Letters to the Editor

Readers share views on civil rights, domestic violence and the movie ‘Selma’

Meaningful photo

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when I saw the photo on the cover of The Star’s Martin Luther King Jr. special section “50 years later, march goes on,” only one word came to my mind — dignity.

The people in the photo are dressed in a dignified manner, with women in dresses and virtually every man in a tie. No one has droopy pants.

Many have smiles on their faces. Not a single American flag is upside down. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is waving, not expressing anger at police or others.

Today’s protesters have lost the moral high ground that the civil rights protesters of 50 years ago held. How sad.

Ed O’Toole

Kansas City

Domestic violence

Save me the barrage of public-service announcements during National Football League games. The NFL is a business entity, and nothing more.

It surely is not a babysitter for the players. If Janay Rice had pressed criminal charges, Ray Rice would be serving a prison sentence for his actions. There would be no speculation over which team is going to be sleazy enough to offer him a contract next season.

Janay Rice did not want to be married to poor man Ray Rice. She wanted to be married to NFL millionaire Ray Rice. She decided that getting beat up and knocked out once in a while was an acceptable trade for the money and the status.

Lawrence Subelka


Review of ‘Selma’

Robert Butler is wrong (1-9, C1, “Saga of MLK and the civil rights era comes to vivid life”). The film “Birth of a Nation” was not a “Civil War epic.”

It included significant footage about the Reconstruction era and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan, after the Civil War. It retold the story of Thomas Dixon’s book, “The Clansman.”

And the film, like the book, was a screed intent on defending white supremacy, plain and simple. During the 1920s, the film was widely used as Klan recruiting tool. (I have seen the film and read the book.)

Using this bit, however small, to open an article on the movie “Selma” is like discussing in a positive fashion Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” to start a review of “Shoah.” The fact that President Woodrow Wilson so highly regarded “Birth of a Nation” says less about the film and more, unfortunately, about his own views.

Leonard Zeskind

Institute for Research

& Education

on Human Rights

Kansas City

Killings of kids

I so agree with the writer of the Jan. 9 letter, “Drive-by slaying.” Where is the public outrage for the shooting of our children?

Where are the protests? What can we do as individuals and as a community to reduce such senseless killings?

Sylvia Swift

Lee’s Summit

McCoy’s ‘The Duplex’

I love “The Duplex” by Glenn McCoy. But how can a guy who’s so earthy be such a political neanderthal?

Never mind. I just answered my own question. Archie Bunker lives.

Herman Bonett

Lee’s Summit

Kansas workers

My husband, Tim Brown, is a social worker for Kansas.

In the four years we have been married, I have seen his department shrink and workers carry an almost unbearable load. The notion that the state has an excessive amount of employees is just not reality. The reality is many state programs are run inefficiently because of understaffing.

For most of 2014, my husband’s department covered four counties with only two social workers. They did work that used to be done by six social workers.

Often, Tim drives an hour and a half one way to interview clients and ensure their well being. If there were a social worker in the counties to the west, workers could be more productive with better outcomes.

My husband and his colleagues are hard-working Kansans who don’t deserve to bear the burden of Gov. Sam Brownback’s failed financial policies. I challenge you to walk a day in Tim’s shoes.

Emily Brown

Kansas City, Kan.

Gun shop slaying

A business owner defending his business and protecting his wife was murdered (1-12, A1, “Suspects facing murder charges”). Where is the outrage for this killing?

Where are the protests? Where are the community activists?

Where are the demonstrations?

Tim Thomas

Kansas City

Goodness of grapes

I was in my kitchen the other day popping green grapes in my mouth and suddenly noticed the word “seedless” on the bag. I realized that I’m eating a genetically modified product. “Oh no,” I thought.

I’m going to die, or worse morph into an “X-Files” creature.

Seriously, as a physician I have learned about biochemistry, physiology, genetics and many other science-related fields. From this cumulative knowledge, I know that any food product you place into your gut will be digested into its smaller-smallest molecule.

No genes are left intact. They are broken down into an elementary amino-acid, which cannot wreak havoc on our systems.

We have for years eaten genetically modified organisms created by nature, expedited by scientists.

The world is a better place because of such advances. Let’s use science to guide our thought about such developments or else we prevent products from helping our fellow man.

Michael Sweeney, M.D.


Pharmaceutical profits

There are interesting stories about the pricing of medicines. My latest encounter with a physician resulted in his phoning my pharmacy to call in a prescription.

But then he said that this particular prescription was now available as a generic.

The pharmacy produced the prescription for $95. I then asked about the same prescription as a generic, and the workers showed me where to find it on the shelf for $17.

If I had Part D prescription coverage, I might have bought the expensive one and saved a few dollars out of pocket.

No wonder pharmacies are so profitable.

Dave Ege

Kansas City

President missing

The world comes together in a show of unity and determination that terrorism will not win, and we are nowhere to be found (1-12, A2, “World leaders join Paris rally”). This has to be the final straw of any kind of support Americans can muster up for this president.

Can this be chalked up as another example of his inexperience and lack of the knowledge it takes to be president of the greatest country of the world? Or is it further proof he was and still is unqualified to hold this office?

How can there be any support for President Barack Obama’s authority? He is the Democrats’ worst enemy because he is forcing them to support his decisions for no other reason than to maintain the base support for their re-election.

Jerry Harper


Brownback’s castle

After forcing myself to listen to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speak after his inauguration, I imagined myself living in a world with pixies, dragons and a white knight in shining armor (1-13, A4, “‘Crisis of the family’ cited”). The white knight is Brownback, of course.

The huge financial, educational and health-care problems the state faces seem to have been caused by families not doing their jobs at home. It has nothing to do with underpaid workers, poorly paid teachers, a health-care system that does not serve the working poor or a breakdown of the family system in Kansas.

I can only guess at his solution — worship of the Christian God and his son, Jesus Christ. If only families would pray twice a day facing the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Keep men and women separate at times of prayer, and insist on unquestioned obedience by the woman toward her husband.

There are alternatives, such as to pay teachers more, keep our infrastructures safe, raise the minimum wage, force the wealthiest Kansans to pay their fair share in taxes, legalize marijuana and use the tax revenues.

Steven Addison

Kansas City