On the many occasions when those who were killed in Benghazi, Libya, are mentioned, it is always “U.S. embassy official Christopher Stevens and three others died in the attack.” Frequently the three others are not mentioned by name.
Every time that phrase is uttered, the thoughtlessness strikes me as unbelievably cruel.
Aware of the countless times their families were subjected to this offhanded treatment of their loved ones, I felt a stab of disbelief each time I heard it.
Did no one in a position to correct that careless treatment of three human beings ever realize that was a serious breach of common decency? The pain of the three families had to be repeatedly accentuated when hearing those words.
Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods died, and are remembered, anonymously.
Art institute offerings
I read with great interest Mará Rose Williams’ Feb. 18 piece, “Historic town seeks revival through arts,” on how those in Lexington, Mo., are trying to experience a renaissance through art.
We at the Kansas City Art Institute salute their efforts and know the challenges in establishing art-based programs in smaller communities.
This summer, the art institute will launch art camps for youth and art classes for adults through its School for Continuing and Professional Studies at the Firehouse Center for Creative Excellence in Kearney.
Our partnership with the Firehouse enables us to introduce the art institute into a community that values the arts. We are very excited about the possibilities.
Although course offerings will vary throughout the year, some of the classes that will be available when the space opens are Discover Painting, Discover Drawing, Claymation Movies, Digital Photography, Computer Animation, Cartooning and Comics and Silk Shibori Scarves.
Anyone interested in enrolling in classes can visit www.kcai.edu/continuing-education/course-listings/kearney.
For more information about the Firehouse, visit www.kearneyfirehouse.org.
DirectorSchool for Continuing
and Professional Studies
Kansas City Art Institute
Little value on life
We have had a rash of tragedies in our nation — children slaughtered, policemen gunned down, a family wiped out and firefighters killed. After each of these tragedies, we soul-search to find reasons.
We blame everything from semi-automatic weapons to high capacity ammo clips, to violent video games, to inadequate mental health care, to lack of security.
We have read letters in this space discussing every cause except what I think might be an underlying cause of all this mayhem.
Our society has devalued life. If we lessen the value of any one life, we lessen the value of all life.
On that fateful Friday last month when 20 young children were killed in Newtown, Conn., we heard a lament across the nation and rightfully so. It was tragic.
On that same Friday, hundreds of babies were killed in their mothers’ wombs, and nary a whimper was heard.
We lament that our children are not safe in schools, at shopping malls, in movie theaters and on residential streets. However, the most dangerous place for a child in the U.S. is the womb.
I repeat, when a society devalues one life, it devalues all life.
Women in combat
The recent dialogue regarding women in combat roles has been interesting to observe, mostly for the lack of informed debate.
What’s missing is mention of the infantry field living conditions. Infantry by design is an austere force, which trains to operate under the harshest conditions where individual privacy is not even a consideration.
An example came in Alaska during a winter field exercise. My scout platoon came back after an extended mission in subzero temperatures and crashed in an arctic 10-person tent about the size of a large plastic kiddy pool. There were no cots, just sleeping bags on the ground.
The dozen soldiers and their gear were literally wall to wall, and everyone was changing his funky drawers. The sweaty sock smell would gag a maggot.
Infantry living conditions are not conducive to co-ed operations and have nothing to do with an individual’s courage, character or ability to execute a particular task.
The people who are pushing for this change have no idea what they’re asking for.
Their frame of reference is from Hollywood or news pieces from hard-stand, built-up areas. Life at the point of the bayonet is beyond their comprehension.
Parents top advisers
As anyone with a teenage son or daughter could tell you, it might seem that the least likely place high school students turn to for advice is their parents.
And with today’s constant flood of television, movies, social media and peer pressure, teenagers have more outside influencers than ever before.
However, a new survey of high school students conducted by Everest College found that more than six in 10 respondents — the highest percentage of any response — say they find out about job and career choices from their parents or guardians.
Parents, your influence on your teen’s educational and career choices cannot be overestimated.
In fact, a similar Everest survey found that lack of parental and educational support is the most common reason younger Americans drop out of high school.
With the spring semester under way, I encourage you to spend time with your teens as they begin to map out their futures, particularly if graduation is around the corner.
The time you take now can play a crucial part in setting up your child for future success.
Possible loss of church
The Kansas City Power & Light Co. plans a power line to run across Stacey Garton’s property near Plattsburg, Mo., which would destroy a small church on the property. This a plea to save the little church on this property.
Her young son, Mackintyre, was 8 years old, getting ready for school one morning, and just dropped dead.
Both parents were medics, but nothing could be done to save him.
As young Mackintyre loved to build little church bird houses, Mom and Dad decided to build a small church on his special place on their farm.
It was a community project and is a beautiful place with a small cemetery and a gorgeous sanctuary with a beautiful little pulpit, an altar and small pews.
It is used quite often for community gatherings, weddings and other types of events.
If KCP&L destroys this, a mother will lose her young son twice.
Surely, someone can persuade the powers-that-be to find it in their hearts to make a small detour.
Kudos to caring parent
Thank you, Jennifer McCoy (2-19, Letters), for a vivid, honest layman’s explanation of what autism is, and is not, from a family living the experience of having such an (often) “ever a child” in its home. You must post it on Facebook and other social media.
You would be doing multiple individuals and the nation a huge favor as such a letter as yours would surely go viral.
A similar letter from a family member undergoing the stresses of one of the three major forms of dementia could perform the same service. My family has been free of the first blessed experience and of the latter agonizing finale to life forecast for many of us.
We all need to understand these two situations so we can cope with them, whether in our own family or not.
A gentleman, Terry Goodlett, in the old Northeast area is to be commended. After the snowstorm last week, he used his snowblower and cleared the 300 block of Spruce Avenue.
He spent nearly 10 hours Thursday and Friday clearing the street, the sidewalks and the driveways along Spruce Avenue. He did this without being asked and without being paid.
He did what the city could or would not do to enable the residents of the block to be able to get their cars out of the snow.
City workers on Friday made one very poor pass on the street but left large drifts of snow in the middle of the street.
Thank you, Mr. Goodlett, for your gallant effort, and thanks to all the residents of the 300 block of Spruce Avenue for pitching in and helping all of our neighbors through this snowstorm.
That is what makes the Northeast so great.
Mayor Sly James, you should be proud of the Northeast and you should somehow recognize the effort of this gentleman.