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As an intense gun control debate roils America, here’s an old ad that should ignite emotions on both sides

January 14, 2013


The tragic events in Newton, teamed with other mass shootings that helplessly fade in collective memory as more are added to the pile, have kicked up an understandable ruckus over the Second Amendment. One side wants to impose strict limits on the types of weapons that can be purchased, and perhaps impose registration requirements on all firearms. The other recoils from an apparent infringement of bedrock freedoms, falling back on the people kill people defense and fearing a new weapona non grata mindset that will make home defense the province of cudgels and harsh language. Maybe justice is in the middle, or maybe it’s somewhere at one of the extremes. That’s something beyond the bailiwick of a comic book blog.

What does a 1943 Daisy Defender air rifle ad have to do with all of this? Not much. Yet its cheerful juxtaposition of youth, soldiery, Uncle Sam, Red Ryder and “1000 shot military” models feels like it comes (and indeed it does) from a different millennium, a time that could produce an American Boys Bill of Rights with no twinge of cynicism or irony. It’s presented to you here without comment, condemnation or endorsement. Make of this Rorschach ink blot what you will. (And look elsewhere if you want more painful pairings.)

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