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Owen White published an article in Southernoregonag/Upper Rogue Independent on the benefits of GMOs, "Taking the Emotion out of GMOs." Let's put the emotion back in.

GMO crops are harmful to human and animal health, require more and deadlier herbicides, funnel money out of the county to benefit corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta and cause genetic contamination of organic, conventional and garden crops, particularly vulnerable in the narrow valleys of Jackson County.

Natural farming has developed better traits, such as drought tolerance and disease resistance, than GMOs, at a fraction of the cost, while drastically reducing water pollution, running about equal on profit margin, and putting more money into the hands of local labor.

Despite White's suggestions that GMOs increase yields to feed a growing population, it turns out that over time their yields decrease, while natural farming yields remain good and even increase soil fertility for future productivity.

Jackson County is home to relatively few but productive organic farms, but many more non-GMO conventional farms. Only a relatively few GMO test plots are threatening contamination of the rest. These are reasons to feel something. Put the emotion back in. Ban the growing of GMOs in Jackson County. — Gregg Marchese, Ashland

Having been a law enforcement officer for 13 years, I feel I have a somewhat advantaged perspective on the pros and cons concerning assault weapons in the hands of the civilian population. Some believe the solution to mass shootings is not gun control, but to arm our citizenry as a line of defense.

Police officers are highly trained in how to react to combat situations. Even so, we repeatedly read about these adrenaline-flowing shooting situations where each officer involved discharges multiple rounds at the assailant. A time of high stress indeed!

Now envision a crowded movie theater where the assailant and several armed, non-trained patrons are blasting away at each other. Police officers arriving on the scene encounter multiple armed individuals. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

Law enforcement officers are increasingly facing criminals, and mentally disturbed individuals, possessing these high-performance assault weapons — many loaded with bullets specifically designed to penetrate the protective vests the officers wear. The environment our officers now operate in is far more dangerous than the one I faced years ago. Why any police executive would oppose the removal of these cop-killing weapons from our society completely eludes me. — Skip Stokes, Jacksonville

To preface this letter, I think that the Mail Tribune has some of the finest writers and editors anywhere. Among them, Sarah Lemon, Mark Freeman, David Smigelski, Mandy Valencia, Buffy Pollock, Paul Fattig and Ryan Pfeil, just to mention a few. I have one problem. Why does the Mail Tribune publish horrendous animal abuse stories that are picked up off the AP wire?

I'm noting the story from Salem that appeared Wednesday, Jan. 23. My concern isn't for myself — although I know I'll suffer nightmares for the next few weeks — but rather the animals. What if another sick individual happens to read this and embarks upon a copycat crime?

I'd like to be the voice of the innocent, helpless animals that may have been placed in harm's way by publishing this story. "Please don't give bad people ideas about harming us." To see the wide-eyed fear and lack of understanding in the eyes of that small dog broke my heart. "Why me? Are you going to hurt me, too?"

Who could be so cruel? The truly unfortunate thing is, more could. Please focus on the positive, people helping animals — rather than harming them. — Sue Webb, Eagle Point