Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss inciting hatred, raiding IRAs and bad treatment by police

This can’t be us

I am scared. I am heartbroken. My father, a member of “The Greatest Generation,” fought in World War II to rid our world of a leader who whipped up fear and hatred of people who were “other” from them because of their religion.

People of morality and conscience, please listen to your better angels and don’t allow this country to fall down that hole of hatred. Our country is great because of our diversity.

Molly Mitchell



Not so secure

If you think our representatives in Congress are doing nothing, guess again. They have figured out another way to tax traditional individual retirement accounts.

For more than 30 years, the government encouraged Americans to save for retirement through these accounts. Contributions are tax free, but withdrawals are taxed at retirement, usually in a lower tax bracket.

Traditional IRAs have the additional benefit that when the owner dies, the remaining value can be passed to heirs as an inherited IRA, with the distributions stretched over their lifetimes — possibly 20 to 40 years. These distributions are then taxed as regular income at the heirs’ tax rate.

Now the House has approved and the Senate is considering the SECURE Act. This bill would require heirs to withdraw the full value of IRAs within 10 years. This would take millions of hard-saved retirement dollars from our children.

If you left $1 million to your children, they would have to withdraw at least $100,000 per year, forcing them into higher tax brackets and sending vastly more tax revenue to the government. Notify your senator to vote no on this bill.

Gary Larison

Overland Park

Bad attitudes

Tonya Staeger’s Sunday guest commentary sure hit the nail on the head. (19A, “Law enforcement doesn’t have to be ‘us versus them’”) I don’t understand why law enforcement officials (mostly) have to be such jerks.

I vividly remember my first contact with the police in 1951, when I was 15 years old. I was riding with my best friend, Jack, in his 1929 Ford on Truman Road in Independence, traveling well under the speed limit. A cop pulled us over. He rudely accused Jack of having a stolen license plate and made us follow him to the police station, where he was proved wrong. We were stunned at how shabbily the officer treated us throughout the encounter.

Lest you think that we were a couple of troublemakers, let me say that neither of us ever got kicked out of school. Both of us got college degrees, with Jack getting his master’s. I have never been arrested for anything, and I got my second (and last) traffic ticket in 1959.

At the time, I thought maybe our experience was an anomaly, but the ensuing years have shown me otherwise. Most contacts I ever had with the police left a bad taste in my mouth.

Vernon Hales


Bigger than guns

In Tuesday’s front-page story, “Gun violence takes more than a dozen teen lives so far this year in KC area,” Ad Hoc Group Against Crime President Damon Daniel asks, “How can we get at the root of this problem?”

The problem is not just the violence. In many respects, the violence — gun or otherwise — is a symptom of a much larger problem.

We are experiencing the pain and desperation of a society in crisis, the slow but constant erosion of the institutions that have been the bulwark of American civilization. Among these are healthy families, thriving churches, community involvement and effective public education, all of which give our young the best chance of becoming contributing members of society.

Government also has been complicit by creating programs that in essence encouraged the destruction of families and individual responsibility in large segments of our communities. This is what the decline of a culture looks like.

Daniel also declares, “There is not a simple solution to this.” And he is right.

It has taken decades of poor and sometimes corrupt government and decadence on the part of much of the population to lead us to this dark time. I only hope that our leaders can find the political will and wisdom to do what is necessary to reverse this frightening reality.

Jerry Foulds

Kansas City

No liftoff

I’ve been watching the news about the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Fifty years ago, humans accomplished the monumental task of putting a man on the moon. Today, they still cannot manage to get the Boeing 737 Max flying again.

Bruce Erickson

Lee’s Summit