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A shameful record

I commend the excellent article by Darryl Edington (March 10) urging that the U.S. sign the ban on the use and manufacture of antipersonnel landmines. If we wonder why we have refused to give up this obscene weapon which kills on average 800 victims a month and wounds 1,000 more, may I suggest two reasons:

In 1995, General John Shalikashvili, Army chief of staff, argued that we needed these mines to protect American soldiers. What he failed to tell us was that over 100,000 American soldiers have been killed by these landmines, that 35 percent of American casualties in Vietnam were from stepping on their own mines, that in the case of the lst Marine Division 57 percent of its casualties in the last month of 1968 were from our own mines and booby traps.

This leads to a second reason: landmines are big business. Minneapolis' Honeywell (Alliant Technology) would have lost a &

36;700 million contract landmine sale to the Middle East; U.S. Textron would have lost a &

36;1.5 billion contract to develop new mines; General Electric would have lost a &

36;667,000 order for selling mines to the Department of Defense. This is a shameful record. ' Donald A. Wells, Medford

Just say no

Let me get this straight. Because I believe in normal marriage, I'm a bigot. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Marriage is not primarily to benefit adults, but to provide for the needs of children. Research is unequivocal: Children do best with a mother and a father. Government should not encourage the establishment of motherless or fatherless households by sanctioning same-sex marriage.

Everybody knows and many have experienced the emotional wounds that result from growing up without a father or mother at home. Rosie O'Donnell has spoken of the pain of losing her mother to an early death. Yet she deprives her own children of a father, because she wants the pleasures of motherhood.

— Two mommies cannot make up for a missing daddy, and vice versa. To insist otherwise is to embrace a lie.

Our only recourse from tyrannical judges is to amend our state and federal constitutions to maintain marriage as it is. We need to contact our state and federal representatives and insist they get to work on these amendments.

We should be no more intimidated by the insults of the other side than we would by a toddler's tantrums. Gently, patiently, and firmly, just say no. ' Lynn Barton, Medford

Where's the aroma?

With so many in-store bakeries you'd think that those delicious odors, which would entice sales, would be present. Such is not the case. Have we become so innovative that we've taken the smell out of bakery ovens? ' Maxine Scott, Ashland

Rights are inherent

The word people appears in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and 10th Amendments. It is reasonable to conclude that it carries the same meaning throughout.

U.S. vs. Miller: Bootleggers Jack Miller and Frank Layton were arrested for carrying an unregistered sawed-off shotgun in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934. The Court did not throw out their claim that as individual U.S. citizens (not militia or National Guard members) they had a right to bear arms. The court found that a shotgun with barrel length of less than 18 was not a valid militia weapon. The Miller decision also includes propositions about the well-regulated militia.

U.S. vs. Cruickshank: R. Burgoyne (MT March 14) claims that this decision implies no right to keep and bear arms. He conveniently fails to reveal what the court did state. The right to assemble and the right to bear arms were not granted by the Constitution, said the court. The court also said that these rights were fundamental human rights which long predated the Constitution. The First and Second Amendments prevent Congress from interfering with those rights, but amendments do not create rights. ' C. J. Wiesenfarth, Eagle Point

Compelled to respond

I feel compelled to respond to a letter to the editor entitled Distorted fantasy (MT March 6). Distorted fantasy was referring to Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.

Yes, many believers are excited about this movie. I am only one of many. I am ecstatic and grateful that people all over the world will be moved by the Holy Spirit through this movie, and God's message of Jesus' unconditional love will reach millions of lost souls.

Anyone can go on the Internet and read the reviews of the Bible scholars who have seen this movie and see that they concur with Gibson's rendition of the crucifixion of Christ. Don't just take heir word for it. The truth is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John's gospels, which were written 30 to 40 years after the crucifixion (not really a great many years after the suggested occurrences). Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. Through the grace of God, may you realize that our Lord's suffering was on our behalf and his sacrifice was our gift of salvation. ' Andrea Wolf, Gold Hill

Stand and fight

Regarding the letter from Joel Turgesen, Innocent people caught, March 12: If Pete Seda flees the country to escape U.S. justice (the fairest in the world), how can they be innocent people caught? Appears to me they have something to hide. If you are truly innocent, stand and fight. ' Gary Endicott, Trail

Kids thrive at Oak Grove

In response to the letter from Mike and Carolyn Walker, I totally agree. I was also offended by the remarks made by parents interviewed about the boundary changes. I have two children at Oak Grove Elementary. They are both thriving.

