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Nowhere in the Constitution does it grant the right to commit mass murder, so we're crazy to allow the sale of military-style assault weapons designed for that purpose. Some gun advocates, including Rep. Sal Esquivel, claim they're needed to protect us from government tyranny. Such bravado! I can just see them with their play-soldier rifles taking on the U.S. military. They'd last about two minutes.

By "tyranny" they obviously mean President Obama, because we didn't hear such crazy talk before he took office — not even when assault weapons were actually banned in 1994. Ever since his election, Republicans have attacked him for things they made up and accused liberals of being un-American, but nothing brings out the ugly like considering sane gun laws. No matter how much they resent having a black president, they should dial down the not-so-veiled threats and stick to spreading stupid lies about him.

The far right needs to get a grip. Real Americans know that political opponents aren't enemies, people with opposing views aren't evil or unpatriotic, guns aren't a measure of our manhood and for all its faults, the political process still beats a shootout. — Michael Steely, Medford

It can be dark in the early morning, and with the arrival of daylight saving time, it's more so. For those ambitious souls who like to go out for a run in the early hours of the day, please remember that it can be difficult for motorists to see you in enough time to avoid a dreaded encounter.

I can't tell you how many times I've been surprised at how difficult it can be to see pedestrians and joggers wearing dark, non-reflective clothing, and I'm always thankful when I see someone who has taken the effort to make themselves even a bit more noticeable. Please take the time to help motorists see you. All the exercise in the world may not help you a bit if we get tangled up. A little bit of light or reflective clothing goes a long way to keeping us both from running into each other in a bad way. — David Tucker, Medford

The narrow valleys and unique topography and soil types of Jackson County make agriculture challenging in some ways. Organic and other forms of ecological agriculture, including home, school and community gardening, require buffer distances so as to remain uncontaminated by wind and insect pollination from nearby varieties.

GMO crops, which are cultivated in the county by the Swiss-based Syngenta corporation, are another form of pollen contamination that needs buffer distances in order to keep heirloom and traditional seed varieties pure. Those buffer distances do not exist in much of Jackson County's agriculture areas. The heavy applications of chemical herbicides that accompany GMO agriculture care not for buffers at all, but contaminate ground and surface water, soil, air, bees, butterflies, animals, humans and the environment.

We know other ways to manage pests and crop disease without poisoning Jackson County. Agro-ecological farming is being done successfully right here and around the world, producing record yields, drought tolerance and pest resistance. GMOs are not needed. Look for a ballot measure in 2014, and vote Yes on 15-119 to ban the growing of GMO crops in Jackson County. — Gregg Marchese, Ashland