In the events that have happened this past weekend, I cannot express the sadness that struck me when I read the article on Jovan Belcher (12-2, A1, “Linebacker writes two tragic endings”).
I am not the greatest football fan and certainly not a personal friend of Belcher or Kasandra Perkins, but I can relate to loss of a friend to death.
I offer my deepest compassion and prayers to the families and friends involved in this tragedy.
Prayers will continue, and they will not be forgotten. God bless you.
I want The Star’s Sam Mellinger to know that I do not agree with part of his commentary on Jovan Belcher (12-2, A1, “Tragedy and trauma land hardest on innocent child”).
He stated: “The world will know him as a monster.” I am part of this world, and I do not see him as a monster.
Mr. Mellinger’s comment that the public will remember him as a murderer is also too strong, and I don’t agree with that either.
And another comment Mr. Mellinger used was something to the effect that the rest of us now will remember his gruesome, heartless, cowardly act. I will not remember it that way, and I believe most of the world will not remember it that way.
I will remember it as a devastating, heartbreaking, horrible tragedy that will affect people forever, but I can’t see it in my heart as him being a monster because I feel anybody who commits suicide is beyond any reason.
I just wanted to express the way “part of the world” feels.
Dave Helling’s column, “Through the past, darkly” (11-28, A4), reviewed generational differences in voting during the recent election. Baby boomers can welcome his concluding compliment that they heeded Graham Nash’s advice to “teach your children well.”
However, Mr. Helling prematurely ages the boomers (“voters over 65, most of them baby boomers”).
According to the U.S. Census, the baby boom extended from 1946 to 1964, so the oldest boomers are only 66 now and the youngest are 48. Those born in the peak year of the boom, 1957, won’t turn 65 for 10 more years.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did win voters ages 45-64 (basically the baby boomers) by four points, but that was a lot less than the 12-point advantage for Romney among those 65 and older.
Private school tax break
Growing up in the Catholic community, I have been blessed with the option to go to a private school. Although the public schools in my area are some of the best in the country, my parents were determined to give me a Catholic education.
In doing so, they have spent thousands of dollars on tuition, books and other school necessities, which would otherwise have been paid for by taxpayers.
Now a senior, I have realized how much my parents have spent on my education.
Now I can’t help but ask why my parents can’t receive a tax deduction if they pay just as much and possibly more taxes, yet their son goes to private school.
Expenditures per pupil in 2008-09, the most recent year for which data is available from the Kansas State Department of Education, were $13,411.
If just half of that could be returned to taxpayers whose children receive private education I believe this would be a fair trade-off.
Digital devices in school
All students, not just those in affluent districts, should have access to digital devices in the classroom.
Lucy Gray of the Consortium for School Networking’s Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative said: “There is no magic device that will save a school district. What matters is how it’s used and the experiences and relationships that develop.”
Another important element is that instructors must teach students how to evaluate information and sources. In his book “College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be,” Andrew Delbanco, discusses “inventions ... which are capable of yielding infinite information but incapable of making distinctions of value.”
Students must complete the additional hard work of analyzing and reflecting on the information they so easily acquire.
A well-educated person does more than just acquire information.
Keep KC police board
What’s wrong with being the only city in America with state control of its police department? Absolutely nothing is wrong.
Don’t forget why we are under state control — corruption by local politicians of the 1920s and 1930s.
There is no excuse for it to get rooted again. Politics and politicians don’t mix in police service.
The Board of Police Commissioners is an excellent way to keep politics and corruption out of law enforcement.
Board members are residents of the city who care about their community. Each one takes an oath of office not to engage in political activity.
Kansas City’s law enforcement body is a professional civil service-type organization that is respected by all political elements.
As a result, both today and in the past, the department and the police board are not involved in the various political disputes that occur among elected officials.
Our system is unique. Let’s keep it that way.
Robert W. Jones
Welfare gone awry
Our U.S. Congress is at an impasse as to who holds the TANF purse.
From 2009, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act change allows states, tribes and territories to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program funds carried over from a prior year for any allowable TANF benefit, service or activity.
Previously, these funds could be used only to provide assistance. While state social rehabilitation services accumulated carry over, Health and Human Services now wants annual $101.9 million Social Security dollar block grants for job creation.
The federal agency is offering waivers to states so that they can do whatever they want with our dollars.
In previous administrations, and even in the current one before Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, these waivers were not allowed. Only since July 2012 has HHS claimed this authority, circumventing Congress.
Will we really allow Sebelius to reform welfare after Sen. Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton sparred over the 1996 package?
Please contact your congress folk and tell them to tell Health and Human Services no. We’ll cut it down first and make sure it gets to needy Kansas families.
Please stop using the word “illegals” when referring to immigrants in articles in The Kansas City Star.
Too often the media are part of the problem when it comes to changing the national debate on immigration.
By not following the standards set by The Associated Press Stylebook, journalists label undocumented immigrants as “illegal.” (Editor’s note: The stylebook says illegal immigrant “is the preferred term, not illegal alien or undocumented worker. Do not use the shortened term an illegal or illegals.”)
“Illegal” is a dehumanizing term. It robs people of their dignity and prejudices readers against the needs and concerns of our immigrant brothers and sisters.
KC billboards shameful
I have no way of knowing whether our city’s level of public litter qualifies us as the “dirtiest city in the Midwest” as some have claimed. But given our civic tolerance of the billboard blight that suffocates our city, I suspect it is true.
Anyone who endures the billboard rubbish that lines the interstate approaches to Kansas City would not find it all that unacceptable to contribute their vehicle’s trash to the roadside.
Billboard blight sets the tone, and the result is a civic shame.