Meditation improves lives

In regard to Julie Watson's article Jan. 20 in the Mail Tribune titled "Marines studying mindfulness-based training," a friend recently reminded us that Kamikaze pilots in World War II also practiced meditation and mindfulness training before their suicide missions. The data from the "studies" at Camp Pendleton may show that meditation after stressful experiences such as "being immersed in a mock Afghan village with screaming actors and controlled blasts" indeed reduces PTSD and increases clear thinking during combat.

Mindfulness meditation can be done as a non-spiritual practice, and doctors at Mayo Clinic have been researching the benefits of this practice for some time with growing evidence of its health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, dated Feb. 2013, "Mindful meditation may cut risk and severity of the common cold ... it may enhance memory and learning, decrease feelings of stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, help control blood pressure, decrease anger and improve overall well-being." For centuries, Buddhists have practiced mindfulness meditation to increase awareness and compassion. We are now learning that there are many reasons to practice this meditation, and one might hope that our goal would be to become better human beings — not better killers. — Mary Lou Heumann and Vanya Sloan, Ashland

Enact GMO ban

On Jan. 2, about 125 Jackson County residents rallied at the courthouse and elections office with an initiative for the banning of genetically modified crops. They had well over the required amount of signatures and now are preparing for an education campaign to ensure what would be a victory for all residents of Jackson County.

The next scheduled ballot would be in May of 2014, which by way of the wording would allow two more growing seasons that GMO crops could be grown here. I am all about preserving our freedom, but in view of the imminent danger of this technology to the integrity of heirloom and organic crops as well as bee populations and the purity of our land and water, I strongly urge us all to get educated and plead with our county commissioners to pass an ordinance enacting the ban as soon as possible, rather than wait until the spring of 2014.

There is so much information available on the internet in the form of documentaries and studies and links of GMO crops (with their codependency on chemical agriculture) to modern diseases and environmental decline. Please, let us influence our commissioners: Pass an ordinance now. — Daniel Gregg, Ashland

Know your weapons

Reading the letters to the editor about sheriffs, assault rifles and assault weapons, most people are writing them just to jack their jaws. They don't know the difference between assault rifles and assault weapons. Assault rifles are used for military combat and are fully automatic. Pull the trigger back, hold it and fire one to 100 rounds in just seconds.

Assault weapons are semiautomatic. You have to pull the trigger every time to fire a round.

Probably 50 percent of us hunters use assault weapons; we call them semiautomatics. Remington 740-741-742, Winchester 100s et al. are all semiautomatic. If you put a wooden stock and wooden forearm on an AR-15 and take the pistol grip off, people wouldn't say a word or know the difference. In the opposite, take a Remington 742 and take the wooden stock and wooden forearm off and use the metal that's on an AR-15, people would be scared and call the law. That's why the sheriffs are staying with the Second Amendment and not Obama. If it is left up to Obama, we won't have semiautomatic and/or assault weapons to hunt with. Come on, folks, get your head out of where the sun don't shine. — Harold Saunders, Jacksonville

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