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Letters to the editor on enforcing gun laws, GOP contortions, higher ed, social-welfare groups

  • Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

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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.

Enforce existing gun laws

Regarding “Store shooter sentenced to work-release” (May 17 Local & State): Did I read that right? The guy who opened fire inside a store last summer received a sentence of 60 days in a work-release program?

This nation is currently divided over a solution to “gun violence.” Some politicians think the solution is to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning guns. These are citizens who feel a responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones. Citizens who have never been in trouble with the law or pose a threat to the community. Citizens like me.

Additionally, they seek to vilify the National Rifle Association, an organization that represents citizens like me in protecting my constitutional right to own firearms.

I agree with the NRA that there already are enough laws regulating firearms. We need only to enforce them and punish those who violate them. Severely punish them.

Although no one was injured by the shooter in this incident, the potential was certainly there. And will be there tomorrow.

More laws targeting honest, hardworking people are not the solution. An increased focus on those who may have psychological problems and the enforcement of existing laws, along with the aggressive sentencing of those convicted of those laws, seems like a sensible solution to me.

STEVE FOWLER

Wichita

GOP contortions

Congratulations to all those Republican legislators who voted for last year’s egregious tax bill. As you now struggle with the aftermath, you are demonstrating that what was thought to be anatomically impossible is possible.

I’m sure it will become easier in years ahead as you are forced to deal with the effects of the 2012 tax bill.

EVELYN CLARK

Haysville

Missing ingredient

Michael Austin of Newman University made a compelling argument for government support of higher education, and economic studies of developed economies confirm that higher education is a necessary ingredient for a nation’s economic growth (“Is higher ed a public or private good?” May 19 Opinion). But there is a presumption here that American businesses don’t seem willing to agree to in this day and age – that the education provided by our kindergarten-through-university system is providing them workers competent enough to support their company endeavors.

That may be a factor in the problem advanced by Dorian Warren – that wages are inadequate for workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and the like, serving only to enrich the executives and stockholders of such companies (“Gatsby and ‘McJobs,’” May 19 Opinion). But folks with Gatsby-level incomes don’t eat at places like McDonald’s and Burger King. So the customers must be some of those low-wage folks who find it desirable, and affordable, to dine at such places – to the detriment of their low-wage brethren and to the advantage of modern-day Gatsbys.

If their employers are to survive, maybe it takes a larger number of less-competent, lower-paid people in place of fewer better-equipped ones who could have commanded a higher wage.

HARRY R. CLEMENTS

Wichita

Why tax-exempt?

In all the coverage concerning the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups, I can’t help but wonder why no one has asked why tea party groups were even applying for tax-exempt status in the first place.

As I understand it, they were claiming they were social-welfare groups. Really? Maybe someone needs to explain to me what is meant by “social welfare.”

From everything I have seen and read, these groups march on the national as well as state capitals and have conventions with former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker. This doesn’t fit my definition of “social welfare.”

I belong to a couple of groups I think do fit the definition. We meet once a month and have presentations on various community organizations and services, such as the Wichita Children’s Home, the GraceMed Health Clinic, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the Wichita Public Library. We donate or volunteer time in support of them. Partisan politics are never mentioned, nor do we hesitate to list the members of our group, except to solicitors.

MEL ZIMMERMAN

Wichita

Not ignorant

I may be one of those people a letter writer thinks is ignorant of the Constitution (“Read Constitution,” May 18 Letters to the Editor). However, when the writer referred to “nature’s God,” “their Creator” and “divine Providence,” he was pointing to the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is not the basis of our government, or our laws.

Legislatures of the late 18th century did not have the benefit of polls. However, in many areas there were newspapers that provided a venue for public discourse, and such discourse may well have provided insight into the popular mood of the public at large. Personally, I would like legislators to be aware of polls as part of their individual assessment, regardless of how they end up voting. That is superior to lobbyists influencing legislative votes and corporations writing our legislative bills, as AT&T did for the Legislature this session.

Finally, this question: If a bond is proposed to help school funding in a specific community, and that bond proposal is rejected by the people, is the state off the hook? Shall we just say, “Sorry, Kansas Constitution, we gave it our best try”?

JOHN R. MAXWELL

Wichita

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