Right to life vs. guns
The Founding Fathers were wise — in many respects, prescient — and the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of religion. The Second Amendment guarantees our freedom to possess and bear arms.
The order in which they occur certainly indicates the relative importance of each, perhaps even implying Voltaire’s statement that “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
A recent occurrence in Kansas City points to a conflict between these freedoms. The shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom were an attack against a faith community (therefore, against our First Amendment rights) in which three innocent people were killed by a bigoted ex-felon with a gun.
Another recent rash of random highway shootings indicates the danger that we impose upon ourselves, and upon our very right to life, by our blind adherence to our right to bear arms.
Unless I have grossly misread Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, I cannot imagine that either of these Founding Fathers would have chosen our Second Amendment rights over our First Amendment rights — or over life itself.
John Van Horn
Social Security woes
I recently retired from my job, during which I put 8.5 percent of my pay into a pension fund with my employer adding an equal amount.
When I signed my retirement forms, I had a choice of receiving 100 percent, 75 percent or 50 percent of my retirement pension. These percentages would dictate my pension payments depending on whether I wanted to leave a pension to a spouse.
Compare this with how Social Security is figured. The spouse gets his or her benefit based on his or her working record or a share of his or her spouse’s amount, whichever is higher.
In addition, the chances are there will be a cost-of-living adjustment each year based on inflation. My pension notified me that because of investment returns, I may or may not get cost-of-living adjustments in the future.
And everyone wonders why Social Security is going broke? When a program pays out far more than the participants pay in, it goes broke.
With all of the real problems facing the United States these days, why is it so darned important for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject the Redskins nickname as the trademark of the National Football League team that plays its home games in Washington, D.C. (6-19, A1, “U.S. enters dispute over NFL team name”)?
It appears to be one of the latest in the long line of examples of overkill by the political-correctness crowd — led by President Barack Obama.
What this nation really needs are additional requirements for those seeking to serve as the president of the United States. We do not need any more occupants of the Oval Office who do not have any idea about how the real world works and/or how private enterprises made the nation what it is today.
KC Royals baseball
The Kansas City Royals will win enough to give you hope and lose enough to break your heart.
We go down this road every year, and this year is no different.
I had lunch with my son recently, and he was so excited that the Royals were the hottest team in baseball. But I told him, just wait — they’ll soon go the other way.
Caring for veterans
In 1968-71, I was a resident at Yale University in ear, nose and throat, head and neck surgery. About 25 percent of our residency took place at the local Department of Veterans Administration (now Veterans Affairs) hospital.
Our clinic and surgery were run by second- and third-year residents under direct supervision of Yale’s full-time staff physicians. Patient care was exactly the same as patient care in Yale’s University Hospital and Clinic.
In the VA clinic, two residents could comfortably see 40 patients in a full day. However, the government-employed secretary deemed a “full clinic” to be fewer than 20 patients.
I’m not aware that anyone died because they were not seen promptly. But it was a waste of time, facility and, most of all, talent.
We residents took wonderful care of our veterans, and we could have cared for a lot more. The government system failed those who were not promptly scheduled for a visit.
Michael F. Hughes, M.D.
Public editor column
Kansas City Star public editor Derek Donovan writes in his June 23 commentary, “IRS scandal is more than partisan,” that The Star devotes its resources primarily to what is going on in the area and tries to report national and international stories through the lens of how they might affect the area (with an added inference that The Star is nonpartisan).
A quick scorecard for the very day this commentary was published belies this.
Local stories? Eight. National and international stories? Nineteen, and not one with a slant toward how it affected us locally.
As to partisanship, The Star’s bias has long been evident. And no, Mr. Donovan, we do not all as adults have to agree that Fox News and anti-President Barack Obama websites have gone over the top.
That is why it is called an opinion. We do not all have to agree.
And nonpartisan, indeed? I noted the lack of a comment that we would also all as adults have to have to agree that MSNBC has gone over the top on the left. No, that was stated with its usual veiled Star face.
Nice try, but I’m not buying this commentary.
Helping in Kansas
Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, in a June 16 column, “Preventing catastrophe in S. Sudan,” provided an eyewitness account to a humanitarian crisis. He spent two weeks there volunteering his medical services.
Last year, University of Kansas students traveled to Boston to compete in the Harvard National Model United Nations. There we simulated the South Sudanese delegation to the U.N. and won an award acknowledging our representation.
I also watch what’s happening in the U.S. and Kansas. I identify as a global citizen and believe awareness events both far and near are necessary.
Considering the recent developments here, I am left asking, “Why is Colyer not witnessing the growing crisis in Kansas?” Universal human rights needs apply everywhere.
People should have access to clean water, education and health care in South Sudan, Brazil and Kansas. Although providing medical care in South Sudan is admirable, Colyer belongs to an administration denying Medicaid to 80,000 low-income Kansans.
Gov. Sam Brownback has refused federal money to provide relief to Kansans. I applaud Colyer for his work in South Sudan, but I invite him to volunteer his time for the people and children of Kansas next.
They certainly need it.
King Tut exhibit
I visited the exhibit on King Tut’s tomb with my daughter and my mother.
My mother and I had seen the Tut exhibit of artifacts when it toured the U.S. many years ago. I have also been lucky enough to visit the real tomb in Egypt.
The Union Station exhibit was fabulous. Fake or not, it was a very educational and well-done event.
The recreation of how the tomb was found is a great way to present the show.
I saw many children on the tour, and they were touching and experiencing the art of the pharaohs. No one was yelling at them, and they were able to appreciate the art the way a child does, touching and interacting. What a great way to get youths interested in history and art.
And the exhibit made people feel as if they were in the tomb and making the discovery along with Howard Carter.
I got more out of this exhibit than the “real” one and will probably go again before it leaves Kansas City.
Well done, Union Station, and thank you to all the sponsors who made this exhibit happen.