Readers share thoughts on voter ID, Ferguson and Brandon Ellingson

08/27/2014 12:00 PM

08/27/2014 6:08 PM

Voter ID cost

I read with interest an Aug. 26 letter complaining about the cost of securing a voter-identification card. It costs $18 to secure a picture ID card for four years.

I not only consider this cost reasonable but also a very necessary requirement in our society to enable people to prove who they are for such things as cashing a check at a bank, paying for purchases, seeing a family physician and for insurance documentation.

Critics of the law say voter fraud is a myth and is being pushed by the Republican Party only to inhibit voter turnout. This is total nonsense.

We all want honest and fair elections, and requiring voter ID cards will go a long way toward achieving this goal.

By the way, the $18 cost is minimal considering the many times I’ve stood in line at grocery counters waiting to get checked out while the cashier is dealing with the food stamps the customer in front of me handed her while talking on a cellphone.

I’ll bet the monthly cellphone charges far exceed the $18 ID card expense.

I guess it’s a matter of priority.

Miles Marshall


Ferguson in KC?

The events in Ferguson, Mo., cannot help but make me think that they could be taking place here in Kansas City.

Thoughts of pepper spray, tear gas and armed forces attempting to maintain the peace in Kansas City do not sit well with me.

However, last week I received a small taste of what that might look like here. I witnessed the dismissal of high school students at Central Academy of Excellence, formerly Central High School.

There were about seven Kansas City police officers overseeing their exodus from campus, and as a large number of students crossed the intersection of Linwood Boulevard and Indiana Avenue, some were pepper sprayed in broad daylight.

There were no reporters or photojournalists present, and what was perhaps most alarming was the reaction by the students — complete normalcy.

No shouting, no outcry and no apparent backlash. What exactly is going on here?

Surely, there are better, more humane, ways to go about the dismissal process. And surely we all know what happens when we treat people as criminals.

To prevent what is happening in Ferguson from happening here, let us treat our youth with more dignity and not as pests to disperse.

Keith Bradley

Kansas City

Drowning tragedy

After reading the Aug. 24 story “Recalling the day Brandon drowned,” on the drowning of Brandon Ellingson, I felt I had to say something.

I grew up on Lake McConaughy in Nebraska and was involved in a boating accident as a child, an event that cost my step-grandfather his life. As a result, I have a great respect for the water.

I have never heard of the authorities taking a restrained person to the station via boat. They certainly don’t do that at the lake I grew up on.

It shouldn’t take a lot of intelligence to realize that no one on a watercraft should be restrained in any way, as the results could be tragic.

Why don’t they send officers out in pairs and take the suspect, unrestrained, to the nearest shore to be transported by car?

Hopefully, a lesson will be learned from this tragedy and the authorities will send those being arrested to the station via car, or this situation is bound to be repeated.

Todd Ruser

Kansas City

Steve Paul column

Steve Paul’s Aug. 23 column, “We make our memories over that rainbow,” was a moving and indeed poignant tribute to the late Bill Hickok.

It resonated in many ways.

It also evoked a memory of when I first heard “The Wizard of Oz.”

The first- and second-grade teacher read the L. Frank Baum classic to the second-graders over a period of six weeks.

I was a spellbound first-grade eavesdropper in a small town in Kansas.

Interestingly, the same teacher taught us that it was a privilege to pay taxes.

America had just financed the world’s defeat of fascism and Japanese imperialism and was about to embark on the Marshall Plan.

It was a time when revenue was thought a civic responsibility and essential to a functioning government.

In this day of Ayn Rand politicians, I will personally go to my grave believing that altruism is nobler than egoism.

Larry Heffel


Islamic State trouble

I have canvassed The Star and found almost no letters or commentaries expressing outrage for the death of an American journalist.

It is well known that the public is unalterably opposed to any more wars.

However, wars are inevitable, and to paraphrase President Barack Obama, the U.S. has a hammer.

But the president errs, for the Islamic State is a nail and should be hammered down.

I urge my fellow Americans to listen to Fox News, where military and intelligence specialists keep the gun sights focused on the fiercest menace since Attila the Hun.

Rev. Lyle P. Murphy


Ferguson, journalism

Walter Cronkite must be rolling in his grave.

The “journalists” covering the protests and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown have labored to make themselves the focus of their stories by whatever means necessary.

They pour gas on the fire to feed the spotlight while reporting conjecture and misinformation.

They have joined the cadre that includes the usual suspects — Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other opportunists who are never far from center stage.

That other whirring sound is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spinning is his grave.

Carolyn Smith


Climate change doubt

When did climate change really start? Current generations did not cause the ice deposits to disappear from many parts of our world.

The Earth is constantly changing, in part because of Mother Nature and in part because of human beings and their creativity.

We have to accept that we humans have many new ideas for improving our lives and do not have the desire to become stagnate.

Protecting the environment is very wise, but constantly blaming someone else and not accepting responsibility for our own actions is not commendable.

Mary Coatsworth

Lee’s Summit

Reparations overdue

A disproportionate number of African-American youths and young men are in the pipeline to prison. Across the country, blacks have twice the unemployment, twice the poverty and three times the infant mortality of whites.

Some think the war on drugs with unfair sentencing contributed to black criminality.

Felons have a tough time finding jobs or getting credit, affordable housing, food stamps and other benefits.

African Americans are treated as second-class citizens with police brutality, illegal searches and racial injustice. In addition, there is discriminatory urban renewal, little affordable housing, the inequality of segregated schools lacking the needed resources, cuts in preschool education and the arrests of schoolchildren, producing a police record for childish pranks.

Job bias, the minimum wage, welfare requirements with unaffordable child care and voting irregularities with ID legislation perpetuate the hopelessness of a poverty culture and a dying ghetto economy for African-American youths and young men.

The solution is America accepting responsibility for slavery and the worst racism in history created for profit.

Reparations of a free college education for African Americans is necessary to end the inhumanity of this racism.

Ava Jordan

St. Louis

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