Guns on campus
Female university students are now being used by the handgun lobby (2-19, A1, “Guns on campus favored by some”). Apparently, flooding our streets with handguns is not enough.
Our universities attract some of the brightest minds from all over the world, and exposure to our culture is one the strongest defenses we have in the war on terrorism. But to the rest of the civilized world, putting handguns in everyone’s hands is lunacy.
The widespread presence of guns on our campuses will be the deal breaker that causes the rich cultural exchange that we currently enjoy to wither and die, at incalculable expense.
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The front-page Feb. 22 story, “Survival training,” was well-researched, well-written and also very disturbing. Thankfully, there are reasonable responses from school officials such as Shawnee Mission’s director of safety, John Douglass, who pointed out that a full-blown drill of dramatic proportions is not all that necessary.
I agree. Despite the tragic, yet isolated and infrequent, mass shooting events like those at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School and Virginia Tech, schools are by and large very safe places, and active shooter simulations need not be required as a part of teacher training.
An alternative to such drills could be to reinforce some of the existing practices regarding school security. Another idea might be to bolster our lax gun-control laws.
I would argue that stricter gun-control measures, including more thorough background checks, would be a more sensible and feasible deterrent to the threat of school shooters than asking educators to participate in mock drills.
Pay women equally
Republicans in Congress have proven over and over again that they will never agree with anything that President Barack Obama supports. But they reached the apex of foolishness when every Republican member of Congress refused to stand or applaud in support of the president's recent comments about equal pay for women.
Really? Not one of these obstructive members of Congress can think on their own to support a policy so fundamental as equal pay for women even though over 95 percent of Americans support equal pay? Republican women — now there’s an oxymoron.
I couldn’t help but muse that Joseph Stalin would have stood and applauded the president’s statement.
Funding for the arts
I was extremely impressed with Sumner Academy for the Arts and Science sophomore Caroline Meek’s Feb. 18 column, “A high value for arts in education,” regarding school funding (or lack thereof) and its relationship to and effect on the arts in our schools.
She was articulate and made her argument in a convincing manner.
I was then struck by the dichotomy of the Feb. 19 article, “Worldwide impact,” discussing the effect of the Kansas City arts community.
That article put an exclamation point on Caroline’s by concluding, “The arts are critical to attracting and keeping the kind of educated, informed workforce that our business community finds essential to its own success.”
Aren’t vibrant arts curriculum in the schools vital in fulfilling this vision?
The lies just keep on coming from the Republicans about the Keystone XL pipeline.
They say, “It’s a jobs bill. It will give us oil independence” and any other lie they come up with to yell about.
The pipeline would transport Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast refineries, which is where the fuel for the Midwest is refined. Shipments also would go to South America as diesel fuel. This would slow the refineries’ ability to make gasoline and raise the cost of fuel for all people in the Midwest.
As for the jobs thing, this is like all other construction jobs. The pipeline would create many jobs for a few months and then that would be gone.
The estimate for permanent jobs is maybe 30. This is just another giveaway to the Koch brothers and other wealthy people who have investments in the oil industry.
All pipelines leak at some point, and when it happens in the area of the Ogallala Aquifer it can permanently change the bread basket of the U.S. into a wasteland.
The pipeline needs to be stopped.
J. Allen Smith
Steve Rose column
Steve Rose, in his Feb. 22 column, “A remarkable resurrection for KC’s downtown,” says he thinks Kansas City taxpayers’ subsidy to the Power & Light District is a bargain. Maybe.
But it’s not, as he contends, like building an interstate highway system, which is built with user fees in the form of taxes on gas. Rather, it’s a redistribution of wealth as the city subsidizes some businesses and not others.
When the city gives money to or reduces taxes on poor people, it’s called welfare, or redistributing the wealth. When it’s given to rich developers, it’s called an investment.
When government at any level gives some but not other businesses money directly or through tax reductions, it distorts the marketplace.
Some people like this a lot and argue that projects that are a net dollar loss to the city, such as the Power & Light District or Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, enhance the city’s image.
There’s much to debate about this. But taxpayers pay the difference between rosy financial projections and the ultimate financial reality.
Developers call this a good business.
What some taxpayers say can be left to your imagination.
Kansas budget woes
Most Americans were not rich decades ago, but we never felt poor. Now the country has made a U-turn.
We will never have economic equity when 95 percent of the economic gains since the recovery from the Great Recession go to the richest 1 percent and our elected officials still aren’t dealing with this problem.
Kansas revenue numbers since Gov. Sam Brownback took office have never added up year by year. Brownback has created poverty and inequality.
You say you’re optimistic that we can change the spending culture.
Yes, we must, but at whose expense. I hope not the middle- and lower-income classes.
There are no unsolvable government problems. Tell elected officials, “Do what you took an oath to do.”
The budget is in the red. It’s because they want it in the red.
This is a good time to point out that this attack on the middle class isn’t just self-serving, it’s dead wrong.
We’re still moving away from being a people-centered society to becoming a money-centered society in which the have-nots have even less because the rich elite continues to hold a disproportionate amount of the nation’s wealth.
Kansans must start a robust uproar against our elected politicians.
Garage door service
My garage door would not stay down. I called a well-known company to assess the problem.
The result was a temporary adjustment and the suggestion that the gears or sprockets were worn and needed replacing or that we should get a new garage-door opener. This serviceman made a few adjustments and left me quotes for the above.
The adjustments weren’t working so I found a coupon offering garage-door openers for almost $200 less than the garage-door guys’. This company’s serviceman informed me that nothing was wrong with the opener I had and that it had been adjusted to enhance the problem. He believed in being honest and proceeded to show me that the gears were fine.
He replaced some rubber under the door, adjusted the sensors properly, gave me a 60-day guarantee and showed me how to program my controls.
I did call the original service company and asked that officials inform their technicians to be honest and not take advantage of older women or anyone.
I was disappointed with my first choice for repair and highly recommend my second.
Judy A. Beatie