Letters to the Editor

Readers share views on guns, the Keystone pipeline and Star Magazine photos

Risks with guns

Guns that are stolen or that are bought at gun shows or that are sold by unscrupulous dealers, what does it all mean (1-18, A1, “Ill-gotten guns”)? Absolutely nothing.

If you are grievously wounded or killed by a firearm, where it came from or who fired it is irrelevant.

Guns are the issue.

Guns will not make you safe, nor will they make you virulent. They will put you and those around you in life-threatening peril.

That’s all that they will do for you.

Thomas J. Hogan

Kansas City

Keystone pipeline

I recently received an email from Rep. Sam Graves supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline.

It saddens me and my peers that Graves can put in print such incredibly false information.

If Graves continues to vote for this pipeline, he should be removed from his job for fraud. Graves’ email makes it obvious that he cares nothing about right from wrong and that he and his peers are totally bought and paid for.

Show some integrity.

Jim Bishop

Holt, Mo.

‘Out of the past’

The Jan. 18 Star Magazine “Out of the past” photo feature included a shot of a World War II Japanese submarine on parade on Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kan., in 1943. That same submarine was on display in front of Union Station, where my parents took me to see it.

Although I was only 4 years old, that memory remains vivid. During the war, the family needed ration stamps to buy gasoline, sugar and other items in short supply because of the needs of our troops in Europe and in the Pacific.

Like many other American families, we had a victory garden in the backyard to provide vegetables of several sorts. We saved cooking grease in tin cans and turned it in for collection to be used in the creation of lubricants for the war effort.

When I started grammar school, I would buy stamps for 10 cents to paste into a booklet that, when filled, could be exchanged for war bonds.

After the war, there was another exhibition in the Fairfax area, where Nazi V1 and V2 rockets, the so-called buzz bombs, were on display. They drew large crowds.

Thanks for the chance to reminisce over those old photos.

Roy Busdiecker

Colonel

U.S. Army, Retired

Overland Park

I enjoyed the old pictures in the Sunday paper. One note, however. Those pictures from the 1960s are not old to an 84-year-old. They are just yesterday.

Glenn E. Pilcher

Shawnee

Absent at the polls

“Latino voters need a wake-up call,” Kansas Rep. Louis Ruiz wrote in an As I See It essay Jan. 14 in The Star. But hold on.

Is it just Latino voters who need a wake-up call?

In the 2014 fall general election, only about 51 percent of Johnson County registered voters went to the polls. And, of course, not all citizens eligible to register to vote did so.

Do the math. It is obvious a small minority of citizens actually elect our government officials.

Thanks to MainStream Coalition for assembling a panel last week at the Johnson County Library to address low voter turnout. Many reasons were cited: restrictive voting laws, unexciting or unqualified candidates, negative attitudes toward politicians, the “my vote won’t count” sentiment, public apathy, difficulty understanding issues and inconvenient voting sites.

Panelists disagreed over the reasons, but they all agreed with Bruce Newby, Wyandotte County election commissioner, who said: “If we’re going to have a democracy, citizens have to vote....” We must “create a culture of voting, a culture of participation.”

How do we create that culture? There are no easy answers. But at least some are asking those questions, and others are willing to engage in the dialogue.

The League of Women Voters intends to contribute to the conversation.

Ann Norbury

Diane Kuhn

Co-Presidents

Johnson County League

of Women Voters

Shawnee

Honoring Earth

I am always glad to find environmental news, so I turned eagerly to the Jan. 20 FYI eco article, “Ideas to save the world.” It was fine to find LED light bulbs touted and to be reminded about our grocery bags and our plastic bottles.

But the five-second rule? Tactfully, I’d say this issue is between us and the family dog.

If we want to really save the life we like on this planet, there are some bigger fish to fry. We all need to make changes, and they are big ones.

To slow climate change, every one of us needs to buy less, drive less, fly less and enjoy the things we have. We can look at our investments and make sure we’re not supporting companies that harm the Earth and urge our colleges and universities to do the same.

And because nothing we do can match the damage done by a coal-fired power plant or a fracking site, the best thing we can do is keep after our people in Washington, pay attention to how they vote and, if we don’t like it, in the next election we can vote for people who honor the health of the Earth.

Karin McAdams

Prairie Village

Police appreciation

How about we have a new national holiday on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. Call it Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

It would be a well-deserved day off for all law-enforcement officials and a day for all of us to reflect on their jobs while we hunker down in our homes.

Does anyone think the United States would survive even one day without law enforcement? Think about it.

And, oh yes, there’d be no need to repeat the holiday in 2016. After the 2015 holiday, the United States as we know it today would be found only in the history books.

This “holiday” will never happen, of course, because law-enforcement officers would refuse to participate. They are too dedicated to their profession and too loyal to you and to me — the many they protect from the few.

I would heartily support a nationwide Law Enforcement and Firefighter Appreciation Day initiative. It’s a day of recognition that all of these public servants have certainly earned.

Jerry Ameling

Lee’s Summit

Krauthammer column

After reading Charles Krauthammer’s Jan. 20 column, “President seems blind to threat of jihadists,” I wonder what he would have President Barack Obama do about the jihadists.

We know what he thinks Obama is doing wrong. But what should we be doing?

He, like most Republicans, has no suggestions. They do nothing wrong by doing nothing. They are just good at complaining.

I am tired of reducing taxes on the rich and starting wars. That has only caused more problems.

Corky Lewis

Lee’s Summit

Protecting horses

Currently, about 50,000 wild horses — once called “symbols of freedom” by Congress — languish in unsheltered holding pens. The roundups are cruel, with atrocities visited upon foals, older horses and pregnant mares that cannot keep up with the furious pace set by low-flying helicopters terrorizing them.

After capture, they face a questionable future.

My concerns and those of others for the animals are often ignored unless we belong to special interest groups or the information can be used against the “other party.”

The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which prohibits the slaughter of American horses for food, sits in committee with a promise from a high-ranking Republican that it won’t come up for a vote. A high-ranking Democrat has declared his intention to “zero out the herd” to accommodate a deal with China.

America has room on its public lands for the horses and the Chinese deal. How dare lawmakers disregard the will of the American people who are overwhelmingly against the slaughter of our horses?

The American people want our horses running free. Without horses, this country couldn’t have been settled and wars would have been lost.

In my America, the will of the people — not the will of those with money — should drive the actions of the government.

Jeanne Brummet

Joplin, Mo.

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