I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in small-town Oregon. It was a time when artist Norman Rockwell captured the “Spirit of America” on every cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

It was a time when turning 5 years of age meant summertime swimming lessons in the river. A river that had plenty of water over my head. But this wasn’t the only safety lesson for me to learn.

On my 7th birthday I was given a Daisy BB gun.

It came with plenty of “strings attached.” Handle it safely, or else. It was common sense to require responsibility and good judgment from a 7-year-old.

I know, the times were different then.

Pickups in town had Winchester 30-30s in the gun rack. The same was true for pickups in the high school parking lot. Few rigs were ever locked up. You kept your hands-off other people’s property.

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What have we lost since the 1950s? Why so many tormented minds bent on violence? What makes people feel they have nothing to lose? Are firearms the problem? Nothing about firearms themselves has changed.

Passing more gun laws won’t make a difference ... why? It has already been done. The states with the most restrictive gun laws still lead the country in gun violence.

We will eventually find the answer, but it won’t come through more gun control. It will come through the can-do spirit of our God-given freedom.

Norman Rockwell, we miss you.

Art Hall

Philomath (Aug. 27)

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