Commentary - Salto showed leadership as young deputyTo the voters in Commissioner Norm Salto’s District: A big thank you to the voters for returning Norm to office.
By Bob Mostad, Osakis, MN
To the voters in Commissioner Norm Salto’s District:
A big thank you to the voters for returning Norm to office. I would like to inform you of an incident that began to unfold a lot of years ago. I was a neighbor to and went to country school with a boy my age. We became good friends and hunted and trapped together. With a lot of practice, he became an expert marksman, both with long guns and revolvers. As a hobby he became an expert at fast draw revolver shooting.
World War II entered the picture and my friend enlisted in the Navy. It was natural that he got involved in shooting and he served his country well. Some Japanese dive bombers found out how well he could shoot. The war ended and he used the GI bill to go to college to become a doctor. After a time I heard there were some marital problems and then a divorce and later a remarriage, but I seldom saw my friend, only when he would come home for a visit.
One evening he came walking up my driveway. What I did not know was that he had a complete mental breakdown and had been committed to the St. Cloud Vets Hospital. He walked away from there and hitched a ride on old Highway 52 to West Union and then walked from there to my home. He asked me if I would take him home. His eyes had the look of a trapped wild animal and he kept saying that he had a job to do.
His home was only a mile away so in only a heartbeat I had him there. He found the door locked and backed up and with a mighty lunge he broke the door in. I quickly left and went to his parents’ home to inform them and as I was getting out of my truck, here he came roaring in with his Buick convertible. He came up to me with a 357 magnum revolver in hand, pointed straight at me and told me that if I tried to stop him, this is what you get.
I was so close that I could see the rifling in the end of the barrel and I could see the cylinder full of live rounds and the hammer was back and his finger was on the trigger. I wondered if I was about to become a dead material witness.
About that time, his father and mother came out from eating their supper. He quickly turned his gun on them and then his mother suggested he come and eat supper. He accepted her invitation and I excused myself and left.
I called our sheriff’s office and asked for help. I armed myself and then sat in my truck and waited until I saw the sheriff’s car go by. The sheriff had a young deputy by the name of Norm Salto with.
Quicker than the eye could see, they found themselves looking into the wrong end of a 357 magnum. The standoff lasted all night and in the morning the young doctor got into his convertible and took them for a wild ride around the area until he ran out of gas and then, finally, out in a cornfield, he gave up. He was taken to the vets hospital where they gave him a series of shock treatments and then months of therapy. He was released and went back to college for more training and came out as a surgeon. He served years of service as a well-respected surgeon in military hospitals and also in private practice. We lost him to a heart attack a few years back.
A few days after the incident happened, I asked the sheriff how he knew that the doctor would not pull the trigger and I will never forget his answer. He said that they were there to protect life, not to take it. One wrong move from the sheriff or his deputy and there would have been a lot of blood shed. That is the kind of leadership we had in our county then and you have just re-elected now. Thank you.