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In my early teens, some 70 years ago, I looked forward to seeing a firearms catalog each year. I was looking ahead and planning my future.

I knew I would eventually need a shotgun to hunt waterfowl and upland game.

I also knew I would eventually need a rifle for hunting big game.

My childhood dreams came true, and I acquired firearms that served me well throughout my lifetime.

Yesterday I received a firearms catalog from the "Worlds Foremost Outfitters." Though my hunting and shooting career had ended years ago, I decided to thumb through the catalog for old times sake. I opened it up and - what a shock!

The first pages contained detailed photos of 52 different pistols, all semiautomatic and described as being "battle tested" and fully suited for "tactical" purposes. Following this display were pictures and descriptions of 31 hidden-away holsters that allowed concealed carry from on the ankle to the shoulder and most areas in between.

Then came pictures of 25 rifles, only one of which was a classic hunting rifle. The rest were grotesque versions of semiauto assault or tactical, military-type weapons.

The final section contained five shotguns, none of which was suitable for hunting or clay-bird shooting. Instead, they carried labels such as "Freedom Defense" or "Home Defense".

As I recycled the catalog, I was struck by the realization of how very fortunate I am to be an old codger thereby saved from having to plan my adult future in this day and age.

Ron Sadler

Albany (Feb. 11)

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