The staff and teachers are wonderful and have created a very positive atmosphere for the children. Yes, there are children who come from homes where the parents are not as involved. You will find that at any school.

I think that these parents should consider giving Oak Grove a chance before making a decision. They may find that Oak Grove is a better fit for their child, you never know. Oak Grove has a lot to offer and I for one am very pleased with the job they do on a daily basis.

If I ever bought a home, I would try to keep my children in the Oak Grove district because my kids are happy there and doing very well academically. ' Doreen Pettipas, Medford

Support Boundary Committee

I have been closely following the Mail Tribune's representation of the Boundary Committee.

1. When was the last time you came into a classroom to observe the amazing teachers and staff of the Medford 549c schools? The committee is doing its best to balance out our schools and create neighborhoods.

2. Why pit one school against the other? We need to support all our schools as a unified district. My children attend Oak Grove and McLoughlin. Just because some schools aren't pretty and new doesn't mean what's inside is bad. Oak Grove is a great school. State report cards don't see the human element!

3. Are you volunteering your time to make your schools better? I moved six times when I was in school. Moving gave me the ability to make friends, adapt to new places, jobs, etc.

4. Would you keep your children out of all outside school activities, sports, music, church, because kids from other schools were involved? I've been very impressed at the attention to detail the committee has taken to assure the integrity of each school, the needs of the children, buildings, teachers, special programs. Why not spend the time fighting the cutbacks! ' Marjorie Murch, Medford

Rhetoric ratchets up

It seems that the political rhetoric keeps ratcheting up and it's becoming harder and harder for liberals and conservatives to find any common ground. I think that perhaps wanting to see an end to vicious attack politics might be that common ground.

Liberal Democrats apparently think all conservative Republicans are completely selfish and totally consumed with their own well-being.

Conservative Republicans apparently believe that all Democrats want to have the government forcibly take all their worldly goods and distribute it to lazy, dirty addicts who always vote for Democrats to continue this largesse.

Somewhere in between those two extremes we must find a way to have a reasonable discussion of the issues instead of lobbing verbal grenades at one another. Hitler's evil plan was to divide and conquer, and I wonder if it's part of Osama bin Laden's as well.

Who benefits from our internal strife? We are, after all, citizens of a great, free nation and I feel certain that we all want to keep it that way. ' Martin Sullivan, Brookings

Stay alert for clean air

DEQ is reviewing thousands of comments and petition signatures they received during the public comment period opposing their plan to remove the industrial emission offset requirement that has effectively limited increases of harmful industrial emissions in our communities.

DEQ admits they did not expect such strong community outcry and are not saying when they will forward their recommendation on to the Environmental Quality Commission for approval. It may not be until summer or fall.

DEQ, don't think that we will forget what you, at the bidding of some polluting industry, are attempting to do to our air.

We must stay alert as to when DEQ does make their recommendation to the EQC, and have a strong showing at that EQC hearing. What happens in the Rogue Valley may affect air quality struggles across our state and nation.

Let us be an example for others fighting for clean air. If you are not on the Keep It Clean e-mail list, contact chanotin@aol.com for action alerts. Also see Rogueair.com for more information. ' Gaylene Hurley, Medford

Almost speechless

The story in the MT on March 10 concerning Home Depot left me (almost) speechless. The powers that be in this region and in this state constantly tout their new, business-friendly attitude. That works until someone actually takes them up on it and wants to build something.

Home Depot cannot find a workable location. Personally I strongly favor the old Medite site. It has long been zoned industrial. Duh? Has any property ever been re-zoned, ever?

The roadways in the area, Highways 99, 238 and 62 have been modernized to carry us into the future. Sure, we'd lose one parcel of industrial property in an ocean of undeveloped land. Home Depot seems compatible with the mall and the business community on Highway 99. It means jobs and tax revenue for Medford.

Do we really need three hardware stores within a half mile on Crater Lake Highway? The area west of Interstate 5 would be better served and there would be some traffic relief for Highway 62.

