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The assault weapon cartoon on Dec. 18 was a disservice to the current gun control conversation.

A fully automatic assault rifle, i.e. a rifle which fires multiple rounds with one trigger pull at the rate of 650-750 rounds per minute (as pictured in the cartoon) is classified as a machine gun and has been outlawed for years. This type of weapon was not used in Newtown nor any other school shooting. Such a cartoon at best is mis-information. At worst, it is fear mongering and an attempt to exploit the fear of readers to promote sweeping gun control measures.

When Vice President Biden offers his proposal in January, I hope we all take the time to understand exactly what weapons are part of his proposal and whether the guns are used for hunting, sport, etc. Only then can we distinguish between weapons that ought to be legal and those which should be restricted. — Lauren Green, Medford

I am not an advocate for medical marijuana. In fact, I am against it. But when is it illegal to have money in your pocket or shipped to others through the mail? If I am a law-abiding citizen and happen to procure some of this currency through other means, such as stores, banks or any other means, does that make me a criminal? And does that give law enforcement the right to seize my money if a "drug sniffer" dog smells this currency on me?

I can see if this money was shipped along with the drugs, but the absence of real contraband other than that the money "smells" like marijuana, I fail to see the real crime. Yes, it is a lot of money to ship through the Postal Service or other means, and it does smell fishy as to where it came from, but I guess that is the burden of proof for the IRS and the state to come up with to ascertain what means the money came from.

From now on, Grandma, no cash in my Christmas card. — Andy Arebalo, Medford

Just six weeks after the election, Democratic activists are in figurative full throat leaving the rest of us feeling like the guy, memorialized by The Bobs, who had enough of his activist girlfriend's causes, proclaiming, "Pay some attention to me. The Earth is fine. Let it be." Case in point is MacCracken and McCarthy (Dec. 8 MT) who commit every error scientists are supposed to avoid:

One summer does not make a drought. Review the climate of the 1930s decade that caused extreme poverty and real Westward demographic shifts chronicled by Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath.

Recently, forest fires have burned 5 million to 10 million acres annually. This year's fire season cannot have been worse than the 25 million to 40 million annual acres consumed before current fire suppression policy, but which are part of the record.

Liquids fill their container. Long-term level differences or rates of level changes cannot be sustained without changes in the height of the container (land).

The last hurricanes to hit the Northeast were in the '50s as the planet cooled from the peak of the '30s.

Activists try to limit freedom, decrease the quality of life, control actions, and grow government while ignoring science and history. I'm tired already. — Donald C. Young, Medford

In the Dec. 18 MT, I read that Obama wants to eliminate the cost of living for Social Security recipients. That won't affect the rich, but I did a few numbers this morning and here's what I came up with.

In 2012, the "average" Social Security check was $1,230 per month. If you give them a 1.7 percent increase, that equals $20.91.

The current "average" salary (2011-12) for Congress is $14,500 a month. If you give them a 1.7 percent increase, that equals $246.50. In one month, Congress gets almost as much as a Social Security recipient receives in one year. You do the math.

Who can more afford to pay more taxes?

I wonder if anyone in Congress could live on what Social Security pays us. We paid into Social Security, so it's not a "welfare program" by any means.

Please find another way to balance the budget — not on the backs of the retired Americans. — Suzi Collins, Eagle Point