Letters to the Editor

September 20, 2013

Shawn Ratigan, voting rights, Washington politics

I believe Father Shawn Ratigan received a proper sentence for his crime. Anyone who abuses children with the implied authority of being an adult deserves such action, but this priest should be more than held to this as he supposedly is one of God’s emissaries and thus is even relied on more to do right.
Proper sentence

I believe Father Shawn Ratigan received a proper sentence for his crime (9-13, A1, “Priest is given 50-year penalty”).

Anyone who abuses children with the implied authority of being an adult deserves such action, but this priest should be more than held to this as he supposedly is one of God’s emissaries and thus is even relied on more to do right.

Though we are all humans, he chose a job that placed a bigger responsibility on his actions. Those who claim the priest was singled out or discriminated against should rethink the horrible actions of this man.

He used his assumed authority to take advantage of children, not some non-thinking adult. We are to protect children from this type of behavior, not excuse it. I hope Ratigan does not get out of prison until he is unable to act on his impulses and destroy another child’s life.

Dennis Joyce

Plattsburg, Mo. Abandoned scandals

It's pretty amazing how the news media have mostly scrubbed any further mention of the Obama administration scandals such as Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service abuses, “Fast and Furious,” spying on reporters, the National Security Agency's “data mining” and President Barack Obama's extravagant travels with his family.

It amuses me to imagine what the coverage would be like if Republicans occupied the offices of president, attorney general and secretary of state.

Larry Batty, M.D.

Overland Park Roots in religion

Faith, an “unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence,” is the rationale for many of the opinions that appear in the paper.

Christians believe the Bible is an irrevocable truth that cannot be denied. However, they must face the fact that for those who do think and question, who do demand proof, the Bible is, at best, a set of myths on which the Christian psyche is developed.

Using the Bible to guide one’s personal life is one thing; demanding that all give into its authority is to require that they accept the ignorance, bias and hatred that many twist from its pages. This can be seen in many of the letter writers who address the gay community, a return to the “good old days” and human nature in general.

John Nelles

Shawnee Voting Rights Act

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder erased fundamental protections in the 1965 Voting Rights Act against racial discrimination in voting. Only strong action by Congress can fix the court’s mistake.

Before the ink was even dry on the decision, several states rushed to implement racially discriminatory laws. Kansas had already passed a restrictive voter law.

Sadly, this is only the beginning. Without a strong Voting Rights Act, our ability to fight anti-voter legislation and keep our elections free, fair and accessible is weakened.

As we celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Congress needs to move swiftly to restore its effectiveness and overcome this decision. This is a call to action for all who believe every American should have fair and equal access to the ballot.

Now is the time to contact your member of Congress and tell him or her to repair the Voting Rights Act before any more damage is done.

Roberta Eveslage


League of Women

Voters, Johnson County

Lenexa Washington disrupted

The National Rifle Association was right: All it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

In Washington, D.C., at the Washington Navy Yard, police from two forces and building security personnel were on the scene within seven minutes and were able to subdue the disturbed man wielding firearms.

It only took hundreds of police and security personnel and an untold number of emergency personnel and vehicles at an enormous cost to the people. It also shut down the Congress, ended up postponing a major league baseball game and basically shut down much of the business of the city.

But in the long run, the good guys with guns finally got the armed bad guy.

And only 13 people died.

If everyone in that building had been armed, we might well have had a genuine “Shootout at the Washington, D.C., Corral.” And maybe a lot more people could have been killed.

Ain’t guns great.

Joseph L. Ogilvie

Lenexa Government excess

Let’s just look at two statistics: The national debt is more than $16 trillion, and one in three children in Missouri is either obese or overweight.

What do these statistics have in common?

Since 1995, more than $270 billion in government handouts have been given to producers of junk-food ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup. This wasteful spending is poisoning an entire generation.

To make matters worse, these subsidies are going to large agribusinesses, not small, family farms. In the last 16 years, 74 percent of farm subsidies went to just 4 percent of agribusinesses.

I urge Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer to vote with his Republican beliefs and end government handouts to corporations with profits in the billions, subsidies that are poisoning our children and inflating our national debt.

Alex Parker

St. Peters, Mo. Lezak’s weather

I for one greatly appreciate the human-interest stories from Gary Lezak, his dogs and especially the weather.

First, certainty, predictability and control always fall by the wayside after just a few days in complex disciplines such as weather prediction.

Chaos theory has a “sensitive dependence on initial conditions.” This influences things such as the weather, or other chemical and biological systems.

Sensitive dependence not just influences but absolutely dominates complex human relationships and culture.

Why? Emotion. Come on, lighten up.

Regarding Gary Lezak’s weather, we can look at meteorological data and predict the general timing of the weather, but on forecasts beyond a week out, even the best folks are helpless to predict the details.

So why do I appreciate Gary Lezak and his KSHB, Channel 41, weather team?

For weather predictions five days out or less, they generally hit a home run. More important, I love the Stormy and Breezy stories, and, I might add, Kalee Dionne is such a cutie.

Michael C. Sevcik

Leavenworth Cerner development

I live in southeast Kansas City, and my home is about a mile from the 87th Street side of the old Bannister Mall. I am thrilled about the proposed development on this site by Cerner.

I am dismayed, however, by the acres devoted to surface-level parking.

I propose a subterranean parking lot, thereby leaving land that can be further developed with revenue-producing businesses to pay for this admittedly more expensive design.

Other advantages, especially in this climate, would be the elimination of snow removal, as well as both people and cars being protected from the elements. It could even serve as a storm shelter for tornadoes.

The number of parking spaces needed, regardless of the design of the lot, could be reduced as well if Cerner collaborates, as proposed, with transit experts to develop mass-transit systems as an option to one person/one car/one parking space.

The current way of living is not only environmentally disastrous but is becoming impossible to sustain.

Thanks, Cerner, for bringing a long overdue economic development to my part of town. Just please be more innovative with the parking-lot design.

Shelley Taylor

Kansas City Respectful gesture

I’d like to acknowledge and express gratitude to the construction crew working on Sept. 18 on 159th Street.

I was in a funeral procession to Pleasant Valley Cemetery to bury our friend, Nick Chase.

We noticed that most of the construction workers paused, removed their hard hats and very respectfully waited for the procession to pass. On a very sad and tragic day, this gesture of kindness and respect was a welcome sight.

Thank you so much.

Leighann McDonald


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