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What an amazing compliment by way of the editorial "What's not to like?" regarding the new Health and Human Services facility. I am honored by the recognition. However, I want clarify that I did not do this alone.

I introduced the concept, but this is a team effort. It has been guided, approved and supported by the Board of Commissioners and Budget Committee, and involves the work of many individuals.

Health and Human Services Director Mark Orndoff and staff have done notable work organizing service elements of the project. Dee Anne Everson of United Way, Bill Thorndike of Medford Fabrication, and other community members have provided invaluable input, as well.

The project management team, including Rick Isner, Jackson County facilities maintenance superintendent, and Harvey Bragg, Jackson County senior deputy county administrator, as well as the contractor, J.E. Dunn, and architect, ORW, and many others all have done remarkable work to bring this project toward reality. While I feel a great sense of pride in your acknowledgment of me personally, it's even more necessary and relevant to recognize the efforts of the many aforementioned individuals. Jackson County is grateful, honored and deserving of the support because of the work of many. — Danny Jordan, Jackson County administrator

The pundits have dismissed Rep. Richardson's proposal to have some individuals in each school to be trained in the use of firearms, without a reasoned study of the situation.

As a retired teacher, principal, superintendent, I see much merit in the concept. Yes, I know there may accidents due to stray bullets, but police have the same problem.

No school building can be made absolutely secure, unless society goes into a bunker mentality.

Give Rep. Richardson's suggestion a fair hearing. — Stan Grout, Medford

With due respect, Rep. Dennis Richardson is part of the problem. He is advocating what amounts to an arms race.

Where is it going to stop? Our public officials should be advocating a de-escalation of the situation.

What kind of a message do we send when we purchase military-type SWAT vehicles, when our public buildings are protected by armed guards, when we refuse to limit or prohibit the sale of semiautomatic weapons, when we refuse to adequately fund mental health programs?

We need to move beyond the bunker mentality. We owe it to our children and grandchildren. — Stuart E. Foster, Medford

Rep. Dennis Richardson is likely suffering from a severe case of Rambo-ism manifesting itself with delusions. — Mike Mooney, Ashland

God bless Rep. Dennis Richardson for his unabashed courage to explain how to prevent massacres by deranged people. An armed teacher could have saved some of those murdered. Guns don't kill. People kill.

Every day people are murdered by other means. This time of year we'll read about drunk drivers "accidentally" killing someone. They don't mean to, which makes them different from massacre killers, but the outcome is the same.

Another thing I can't "wrap my mind around" is why there is so much sadness when a mass killing occurs, but none when every day many more than 20 children are killed by abortion. I believe President Obama showed real emotion when he struggled through his press conference, talking about the loss of the precious children. Why doesn't he feel the same about an unborn child? With today's technology, we now know that it's not just a "blob" inside the womb. It is a live baby.

To paraphrase Gov. Huckabee, "We have a new, different culture in America today. We no longer want God to interfere." So, how are we doing on our own without him? — Willa Johnson, Phoenix

What a perfect solution Rep. Dennis Richardson has proposed. Arm the teachers. Why not arm the janitors, the school bus drivers and the crossing guards while you're at it?

Every time there is a senseless act of gun violence the gun lobby says we need more guns. Shame on Rep. Richardson for suggesting that if he had been at the school and "carrying," he could have saved those 20 innocent children and six adults. What bravado. What poor timing and taste on his part.

Congress failed to renew the ban on assault weapons and look at the results. We don't need pistol-packing politicians, we need parents stepping up and demanding better laws and less loose talk. — H. Johnson, Jacksonville

With the recent tragic shootings, people will start talking about gun control again. But that is like treating the symptom rather than the problem. Even the shooters are but a symptom of a deeper problem: a sick society.

The Bible says in Romans 1:28: "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice."

As a nation, we are now beginning to suffer the effects of turning away from God. A nation or a world without God turns into hell on Earth. We think we can figure out what is wrong with us if we just work on it long enough. We will all suffer from that folly, believers along with unbelievers, as God abandons us.

"The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you." — 2 Chronicles 15:2. — Linda Hackwell, Central Point

Politicians in Washington are great at hand-wringing, lowering flags and laying wreaths after unthinkable tragedies such as the recent Connecticut massacre. In truth, though, these same politicians are cowards when it comes to raising their hands in Congress to pass legislation barring the use of assault rifles and other automatic weapons of destruction.

Hiding behind the wording of the Second Amendment, which came into being more than 200 years ago, these cowards put American lives, even kindergarten children, at risk from these weapons of destruction.

Although written about in the Constitution, state militias no longer exist. Slavery is a thing of the past.

Women are accorded equal rights with men. None of these conditions existed when the Constitution was written. They have disappeared.

If not for the rantings of the National Rifle Association, what makes the right to own semiautomatic weapons holy? After catastrophes in Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon, isn't it time to make semiautomatic weapon ownership disappear? If politicians don't have the guts to pass new weapons laws they, too, should be replaced. — Ruth Israel, Medford

"Every American should have a gun big enough to shoot them down," said my grandfather after a fly-over on the Fourth of July. A refugee from World War II Europe, he had many reasons to admire our country's founding principles.

The Second Amendment was written so the people could defend themselves against tyrants, be they lords, kings or governments (corporations). Reactionary gun legislation will only make the weak, weaker and the vulnerable, more vulnerable.

The health and safety of our society starts with each one of us and our responsibility to each other. Are we diligent in our relationships?

"Treat others as you would want to be treated." "To lay one's life down for another, there is no greater love than this." You don't need new legislation. — Tom Espinosa, Medford

Arming school officials to pick off mentally ill, body-armored assassins falls far short of a reasonable policy to stop these massacres. I would prefer legislation that budgets toward universal mental health care, a balanced approach to gun licensure and a ban on assault weapons.

Let's see a sane discussion about heaviliy taxing violent video games, TV and movie entertainment that glorifies guns, explosions and mass killing. A quick survey of the entertainment we purchase in this culture reveals how much we relish death.

An enlightened legislature, executive and judicial government might work toward educating our youth to scorn violence and choose peace. Issuing revolvers to school secretaries just thickens the deadly web of violence. — Sam Alvord, Pinehurst school administrator, Lincoln on the Greensprings