I just read the article about the mentally ill patient who was shot and killed by Jackson County sheriff's deputies.

I myself am a schizophrenic, and I think police officers need more training in mental illness awareness.

I think the incident in Central Point was a tragic event, and I feel that if the deputies had been trained better to deal with Mr. Vincent, the situation would have had a different outcome.

I have had to be brought to the mental health ward at Rogue Valley Medical Center by police officers before, and they treated me almost as if I was a criminal instead of somebody with an illness. I found myself handcuffed by officers who were ready to draw their weapons at any time. I found out later that they even mocked me as I suffered in a locked room awaiting evaluation.

I have also been treated fairly by officers who seemed more prepared to deal with my situation. I sincerely hope we get more awareness in this area.

? Grant Helsel, Phoenix
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I have to present this question to everyone: Why in the world does South Medford High School come to the Talent skate park for a competition, when they have a new one in Medford itself?

I have spoken to the kids in Talent who use the skate park all the time and they are feeling pretty left out. They thought that everyone was invited to this competition — no, just South Medford High School. Not very fair, is it? I am defending the kids in Talent who use the park all the time and needed to be part of something exciting. They are very good and should have every bit of the glory that South Medford High School has. I hope everyone feels good that some kids were left out.

? Anna Gilliam, Talent
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Flooded with ballots

It seems the success of voting by mail requires a shift in voter thinking and campaign strategies. Kathy Beckett's office was absolutely flooded with last-minute ballots. Even without cranky computers, the last-minute glut was troublesome. Although Jackson County's problems were extreme, numerous Oregon counties experienced delayed results.

Why do people wait so long to vote? Procrastination is to blame, in part, but what about candidates who save the bulk of heir campaign budgets for the final days before election? What about news media whose election coverage peaks a couple days before the big day?

Unlike any place in the nation, Oregonians have the opportunity to study the issues and candidates and vote at their leisure. Yet campaigning is still conducted as if we all trek to the polls on the same day.

Why not time the peak campaigning and media attention with the arrival of the Voters? Pamphlet in mailboxes? Why not conduct a statewide campaign, supported by all government entities, encouraging early voting and a few words about No. 2 pencils at the same time? Such a campaign might cost a few bucks but would be far less expensive than paying workers overtime to handle the overflow of last-minute ballots.

? Mary Korbulic, Grants Pass
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Reason to give thanks

Your Thanksgiving guest columnist, Janice England Watson, has a remarkably limited imagination if she can't understand that in this melting pot nation, people have myriad reasons to give thanks that have nothing to do with the original intent of our fractious forefathers or her personal, Christian political agenda. She has her reasons for celebrating; in the spirit of the season, she should stuff a drumstick in it and humbly consider that others have theirs.

? John Gaffey, Ashland
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Dubya knows

I guess it's good that they gave the job to Dubya, otherwise we'd never have found out where that extra $1.3 trillion is hidden. He seems to be the only one who knows where it is.

? Guy Parker, Prospect

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