So, to the government entities who continue to point their thumbs southward, shame on you. ' Barbara Donneaud, Central Point

Provide empirical data

As the father of one of the 17 children slated to be moved to South next year as a result of the Cherry Lane to Hillcrest boundary change, I would challenge both your editorial writers and the Boundary Committee to publish empirical data that proves conclusively that the proposed boundary change will somehow benefit South, either racially or socioeconomically.

Were the argument to be made with actual data, I think we would all concur that with roughly 2,000 students at South, an influx of 17 kids from North next year would be, at best, statistically insignificant. If we considered the hundreds of transfers in and out of the North/South high school system every year, and the randomness of the racial composition and socioeconomic status of those transfers, most reasonable people would have to ask: Why bother to change the boundary at all?

Instead of editorially patting me on the head and telling me the Boundary Committee knows best, please get together with the Boundary Committee, publish the compelling empirical data on which they based their decision, and win the argument with logic. ' Glen Rountree, Medford

Another attack on veterans

Last week, the Senate refused to help our veterans again. This latest attack on the men and women who are being wounded in Iraq was a refusal to spend &

36;2.7 billion for veterans' health care.

Every day brave American soldiers die and get horribly injured and politicians declare that they support our troops. But when it comes to spending a few bucks to help our veterans, the same politicians who send them to war won't spend a little more to care for them after their return.

So far, America has pledged over &

36;176 billion to invade and rebuild Iraq. To put this in perspective, what would we think if the politicians spent &

36;176 to take their friends to dinner; then were unwilling to spend &

36;2.70 on the tip?

This highly inadequate tip doesn't begin to recognize the sacrifice that injured veterans have made. It seems the patriotic big-spenders in Congress and the White House are just cheap when it comes to supporting our soldiers after they've done their duty and need health care. I hope the voters will remember on election day Gordon Smith's no vote for veterans' benefits when he piously declares his devotion to American soldiers. ' Brenda Rosch, Phoenix

Gun rights are individual

In reply to R. Burgoyne,

letters to the editor March 3, Well regulated militia, may I suggest he research the following: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court ruled in October 2001 in United States vs. Emerson that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The court concluded: We have found no historical evidence the Second Amendment was intended to convey militia power to the states ... or applies only to members of a select militia ...All of the evidence indicates the Second Amendment, like other parts of the Bill of Rights applies to and protects individual Americans. We find that the history of the Second Amendment reinforces the plain meaning of its text, namely that it protects individual Americans in their right to keep and bear arms whether or not they are a member of a select militia or performing active military service or training. We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights.

It is obvious from the debates in the Constitutional Convention that the militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense, i.e. American citizens. ' G. Allen, Jacksonville

Voting for Bush

This is in response to the gentleman who is searching for someone who will actually vote for President Bush. Look no further.

I will gladly and proudly vote to re-elect George Bush as president. He is as decent and as honest a human being as any who has held the office.

To all things there's a season. War has been brought to our people. President Bush clearly understands that he must be a war president. He is the right man in the right place at the right time.

Make no mistake. The defense of this nation is the most serious issue we face in this election. All other issues pale to insignificance if we falter in our resolve to defeat the terrorists.

The gentleman I'm responding to asks you to fire a successful commander-in-chief in the middle of a war. That is folly. History would never forgive us that mistake. ' Doug Dusenberry, Central Point

Supporting Peter Buckley

I remember a few years ago when I first heard Peter Buckley speak, early in his campaign for Congress. I was mesmerized by his new perspectives on issues. I could hardly believe he wanted to be in politics.

Peter speaks in human terms, thinks in human terms and understands that the economy should serve the people, that corporations should serve the people, that health care is a right for all people and that we have the power and intelligence to change our institutions to meet our needs. How refreshing! I went to work for him immediately and forked out hard-earned cash to support his message even though I knew Greg Walden was impossible to beat.

Now, Peter is running for the House seat once held by our beloved Nancy Peterson. I support Peter and think we will all be the better for his intelligence and breath-of-fresh-air ideas in our Legislature. ' Diane M. Mason, Ashland

Heart goes out to Buckley

Peter Buckley has supported the needs of disabled in the community. With a kind and open heart he attended a rally in opposition to the drastic cuts for disabled care proposed by the legislature in Measure 30 and even spoke to the media to voice his concern. My heart goes out to Mr. Buckley. ' Bryan Haynes, Ashland