Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss football deaths, MAGA hats and good Catholic priests

How things were

In August 1960, when I was a sophomore at Shawnee Mission East High School, we started football practice when it was in the upper 90s. We were in full gear in the middle of the afternoon, working out with various exercises, including running.

Several boys, as many as 15, passed out in the heat. They were carried down to the locker room. One of the boys died of heat exhaustion that day. They called off practice the next day, but the day after that, we went back to full practice — only we didn’t wear all the pads we had worn the first day.

There were no lawsuits. Nobody got in trouble. Things just went on as normal.

My, how times have changed.

Bob Bliss

Prairie Village

Not the First

The Star’s Thursday editorial, “Yes, the First Amendment still applies to teen wearing MAGA hat at Oak Park Mall,” (10A) completely misunderstands the First Amendment to the Constitution and its application to individual actors.

The First Amendment is a limit on government, not private people or businesses. The teenager who wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech, so neither the police nor any government authority could have legally told him to take it off.

The store employee who cursed the teen and told him to take it off was also exercising his right to political expression. If he had done so outside the mall, although his behavior was provocative and uncivil, he would have suffered no consequences.

Employers, however, have every right to discipline employees for bad behavior, and in this case it cost the employee his job.

But the First Amendment was not a factor in the incident because no government entity was involved.

Christopher Iliff


The true meaning

George F. Will’s recent column was an example of the mendacity that saturates our politics. (Feb. 23, 7A, “Socialism is now a classification that has come to classify nothing”)

He is not writing about “socialism” but progressive policies that are not socialist at all: health care, education, higher wages, maternity and paternity leave, child care and so on. They are implemented by advanced capitalist economies to become better capitalist economies. They pay for themselves in higher productivity and lower costs, not to mention an improved quality of life for everyone.

The left is also to blame for misusing the term and acting as if it were a panacea, without explaining its costs. Even if the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, revenue would have to be found to pay for the reforms.

Patrick Peebles

Roeland Park

Be realistic

Many Americans want someone to replace President Donald Trump, and Sen. Bernie Sanders has some great ideas. (Feb. 20, 6A, “Sen. Sanders starts his 2nd run for White House”)

It would no doubt be very good if this country could afford Medicare for all, tuition-free higher education for those who desire it and a living wage for everyone.

But where would the money come from? We won’t rob the the rich to pay for the poor. It is not going to happen.

Sanders’ candidacy is reaching for the stars and handing Trump another four years. One cannot step on oneself to step over someone else.

James M. Kilpatrick

Kansas City

The good priests

I am a practicing Catholic speaking up in support of our good priests and seminarians in the archdiocese who are being victimized by reason of association.

Please, if you must print derogatory statements, give our priests a chance to answer. It is so unfair to continue this harassment without giving them equal time.

Any priest or seminarian in the archdiocese will be happy to speak with you about the good works being done in our parishes and elsewhere.

J. Clara Van Meter

Overland Park

Break it off

I have been hearing a lot of complaining about the number of snow days being expended and the fear that the school year end date will need to be adjusted. How about this: Get rid of spring break.

I don’t know many schoolkids who are so stressed by the curriculum that they need an extended break seven weeks before school lets out for the summer. I do know a lot of parents who would stress less without the worry of entertaining the little ones for five extra days rather than being at work.

Put a little more emphasis on educating the kids and less time worrying about how many scheduled days off they get every school year.

Bob Hiller

Kansas City