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Letters to the editor on wildlife exhibit, Zimmerman case

  • Published Wednesday, July 24, 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.

Wildlife exhibit is money well-spent

“I think, therefore I am.” With that declaration in the 17th century, Rene Descartes famously began the great philosophical divide between man and nature that continues to this day. In fact, that separation has become more pronounced as populations have migrated from rural to urban settings.

That is why institutions like the Kansas wildlife exhibit in Riverside Park are so important to our psyche (“Cuts would affect park’s wildlife exhibit,” July 21 Eagle). They put us in touch with a nature most of us don’t experience on a daily basis. Not only that, but the exhibit showcases native wildlife and is free.

The wildlife exhibit is on the chopping block for 2015 as the city of Wichita deals with difficult budget issues. My veterinary office has donated services to the exhibit for years and sees firsthand the frugality, dedication and hardworking nature of the staff.

If, as Baba Dioum said in 1968, “in the end we will preserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught,” then $76,000 annually for the Kansas wildlife exhibit is money well-spent.

WILLIAM C. SKAER

Wichita

Race-baiting

I doubt that I am the only one who is sick of The Eagle and other media race-baiting in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. The extensive front-page, above-the-fold coverage of the president’s racial musing was inappropriate (July 20 Eagle). There is much more going on that is more worthy of the space. Editorial cartoons on Saturday and Sunday depicting blacks as somehow at risk while walking the streets were race-baiting in its purist form.

Anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of the law and who followed the case would have understood what the judge, prosecutor, jury and others connected with the case made very clear: It wasn’t about race or stand-your-ground laws. It was purely a self-defense question.

Even the extensive and prolonged U.S. Department of Justice witch hunt that preceded the trial turned up no evidence of a race component. In fact, the only racial thing unveiled in the trial was Martin’s use of the word “cracker” to describe Zimmerman. Where was The Eagle’s outrage over that?

The only racist thing about this case was the racial pressure that caused it to be brought to trial. So could we please move along?

STEVE OCHSNER

Goddard

Whole story?

Hasn’t anyone considered the likelihood that Trayvon Martin was the one acting in self-defense? After all, he didn’t provoke the confrontation; George Zimmerman did. How would you react if some “creepy” stranger stalked you for blocks at night, then accosted you as you were simply walking down the street, minding your own business?

But we’ll never get the whole story, because one of the participants is dead.

It’s already been suggested that the National Rifle Association initiate a program to encourage gun ownership for all young black males. “An armed society is a polite society,” it assures us. For some reason, I doubt that program will ever take place.

What I don’t doubt is that had Martin been armed, and had he succeeded in defending himself, he would have been tried and convicted of murder. Why do I have such a cynical view? The history of the past few centuries is responsible. You don’t have to be black to know this. All you have to do is pay attention to the world we live in.

ROBERT PECCHIONI

Wichita

True tragedy

The July 20 Eagle article about President Obama’s comments on George Zimmerman’s trial contained an unfortunately misleading statement. It said Zimmerman “shot Martin, 17, as he was walking home through a gated community in February 2012.”

Actually, Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin when Martin was sitting on top of Zimmerman, bashing his head into the concrete. That was the initial finding of the law enforcement investigation and the final finding of the jury that heard the evidence.

The case represents a true tragedy not only for the families involved but also for American justice, as our time-honored and principled system of laws and orderly legal processes gets abused more and more by media frenzy, angry mobs and politicians all pushing their own prejudices and agendas while undermining and second-guessing our courts and juries.

DONALD A. McKINNEY

Wichita

Do unto others

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Few would disagree that more adherence to this basic guide for human interaction would minimize problems that have to do with skin color, class and crime.

But what if the reality of an individual’s experiences is that a disproportionately large number of people within a certain range of skin colors or socioeconomic levels (or even types of clothing worn) engage in criminal behavior? Would this, at the least, justify mental alertness?

Mental alertness is a natural aspect of perception. But it should be tempered with the knowledge that the majority of all-inclusive generalizations are false. One has a right to be alert and cautious. One also has a moral obligation to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

EDDIE J. THOMAS

Wichita

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