Readers weigh in on guns, streetcars and the minimum wage

07/30/2014 5:35 PM

07/30/2014 5:53 PM

Deadly gun rhetoric

I sat before the TV, once more outraged and weary, in the wake of another slaughter by a deranged gunman. The sophistry of the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre kept echoing, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Yet what he has really been saying is, “Every guy should have a gun.”

In recent years, the NRA leadership and its lobbyists have devoted vast energy and resources to promoting outrageous and dangerous legislation that has boosted gun and assault weapons sales, allowed unfettered access to all firearms and thwarted any barriers to open carry or concealed carry policies. Georgia’s recent “guns everywhere” legislation is the most extreme example.

Simultaneously, LaPierre has trotted out the disingenuous lament that the real problem is the broken mental-health system. Although improvements in our mental-health system are desperately needed, his repetitive assertions are simply a red herring to deflect the NRA’s responsibility in the escalation of gun violence.

It’s time to stand with Richard Martinez, the father of one of the recent shooting victims, when he says, “Not one more.”

Gail Roberson

Member, Grandmothers

Against Gun Violence

Leawood

No on streetcars

Kansas City residents: do your homework on light rail and its funding sources. There is not one North American city that has light rail that has not had to increase taxes to keep the system running.

You’ll notice the city never gives clear, concise figures on actual cost per mile. At today’s costs, it’s millions of dollars in Kansas City.

Costs will increase as time goes on. Bet on it.

Why not take those funds and buy the best buses and have a complete, up-to-date bus fleet — the newest and the best?

What if the rail-route ridership shifts? You can’t take up the rails and move them, but you can flex an entire bus fleet.

Check any city with light rail, and you will find a never-ending funding problem to keep light rail running. The system operators come back each time to the taxpayers for more tax dollars.

What we have here is a mayor and politicians wanting to tax you more for their pet projects.

Remember, this city has an infrastructure problem that has not been handled very well. Do you think city officials would do any better with light rail?

Bob W. Jones

Kansas City

Minimum-wage trap

In 1930, there was no minimum wage and no withholdings. The average annual salary was about $1,970; the average house cost $3,845, car $600, gas 10 cents a gallon and bread 9 cents.

Today’s average salary is $30,257 after withholdings. That’s 15 times greater than the 1930s (not counting for inflation). However, the average house now costs $272,900, or 70 times more; car $29,217, or 50 times more; and bread and gasoline about $3.50, or 35 times more.

Democrats see the inequity and say, “Raise the minimum wage.” Republicans see the economic loss and say, “Stop.”

Neither group offers a solution. Each clings to the same system of fake money, debt and usury, which causes the inflation. We forget a dollar is a three-quarter ounce of silver and not a piece of paper.

Money is anything of intrinsic value. Cattle, salt, gems and metals are money. Paper is not.

In the 1930s, gold/silver money was replaced with paper Federal Reserve Notes. These are not what the bank owes us, but what Congress owes the bank.

The banking system now owns everything. As long as we love fake money and usury, we will have inflation, debt and economic slavery.

Lois Ammel

Lawrence

Killings in Gaza

The recent letter suggesting American complicity in the outrageous killings in Gaza (7-27, Letters) is spot-on.

The arms for this killing machine originate from our country, and their use to slaughter and maim thousands of truly innocent civilians — including old men and women and beautiful young children — is simply beyond comprehension for a society supposedly rooted in Western civilization.

The subsequent “As I See It” piece by Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff (7-28, A7, “An Open Letter to Hamas”) fails the smell test whereby we need to walk in the shoes of the suffering people of Palestine, dispossessed and trodden upon by tyrannical forces for more than six decades.

This insanity must stop before we are all swallowed up by the madness.

Dick Phalen

Kansas City

Money in elections

The Supreme Court has ruled that propaganda doesn’t have to be truthful as long as it is of a political nature. And it has ruled that financing such propaganda is just another way to exercise the right of free speech.

With virtually no limitation on such funding, millions of dollars can be spent to derogate opponents in battleground states. It’s obvious that this disadvantages a candidate who’s truthful but without funding to match that of his opponent.

And it has resulted in the election of candidates who are beholden to the wealthy people who funded their campaigns and expect favorable legislation in return.

This has greatly advantaged those who are wealthy, to the disadvantage of the middle class and poor.

I fear that we’re in danger of becoming a plutocracy or oligarchy, where our rulers will be like lords and barons of yore, and the rest of us will be serfs.

It’s said that we’re all responsible for the people elected to office, whether we voted for them or didn’t vote at all. I suggest it behooves us all to cast an informed vote if we would rather remain first-class citizens.

Bob Cook

Manhattan, Kan.

Krauthammer column

While reading the column in the Opinion section by Charles Krauthammer (7-29, “The vacant presidency”), all I could understand from it was the usual right-wing blabber about President Barack Obama.

The only vacancy I could see after all the right-wing spin was the giant vacancy between Mr. Krauthammer’s ear’s.

Dennis Parker

Independence

Planned Parenthood

Now that it has been decided that Hobby Lobby does not have to provide birth control, I have a suggestion for the female employees who need and want it.

Planned Parenthood will provide you with low-cost contraceptives. Unlike the pro-life members’ proclamations, Planned Parenthood’s main purpose is not abortions. It’s preventing them.

It’s amazing in this day and age that abortion still exists.

As long as people think it’s immoral to use birth control, it will remain.

Melanie Leavey

Merriam

Guns, right to live

Considering the latest mass killing, much has been said about finding better ways to protect society from such violence. More stringent gun controls, better mental-health screenings and more vigilance regarding movies and computer games may be helpful.

But because our society chooses conflicting goals of both freedom and security, more of one can lead to less of the other. One’s right to carry a gun can limit another’s right to safety if the former is a criminal and/or suffering mental illness.

Free enterprise may trump government regulation. Consumerism may trump free enterprise.

The point is, unfortunately, some horrendous crimes are inevitable.

John Couture Sr.

Kansas City

Please conserve fuel

I had lunch recently near Metcalf Avenue and Johnson Drive and was disturbed to see a Mission police car sitting in the parking lot for an hour, idling and burning fuel. Finally, an officer came out and drove away.

There was no evidence of a person under arrest or a police dog waiting in the squad car. It seems likely the officer did not care to have to wait for the car to cool down, the temperature outside being more than 90 degrees.

Can we not encourage our public servants to be more cognizant of the need to conserve our energy?

Ruth Kauffman

Overland Park

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