Silence on violence
There were 108 homicides in Kansas City last year. Many young people live in terror of being shot.
Boston experienced terrorism, with three persons murdered and more than 170 injured, a horrific act that demands justice.
What I don’t quite understand is how we allow little children to live with terror every day without national alarm or altering our lifestyles.
We ignore the daily terror until something like the bombing in Boston occurs. But why are we not horrified daily at the violence in our cities, aimed often at children and the poor?
Why do we demand justice when we’re terrorized, but not when ghetto children are terrorized? The U.S. will rise to the cause, find the perpetrators and move forward.
But why are we nearly inert when the same terror strikes daily against children who live within miles of our homes? Is the difference that Boston may have been political, or is it that it strikes too close to home when it’s the Boston Marathon that is targeted?
I don’t know. What makes this terror so different from the daily terror that barely makes the newspaper and to which we daily close our eyes?
Rabbi Mark H. Levin
Guns over people
This week’s gun-safety vote in the U.S. Senate reinforces the position of the GOP as the guns-over-people party (4-18, A1, “Senate rejects series of firearms reforms”).
How any caring person could vote against this so-called “background check” bill is unbelievable to most citizens of this country torn by gun violence.
I doubt many of us in Kansas were surprised by the votes of our two senators. We can always count on them siding with the big money, in this case the gun manufacturers, carrying out their beliefs as Guardians of Privilege (GOP).
So, it’s business as usual for every man, woman and child looking out for himself or herself as more and more bullets will undoubtedly be flying.
The gun manufacturers and their puppets such as the National Rifle Association are celebrating this week.
This is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and yet again we see a rise in the number of cases of reported abuse in both Kansas and Missouri — including some high-profile cases of neglect, the silent killer.
It can be more difficult to spot neglected children, who are often starved and isolated.
To protect our children, we must become a community that takes an interest in the kids around us.
Do you keep an eye out for children in your neighborhood and ask their parents about them if they are absent?
Kansas Citians also must accept that it is OK to call the hotline with suspicions. You do not need proof to call the hotline. Once a case is hotlined, it is up to the state authorities to investigate.
Please don’t ignore the signs or that small voice in your head that wonders about the safety of a child.
In Missouri the child-abuse and neglect hotline is 1-800-392-3738; in Kansas it is 1-800-922-5330.
Betsy Vander Velde
President and CEO
The Family Conservancy
Guns, knife, deaths
Predictably, the gun nuts are ignoring the disparity between the body counts at the Newtown, Conn., mass shootings and at the Cypress, Texas, mass stabbings — 26 to 0 is one rather wide disparity, isn’t it?
Last month we observed the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war. Many young American men and women enlisted to fight those responsible for the slaughter of nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.
Instead of Afghanistan, many found themselves in Iraq courtesy of then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. They told us the plot to kill Americans extended to the Iraqis.
Bush and Cheney are directly responsible for killing thousands of Iraqi men, women and children as well as for our own young men and women killed and maimed for life.
Yet neither served in the military in a war zone. When I witness Bush at a ballgame or Cheney starring in a Showtime special, I am appalled.
They should be held accountable at least for the cost of lives and family pain they have caused to so many.
I have previously attended the Healthy Yards Expo, sponsored by several area governments, the K-State Extension and Johnson County Wastewater.
Most of the vendors/exhibitors display their wares, which support the general goal/theme, and free lectures highlight sustainable methods for the lawn and garden.
The event puts on a green façade in the name of a healthy yard. But if you dig a little deeper, the reality is the expo is influenced by corporate agriculture and chemical companies as much as it is worried about “healthy yards.”
Let me explain briefly.
I volunteer for a local environmental group that wanted to bring an organic lawn-care advocate to the area for a presentation. We thought partnering with the expo would be a perfect opportunity for presenting alternatives to the chemical-laden methods most people use.
However, I was told organic lawn care is seen as controversial by entities the extension partners with because it couldn’t be science-based and wouldn’t promote the use of their chemical products.
If the expo were truly concerned with our health, then why not present both sides?
The science is clear — synthetic lawn chemicals harm health. Let the people decide.
Visit safelawns.org for more information.
For people unfamiliar with Aesop’s tale of the crow and the fox, it goes something like this:
A crow was on small branch of a tree when a fox, with a propensity for grapes, noticed that she had a grape in her beak.
From below the tree, the fox looked up and said, “What a beautiful bird I see above me! What exquisite and radiant plumage! I wonder if your voice is as sweet as your looks are fair. If so, there should be no doubt that you must be the queen of all birds.”
The crow was taken by this and was so enticed by the thought of supremacy that she opened her beak and gave a loud “caw,” which allowed the grape to fall to the ground below.
As the fox picked the grape from the ground, he said to her, “You have a voice, fine lady, but you are gullible and lack wisdom.”
Now, substitute the Republican Party for the crow, the liberal media and Democratic Party for the fox, the attempts to appeal to minority groups through “concessions” by the Republicans for the crow’s attempted singing and the Republican Party base for the grape.
It’s a 2,700-year-old lesson.
Leo Beuerman lives on in the hearts and minds of many Lawrence residents and visitors who knew or saw him here in the 1960s.
This little guy drove his modified tractor into town, parked near Eighth and Massachusetts, got onto his red wooden cart and wheeled himself to various spots downtown to sell pencils.
Leo had a genetic condition that meant his fragile bones didn’t develop.
He was 36 inches high, weighed 50 pounds, was deaf and later blind but he refused to succumb to self-pity or fear.
A documentary movie, “Leo Beuerman,” produced in 1969 by Centron Studios of Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award.
A bronze plaque of Leo was on the sidewalk in front of Teller’s Restaurant in Lawrence since 1976. This plaque has been refurbished and placed in the planter next to Teller’s.
The rededication of Leo’s plaque will take place outside Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St., at noon today. Speakers will include Mayor Mike Dever and one of Leo’s great-great nieces.
Leo’s relatives will be present, the movie will be playing inside Teller’s and people will share stories about Leo.
Because of Earth Day, parking may be a problem, so arrive early.