About kids and guns, in 1964

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This week we bring you this classic G. George Ostrom column he selected from 1964...

Feller said to me today, “George, I like your funny columns best.”

Just for the record, I too like my “funny” columns the best because they’re more fun to write, but even a cock-eyed optimist like me has to tee off on some kind of crusade now and then.

Been thinkin’ maybe us local yokels are missin’ a good bet for squeezin’ money out of the dudes passin’ through and still make them happy.

Ever notice how many folk from Hackensack, New Jersey and Odebolt, Iowa go hen-house when they are able to get hold of a pair of elk or deer antlers? They tie them on top of their car or camper and show ‘em off all the way home.

If some Boy Scout troop or similar organization was to stage a yearly, county-wide drive to collect any and all old and new antlers, I’ll bet they could make a small bundle selling them at a roadside stand someplace. They could give it a test run and, if it worked out, they might even be able to pay or buck or two (no pun meant) for each set turned in.

Just a free idea for some public service group that needs something to do this summer.

Last Thursday was apparently a good day for kids to get hurt.

After supper, I dutifully inspected the oldest son’s bruised ankle sustained in a gallant, but futile, slide across home plate.

Oldest daughter was next with a punctured knee resulting from some sort of bicycle crash into MacMillian’s or somebody’s rose bush and five-year-old Wendy came through in her usual style with three separate contusions and abrasions from various tricycle wrecks and falls from the old apple tree.

After dispensing the correct amount of paternal sympathy and a few words of wisdom to each young’un, I returned to the davenport and my evening paper…but not for long. Very soon a neglected three-year-old was standing on my chest and pulling up his T-shirt.

“See my bad hurt Daddy?”

I’m still trying to figure out just how much sympathy a father should give out for a belly button, let alone advise on how to avoid it.

There are several guns in my house. My dad taught me how to use them for fun and the U.S. Government taught me how to use them for real.

I qualified at age 17 for some kind of medal in basic training by hitting 29 out of 30 man-shaped targets in the heart within two seconds of the time each target popped out of the under brush on an infiltration course in the New Jersey swamp (this was with a .45 caliber sub machine gun). I was also reminded that the one man I missed might well have killed me.

There was a very good reason for this training.

I believe there are certain kinds of gun laws that would help reduce crime in the United States, but I think the registering of all firearms is an extremely unwise course of legislation and I further believe that such a law would not pass through Congress in a time when emotions are less in command than common sense. Each individual, including Senator Dodd, has a personal right to make up his own mind as to what is right and what is wrong, but I, for one, cannot ever accept the concept of legislating morality.

The guns I own are as much my own personal business as the amount of money in my savings account or the location of a birthmark on my body. There are a hundred things the U.S. Congress and the public can do with would be more effective in reducing violence than the registration of firearms.

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