Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance specialist Doyle Summers, whose sharp eyes spotted sunlight glinting off a car bumper down a steep slope off Old Highway 99 Tuesday morning, leading to the rescue of injured motorist Lois Evelyn Hamilton, whose car left the road and tumbled down the bank. Rescuers extricated her from the vehicle and took her to Providence Medford Medical Center. If Summers had not happened to be working on the remote stretch of highway at the right time, the outcome could have been tragic.

Jeers — to anonymous threats against an employee of the environmental organization KS Wild and his wife. The threats began with a flier posted at the Roseburg Gold Show Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The flier, which listed the employee's address and phone number, also appeared on social media sites on the Internet and in an Applegate Valley store. Commenters using anonymous handles on social media left posts referring to "open season," suggesting the employee should leave the area and saying "eco-wacs" and politicians should be "shot on sight."

KS Wild and other groups support restricting logging, suction dredge gold mining and other resource-dependent industries in the name of conservation, and resentment toward the organization is understandable. But threats of physical violence are completely unacceptable.

Cheers — to the Medford Police Advisory Committee for making the right call and rejecting breed-specific language in any ordinance aimed at dangerous dogs. Concern has been raised over dog attacks, and pit bull-type breeds have been involved in some cases. But dog experts point out that any breed of dog can be dangerous if not properly trained and socialized, and singling out one or more breeds as more dangerous than others is unfair. Dog attacks are a problem, and owners of dangerous dogs should be held responsible, but an ordinance should focus on behavior, not breed.

Cheers — to the news that federal drug authorities finally will allow long-delayed scientific research into medical uses of marijuana after years of obstruction. A University of Arizona medical school researcher wants to find out whether marijuana can help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress — a study sanctioned long ago by the Food and Drug Administration. But federal rules say all marijuana used in such research can come only from a single government-run farm in Mississippi, which has been hostile to any proposals that might show beneficial uses of the drug.

Federal prohibition of marijuana use is increasingly being flouted by state laws legalizing medical marijuana, and federal resistance to well-designed scientific study is not only unjustifiable, it prevents patients from receiving accurate information. Supporters of medical marijuana make many claims for its effectiveness, but evaluating those claims is impossible without solid research.

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