Letters to the Editor

June 17, 2012

Letters to the editor about destructive policies, jail abuse, voting in primary, bad driving, politicians, privatizing government, hope for country

America is not in a state of decline. It is healthy and strong. But it is becoming suicidal.

U.S. is healthy but acts suicidal

America is not in a state of decline. It is healthy and strong. But it is becoming suicidal.

All societies must raise their children to be adults who are capable and willing to contribute to the well-being of society. In the past, America did this by providing its children with a free high school education. However, a high school education is no longer sufficient for the needs of a highly technological society.

Today, for the well-being of our country, the majority of our youths must have several years of advanced academic or technical training. Society is requiring its young people to accumulate huge debts to pay for advanced training. We are essentially indenturing the majority of our young people. Doing so is shortsighted, heartless and self-defeating.

Our second failure is with regard to immigration. We are an increasingly elderly society whose birthrate is insufficient for our future needs. Yet we overly restrict the number of trained immigrants, and we exploit and humiliate the “illegals” while cynically depending on them to work our farms, work in our hotels and even in our homes.

Finally, we believe that government is not the solution; it is the problem. We fail to remember that a strong, democratic society is essential for human well-being, and that we have an obligation to provide that government with sufficient funds.



Abuse disgusting

Never in my life have I been more angered or disgusted by a story than when I read “Documents: Officials knew of jail abuse” (June 10 Eagle).

It’s beyond belief that “grown men,” whose salaries were paid with our tax dollars, allegedly reverted to grade school tactics and wrote songs and slogans and created “artwork” purposely aimed at belittling mentally handicapped inmates in the Sedgwick County Jail.

Even more shameful, some in command of these officers allegedly condoned and encouraged the activities by awarding the “best” products. According to one jail employee, some deputies provoked altercations, and when the deputies got hurt, the inmates usually got charged with a felony.

If that isn’t a crime, it should be.

The county needs to bring in an outside group to do some serious investigations. If it’s determined that employees did make fun of our mentally ill and disabled, some housecleaning needs to be done. The guilty officers should do some time behind bars, and Sheriff Robert Hinshaw should be voted out of office. The system of jailing the mentally handicapped also needs to be reviewed as, according to the article, half of jail inmates suffer some form of mental disability.

It’s small consolation to know that if something is done to stop and punish such an atrocity, then maybe Edgar Richard Jr. didn’t die completely in vain.



Vote in primary

If you are dismayed at the dysfunctional performance of our state Legislature, particularly with the tax cuts that will certainly devastate education and many other vital services, the crucial election for Kansas will be in the Republican primary in August – not in the general election. It is time to make your voice heard.

Voters who are registered with the Democratic Party or as independents may have little effect on the outcome. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other fiscal extremists have targeted moderate Republicans who do not completely support Gov. Sam Brownback’s legislative agenda.

Depending on the new voting district lines, moderates may have more success voting in the primary as registered Republicans. I was registered as a Democrat but recently registered as a Republican so I can support moderate Republicans in the primary. If I wish, I may still vote for Democratic candidates in November.

Changing party registration is easy and can be done online for every county in Kansas (www.voteks.org). It must be done no later than July 17 for the Aug. 7 primary.

Regardless of party affiliation, if you are concerned about Kansas, please check your candidate’s voting record before you vote. The future of Kansas depends on responsible voting.



Scrutinize officials

Regarding “Voters scrutinize public employees” (June 10 Eagle): It appears that voters are overlooking and giving a free pass to the public employees who are the cause of the injustice and need the most austerity.

I am speaking of our politicians, starting with Congress and going all the way down to our city officials. Most have the best insurance that money can buy. They enjoy salary increases that they themselves have approved, even in this poor economy. They also are wined and dined by lobbyists and special interest groups whose interests take preference over those of the people.

Yet the firefighters, police officers, teachers and other public employees who actually do what they are paid to do are made the scapegoats.

Our representatives are destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and our Postal Service by using money paid into these services to cover shortages in other areas.

I pray that before the presidential election, we the people take the time to find out the actual facts – instead of believing the worst commercials that money can buy, as happened in Wisconsin. We owe it to ourselves to be well-informed in order to make the best possible decisions.



Privatize jobs

Concerning government employees’ paychecks and benefits and all the fuss over collective-bargaining rights for public employees: The solution is to privatize everything – schools, Postal Service, all government agencies.

Let knowledgeable businesspeople run these as they would any business. They would hire and fire as they see fit, and workers would have to earn their pay and benefits, just as the rest of us do.

Yes, it could be done. Government workers just don’t want to lose their safe, cushy jobs.

I realize many do an excellent job, but there are also many who don’t.

Accountability is the key.



Bad driving

Once again, I recently had a person zoom around me. If I had not slammed on the brakes, we would have collided. But this person was able to brag about getting to the exit first.

This is only one of the many bad driving habits I see each day driving around town. It is time that this kind of behavior is shut down to get lower insurance rates. People who drive like this are so bad they can’t even teach their children to drive.

When freeways started to be common in the early 1950s, there were 30-second cartoons on TV about how to drive. They showed how to get on and off a freeway, and how to pass and change lanes on a highway. Maybe young drivers would watch and learn from similar cartoons today. Meanwhile, older drivers should have to pay big fines for passing on yellow lines, improperly changing lanes, shooting through yield signs at twice the speed limit, and running red lights.

More than once, I have stopped and given my business card to a person who was hit by a red-light runner. I was later contacted by the lawyer for one of the runners and questioned about why I stopped. I said I was tired of people lying about accidents and getting off.



Hope for country

There is still hope for our state and country based on what was published on The Eagle’s Opinion pages on June 10: The Eagle editorial board wrote the editorial “Judges did their job” about redistricting. University of Kansas professor Burdett Loomis wrote “Tax cuts benefit few.” And area letter writers wrote “Opening volley,” “Wrong priority,” “Do with less?” and “Governor’s rhetoric is not reality.”

If only there were more such “big picture” thinkers in our state and in Congress.



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