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Letters to the editor on picking justices, gun control, HealthWave success, store barriers

  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

Keep system for picking justices

For more than half a century, Kansas has used what is known as the “merit system” for selecting justices of the Kansas Supreme Court. This process is provided for in our state Constitution, which resulted from some mischief on the part of a former governor who was trying to wrangle a seat on the court. In the 1970s, when the state Court of Appeals was formed by law, it also provided for the use of merit selection in selecting its judges. Over this very long period, rarely, if ever, has a judge been ousted for cause.

The founders of this country realized the value of forming three coequal but independent branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. This “checks and balances” system has served Kansas citizens well. Why, then, is Gov. Sam Brownback pushing legislators to change this very effective process, to be replaced with political appointment?

As a citizen, you have a right to a fair and impartial hearing when you go to court. You expect the judge hearing your case to uphold the law, and issue a ruling free of any outside influence, including that of the governor who appointed him or her to the court.

I appeal to Kansas residents to talk with their legislators and urge them not to pass laws that would change our current judicial-selection system and put the impartiality of our judges at risk.

CAROLE A. NEAL

Co-president

League of Women Voters Wichita Metro

Wichita

Review gun laws

As someone whose home has, for many years, contained more than 25 firearms, I have had more than a passing interest in the discussions concerning gun-control legislation since the horrific crimes committed in Newtown, Conn. I am not currently a member of the National Rifle Association, but I am “pro-gun.”

Most countries have far fewer gun homicide deaths per 100,000 people than the United States. Whether this is because the qualifications for those who can own a firearm have been articulated quite a bit more thoroughly in the legal codes of other countries is a matter that probably should be investigated. It takes little more than money and an ID to get a gun here. I have walked into a local store, handed over my credit card and ID, waited a few minutes for the “background check,” and then walked out with a high-power rifle.

I’m not suggesting that the United States adopt severe and draconian rules for gun ownership. I am a firm supporter of our beloved Constitution. However, I am suggesting that some of these other countries’ rules for gun ownership might be worth examining, especially those that would pose no adverse constitutional issues for gun ownership in the United States.

BILLY WALKER

Wichita

Sensible rules

What’s this country coming to? An armed guard in every school? Are we becoming a Third World country?

I’m 84 years old and I have visited 49 of the 50 states and most of Europe. I never felt the urge to carry a gun. This is something new, all these cowboys running around packing heat. You don’t have any idea who’s the bad guy and who’s the good guy.

Let’s give this some thought and see if we can’t come up with some sensible restrictions that will let us join the rest of the world without destroying our hunting heritage and will still allow us to own legal firearms.

DICK RIDDLE

Wichita

Success story

Kansas’ $12 million federal award (“Enrollments in Medicaid earn state a bonus,” Dec. 21 Business Today) is a welcome reminder that when Republicans and Democrats work together, government can make real progress for real people – in this case, cutting red tape to cover uninsured children.

This award recognizes HealthWave’s success in protecting children’s health. While thousands of families have lost employer-sponsored health insurance, the uninsured rate among Kansas children has actually fallen, thanks to HealthWave and Medicaid.

That success happened because Republicans and Democrats in Topeka put children’s health ahead of politics and built a system that works for kids.

The federal HealthWave law will expire in 2015 unless Congress acts to extend and enhance it first. Leaders on both sides of the aisle need to hear that covering uninsured kids is a success story Kansas families want to continue.

BRUCE LESLEY

President

First Focus Campaign for Children

Washington, D.C.

Erect barriers

My daughter and I were at a Subway restaurant recently when a car came barreling through the front door and window. It caught two young women between the front grille of the car and the serving counter. Fortunately, it didn’t do much harm to the women.

If my daughter and I had been just 3 feet or less over to the center, we would have been knocked down and perhaps killed.

I saw recently in the news that the same thing happened in another state, as a van plowed into the front of a store.

I suggest that for public stores like these, parking be eliminated directly in front of the store or barriers be erected, such as guardrails or concrete posts, to protect the front of the store.

JOAN MORRISON

Wichita

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