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No need for firearms

Mark Twain once questioned: I don't know why bow hunters need the protection of firearms. They never get out of their trucks. ' John Walsh , Ashland

Retail Scrooges

Who are these self-appointed, sanctimonious Scrooges who have decided for me that I don't want a Wal-Mart Superstore in the valley? Whatever happened to the idea of free enterprise and competition?

In the free enterprise system, competition is what makes the consumer's dollar go farther and helps control overall cost to those consumers. Those who can't or more likely won't compete in pricing are doomed to failure.

I for one am tired of these self-proclaimed defenders of the little guy determining for me where I'll shop and what prices I'll pay. Frankly, I've shopped at the store in Grants Pass and found it to be cheaper with more variety than other stores.

And lo and behold, other stores including Fred Meyer are located adjacent to this scourge of retail capitalism. Could it be that Freddies is now predisposed to price items closer to Wal-Mart's range? Can you say compete?

— Anyone who has a problem with Wal-Mart ' fine, great ' don't shop there. If they're truly evil they won't survive. But don't try to dictate where other working-class people spend their money. ' Linda Langhoff, Medford

Rephrasing stupid questions

Mr. Varble (and editors) ' I read your column today; lots of laughs as usual.

Re: Queryspeak, I want to remind you (or perhaps inform you) of the reason why Don Rumsfeld's way of speaking is so popular among listeners. In asking himself a stupid question, he is only rephrasing the stupid question put to him by a journalist attempting to sound serious.

You might want to consider for your next Sunday column a cute name for the journalista method of commentary in the form of a question.

Questionatorial, perhaps? ' Duane Morgan, Grants Pass

Standing by with pride

In answer to the question Where are the Women in White and their placards, this Woman in White is standing by with pride as her president, his staff and our soldiers do their stressful and time-consuming jobs, rather than providing fodder to the enemy so the enemy may continue their terrorist attacks on our homesick soldiers. ' Judy Nathan, Eagle Point

Supporting ski expansion

I am writing in support of the Mount Ashland expansion project. I've been a ski patroller for 13 years, and have seen firsthand how effectively the sport of skiing and snowboarding teaches the public the benefits of our natural environment. And it does so with minimal impact to the natural resource itself.

With the growth of Southern Oregon, both in the past few years and, more importantly, in the years to come, it is incumbent on our communities to provide for this growth with planned expansion in its infrastructure. That is the reason for the expansion of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the new Lithia Amphitheater, the expansion of area YMCAs, Rogue Valley Medical Center's expansion, the redesigned south and north Medford interchanges, the new libraries.

Mount Ashland is no different than any of these. It also needs to be expanded in order to continue providing a safe and appropriate place for our growing community to play in the snow so we can teach all our new neighbors to love and care for the natural environment that makes this such a special place to call home. ' Deborah Ameen, Medford

Violating the spirit

I had a letter published in support of Mike Hawash and against his detention as a material witness. I was shocked, stunned and saddened by his recent confession to take up arms against the United States in Afghanistan.

I am still upset with his detention as a material witness only to be charged with a crime afterwards. I feel this violates the spirit of the Bill of Rights.

Another young man was charged this same week after being held since March under the Material Witness Act. I do not want to live in a country that violates its own principles of freedom in pursuit of safety. The ends do not justify the means in the case of Mike Hawash or anyone else.

The Material Witness Act may be of some use to our government, but let's not use it to detain people who are suspected of a crime. Let's have these people investigated while they are free and presumed innocent until they are charged and prosecuted. How are we supposed to trust a government that operates in secrecy or with deception? ' Paul Sage, Jacksonville

Treated with respect

I worked as a registered nurse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 1991-1993, at King Faisal Hospital and Research Center. I worked in diverse surroundings, alongside friends and co-workers from many different countries and with many different dialects and interests.

I was treated by co-workers and Saudis I met on a professional, business and social level with respect at all times. I lived by their rules, which I was aware of before hand. My experience was very positive. ' Jean Johnson, RN, Medford