered child. My son, Dek was murdered in 1994 in Columbus, Ohio.
    I think what you are trying to do is noteworthy, but if you really think the scum out there that have no regards for another's life will register the gun they bought on the streets for $20.00, then you are in for disappointment.
    Education starting with grade school is the only way. Parents teaching their children the value of another person's life, Churches becoming involved with inner city kids to teach values to kids. And the world just learning to love each other instead of learning hate and vengance. It is a colossal job that has to start with every person in every city, saying enough is enough.
    I am glad you are standing up to say enough is enough. Are there any other takers out there?

    April 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  40. John

    As a firearm owner and avid shooter, firearm crimes really gall me. Not only because of the senselessness of the crime and the victims it leaves behind, but also that the misuse of 0.02% of all firearms can cast such a negative shadow on firearms.

    But here is the reality: Registering firearms does nothing to prevent crimes and does not really aid tracing firearms that much. It is primarily a "Feel Good" measure, but also sets the stage for subsequent draconian firearm laws.

    If we want to make an impact on firearm related crimes, we have to address the root cause of the crime, not the tool used.

    April 25, 2008 at 4:18 pm |

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