Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss wearing hoodies, Chiefs’ defense and a Gordon Parks expert

It’s about safety

In response to Toriano Porter’s Dec. 24 column, “Why was an African-American teen told to remove his hoodie?” (7A), as a longtime employee of a Kansas City retail business, this I know: The goal of business owners is to woo customers in order to sell goods and make enough money to feed their families.

Mr. Porter, as you safely sit in front of your computer and type, try to imagine what it is like to stand behind a counter and wonder if the next person who walks through the door intends to pull out a gun and rob or kill you while he’s wearing a hoodie to conceal his identity from witnesses and security cameras.

My heart goes out to the young man and his mother in your story, and to Trayvon Martin’s family as well. However, there is a very long list of innocent people in this town who have been killed by disguised armed robbers.

The request for customers to remove their hoodies is motivated by store employees’ fear of being killed.

Mary West

Kansas City

Another verse …

Seriously? Again, the Chiefs lose a game to a team they could have beaten. (Dec. 24, 1B, “How the grunge stole Christmas”) And we all know that we can once more blame the loss on our defense.

I certainly hope that in the offseason the Chiefs’ management fires defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Otherwise, this pattern of losing will continue.

It doesn’t take a professional to see why the Chiefs lose. If I were Patrick Mahomes and the offense, I would be so completely frustrated. The offense does its job and the defense doesn’t.

If it’s one and done in the playoffs again, we also know whom to blame. Wise up management. Don’t make us long-suffering Chiefs fans get our hopes up only to see them dashed, as in the past, once again.

JuJu Johnson


Shortsighted action

While the country is consumed by the legal spectacle of President Donald Trump, his family, his businesses, his mistresses and the ongoing investigations, few of us are paying attention to the very real damage his administration is doing to our many federal agencies that are there to protect us.

The Trump administration never understood (and neither do most of the American people) what our federal agencies do. That’s what made “government” an easy target for a demagogue like Trump and why he doesn’t care about shutting it down.

Many of the leaders Trump installed at federal agencies were people who had pledged to shut them down. Remember Rick Perry, who wanted to shut down the departments of Education, Commerce and —oops — Energy? The Department of Energy keeps track of everything nuclear throughout the world. Perry had no idea what DOE does and hadn’t bothered to learn. Yet he was put in charge.

The Trump administration seems to be firing anyone connected to the previous administration, deliberately gutting every federal agency, and not replacing them.

We are going to pay a very dear price in the near future for such willful ignorance and arrogance.

Bernadine Kline


Yes, an invasion

A Dec. 21 letter writer is 100 percent on the mark concerning massive uncontrolled illegal immigration. (10A) My own ancestors lived with the outcome of massive uncontrolled immigration. Those migrants waged war and brought destruction to my ancestors’ society when they came to their land illegally.

If anyone has any doubt, just look at the history of the Cherokee, Osage, Lakota and any other people who were here before the invasion.

Wes Durham

Kansas City

Two local greats

Thank you for the Dec. 16 Arts + Culture cover story about the amazing photography of Gordon Parks being showcased at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (1C, “Kansas treasure Parks lives on in D.C. art show”)

Considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Parks was also a pianist, composer, novelist, poet and more. Born poor in 1912, he experienced the added cruelty and injustices faced by black people in America.

But if you can’t travel to Washington, visit a library or bookstore or go online to find local writer Ann Parr’s lovely picture book, “Gordon Parks: No Excuses.”

Parr, a native of north central Kansas who moved to Kansas City five months ago, is a Parks researcher and writer. Her book containing 35 of his photographs is suitable for kids and adults. It was a 2007 Carter G. Woodson Elementary Level Honor Book and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2007 and received a 2007 Storytelling World Resource Award Honor.

Parr is a member of the Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens and is working on a book of historical fiction in poetry focused on Gordon Parks.

Roslyn Bethke