War within, Nevada standoff, shooting tragedy

04/21/2014 4:44 PM

04/21/2014 4:44 PM

U.S. war within

We came to the realization that weapons of mass destruction did not exist in Iraq.

We came to the realization those years of prosperity were based on lies and unethical practices of big banks eager to shower themselves with big bonuses.

We elected a new president in 2008, and a new club called the tea party was born. What excitement thinking these new patriots would rescue us from big government and high taxes.

Little did we know what a flub this party would be. Fast enough to make your head spin, focus changed from big, bad government to lazy, poor people whose kids get free lunches at those nasty public schools.

There is a saying about hiring one-half of the working class to kill off the other half. Sad to say someone has nearly pulled it off.

Conni Nevius

Spring Hill Nevada standoff

Will America wake up and realize that a Trojan horse galloped into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in January 2009? There is little sign that an awakening will happen.

The sad thing is that we had ample warnings, but America was in such a hurry for a black president. We are still in la-la land.

Waco II was recently averted because several states’ rights citizens showed up to support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and all the TV cameras were getting everything. The media finally did something right, even though it was by accident.

America must wake up to the government regime before it is too late. There is still some time to save America.

Carl Hudson

Lee’s Summit Tragedy of silence

Follow-up coverage of the tragic events at the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom included the obligatory conversations with friends and neighbors of the accused murderer (4-15, A1, “Vitriol turned to violence”). I was struck and saddened at the quotes from a man who has known the assassin for years.

Marionville Mayor Danny Clevenger said: “He was definitely a racist. ... I definitely knew he hates other races. But you know, as far as the way he dealt with me, he was fair. I always thought he was a great guy.”

Really? A great guy? I’m not saying we don’t know or even have friends who hold views with which we disagree. What I am saying is that if we want to bring about change in our society, it is incumbent upon us to speak up when we hear anyone make racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic statements.

If we don’t, the speaker assumes we agree with him or her, and if we do, it can encourage others to join us.

German-American Rabbi Joachim Prinz spoke at the March on Washington in 1963. His words still ring true.

He said: “When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned in my life and under those tragic circumstances is that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful, and the most tragic problem is silence.”

Judy Hellman

Overland Park Dangerous guns

Hopefully, it doesn’t take the loss of any more than three innocent Kansans for Kansas state leadership to realize that a gun-oriented, gun-promoting culture leads nowhere positive, safe or free — three tenets our Founding Fathers held stronger and dearer than the ability to use, at that time, firearms that were weaker than .22-caliber weapons today.

We can take library cards away from children who use them irresponsibly, but we can’t do the same with adults and firearms. At what point does the absurdity of this yield to common sense?

I am sure the answer is never, and events such as this will become more and more common, as has been the trend for far long. Our country was founded on many philosophies, principles and rights aiming to create the best society for all, not some.

Unfortunately, all have been sacrificed and eradicated in favor of a narrow, outdated and unrealistic interpretation of one piece of our Constitution. Ignoring the loss of those who die needlessly is terrible and shameful.

Political leadership that ignores the will of its people, its history and its founders is something far worse.

David Emley

Prairie Village Costly death penalty

Curtis McCarty, who had been on death row in Oklahoma for 19 years, recently told his story at Donnelly College. He is one of the 311 persons released since 1993 through the Innocence Project, an organization committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people using DNA testing.

Because of prosecutorial and forensic misconduct, McCarty was convicted of murder in the late 1980s. After being retried, he gave up hope of being exonerated. Then an FBI investigation found that the Oklahoma City Police Department had falsified DNA evidence in several cases, including his. He was exonerated in 2007. He received no compensation from the state, and his record hasn’t been expunged so he is unemployable.

Our criminal justice system is flawed. Innocent people have been imprisoned, and some have been executed.

Kansas is one of 32 states with the death penalty. There’s a bill in the Kansas Legislature that could repeal the death penalty.

It is the only humane thing to do to avoid the possibility of killing innocent persons. Those who are truly guilty of heinous crimes should be sentenced to life in prison without parole, which has been proved to be less costly.

Barbara Mayer

Atchison, Kan Celebrate Earth Day

I want to recognize local efforts led by employees at Sprint, the Chiefs and the University of Missouri-Kansas City for efforts to reduce solid waste and divert it from landfills.

Landfills are one of the largest contributors of methane gas, which has an effect on climate change such as warmer temperatures, stronger storms and more droughts.

Sprint has made significant strides in protecting the environment through food-recovery efforts, recycling, waste reduction and environmentally preferable purchasing. Since 2010, Sprint has diverted more than 74,000 tons of useful material from landfills.

UMKC dining services use cage-free eggs, biodegradable cups, 100 percent recycled napkins and no-rinse dishwashing products. In UMKC’s trayless cafeteria, Fightin’ Kangaroos eat many locally grown foods, practice organic composting and recycle more than 500 pounds of cardboard every week at the University Center alone.

Our hometown Chiefs also conserve resources by encouraging fans to recycle.

In 2013, the Chiefs diverted 386 tons of waste from landfills through various recycling and sustainability efforts. The Chiefs are hosting their Extra Yard for the Environment recycling drive for area residents at Arrowhead Stadium on May 3.

Visit www.epa.gov/earthday to learn more about Earth Day.

Karl Brooks

EPA Regional

Administrator

Lawrence Feeling vulnerable

I've been a member of the Jewish Community Center since I moved back to this area as a young adult. It seems like centuries ago.

I exercise at the facility several times a week. It’s a busy place, and the entire community uses the Jewish Community Center.

Since that horrific April 13 afternoon when two innocent victims were senselessly murdered in the south parking lot and one at Village Shalom nearby, I have experienced a deep sense of sadness and anxiety when exiting my car and walking toward the glass doors to go inside. The sight of two Overland Park police cars in back and two in front of the center gives me a sense of security and gratitude.

Until recently, I never thought of myself as a Jewish person first, when I drove into the parking lot. I was an American citizen and a female first.

Now I feel vulnerable as a “Jewish” American female — in Overland Park. It’s a strange transference, and I thank the law enforcement officers of Overland Park for watching over us so we can try to move forward and become ordinarily invisible again.

Although that is now impossible.

Louise Pollock

Gruenebaum

Prairie Village

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