Joco Opinion

Letters to the editor: Wal-Mart closings, germs at buffets

Wal-Mart closings

For decades now, we have seen the growth of Wal-Mart to become the world's largest retailer. At the same time we have seen this growing giant bring bargain prices and unlimited shopping options to small towns far and wide.

The price those small towns paid, frequently, was the loss of their local merchants. Mom and Pop stores and town squares that had served their communities for generations closed.

They simply couldn't compete, and Wal-Mart became the town store. Now we learn that Wal-Mart has closed more than 100 stores in our region and left their customers (and their local employees) no alternative but to drive long distances to buy the necessities they had depended on Wal-Mart to provide.

The reason for the closings given by Wal-Mart was consideration for the company’s bottom line. I am a capitalist. I am sure that this scenario of closing out small town merchants, and then deserting their towns was not in Sam Walton's plan.

But this latest move has given Wal-Mart and capitalisim a black eye. Shame on them.

Dave Hendricks

Prairie Village

Trump tantrum

I’m glad that Fox News did not allow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to blackmail them into giving to a charity (his) that was not of their choosing (1-29, A2, “Dueling events offer few surprises as caucus nears”). Is that the kind of tantrum we should expect if Trump gains the presidency?

Wili McKinney


Community preparedness

“Be prepared.” That’s the Boy Scouts’ motto.

Will our government be prepared to remain open and functioning when the next blizzard arrives? Will the residents of Washington, D.C., and the Eastern Seaboard be ready when record snowfalls come?

Will the nation be prepared for the next terrorist attack like the one in San Bernardino, Calif.? How will the apartment dwellers in the California seaside community react if they see their dwellings plunge into the sea? New Orleans is certain to have another Hurricane Katrina.

I recall the days in the past when tornadoes threatened certain areas of the county, people built tornado shelters. History has a way of repeating itself. Former President Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “the more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”

Ask yourself: Are you ready?

Steve Katz


Voter registration

A slogan of the Revolutionary War (also known as the War of Independence) was no taxation without representation. Implicit is that, if the government taxes us, we should be represented. The implication would be that U.S. tax collectors ensure that the people they tax are registered.

What are the implications? Taxation should require voter registration and automatic ballots to all registered voters.

When was the last time a sales clerk asked you whether you were registered to vote before charging you sales tax? When was the last time the Internal Revenue Service offered you voter registration as step one on Form 1040?

When was the last time the Social Security Administration ensured that you were registered to vote? Is this even feasible? Yes.

The Selective Service System has used Social Security registration to sign young men up for the draft. Why doesn't the voter registration system?

Chris Roesel

Roeland Park

Norovirus outbreak

The New Theatre Restaurant is one of my favorite places in Kansas City with good food and great entertainment (1-28, A4, “100 sick after norovirus outbreak at dinner theater”). But I am surprised that a contagious disease outbreak does not occur every week at New Theatre and at every buffet in the city.

My guess is that micro outbreaks, with less vicious viruses, are vastly underreported.

At New Theatre, literally hundreds of people touch, with their bare unwashed where-have-you-been hands, the same five or six metal serving utensils while going through the buffet line. Personally, I try to find a disposable napkin to grab each utensil, and I always coat my hands with a hand sanitizer after my trip to the buffet and hopefully before I touch my face.

I would suggest that buffets everywhere make available disposable plastic gloves at the start of the buffet line with trash cans at the end for “medical waste” and that bottles of hand sanitizers be placed at every table.

And, if you are already sick, please stay home.

Donald W. Miller Jr., M.D.


Wild West gun rights

The United States is the most violent, industrialized nation in the world, with at least one gun for every man, woman and child. And yet, the gun lobby and our feckless legislators want still more guns.

Picture this scenario: a heavily armed mentally disturbed person enters a crowded room and begins to shoot. The duly armed citizens in the room draw their weapons and begin to fire.

Then the police enter the scene and begin the shoot at everyone with a weapon. Who gets killed? Probably the shooter and a bunch of armed citizens. Sound ludicrous?

Not really in today’s violent world, it is a possibly true scenario.

We scrapped the 18th Amendment because it didn’t serve the citizens well. It appears that the Second Amendment must be reconsidered now, too.

It is not serving to benefit the citizens of the United States. In fact, based on annual deaths because of firearms, it is a detriment to good health of our citizens and offers no protection from mass killing.

Dale Thomas


To send letters

Visit the Letters website at to submit your letter to the editor for 913. The website form, with helpful reminders on required information replaces an email address for online submissions. You may also mail letters of up to 300 words to 913 Letters, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd. Kansas City, MO, 64108. Online letters are preferred.