Letters to the Editor

December 18, 2012

Letters to the editor on Sandy Hook shooting, gun control, O’Donnell

The murders of children in peaceful Newtown, Conn., have jolted our nation. Many in that community and across the nation have turned to prayer. It is our deepest instinct to turn to the Holy when we are wrenched by inexplicable violence.

City, nation should turn to prayer

The murders of children in peaceful Newtown, Conn., have jolted our nation. Many in that community and across the nation have turned to prayer. It is our deepest instinct to turn to the Holy when we are wrenched by inexplicable violence.

Some would turn to ratcheting up gun-control laws, or other political actions, when clearly what is called for is a sustained life dedicated to spiritual values such as worship, prayer, compassionate action and peacemaking. Wichita and Sedgwick County have more than 900 worshipping congregations that represent the full spectrum of spiritual diversity.

When I was in Iraq in 2006, I opened the Stars and Stripes and found a beautiful picture of our Keeper of the Plains, an image of prayer in the midst of war.

The governor of Connecticut likened the murder in Newtown to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Our nation turned briefly to prayer in those days, then turned to war. I pray that our community and our nation will turn to prayer and that it will be lasting and transforming. Shall we pray?



Take action on guns

I am a mother, grandmother and teacher, and I am angry. President Obama is right; “meaningful action” must be taken. Enough is enough.

The way for us to heal from all this senseless violence is to act appropriately. The appropriate action is to stand up now in outrage and demand a ban on handguns and assault rifles.

The math is simple: People plus guns equals death; people plus more guns equals more death. More hate did not stop social injustice; more bombs did not stop the threat of war; and more guns will not stop the violence that has overtaken our homes, our schools, our cities and our nation.

It is our job as mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, mentors, custodians and guardians to protect our children and our citizens. We who know in our heart and our gut what is right can no longer bury our children and those we love in silence. We must say “enough is enough,” and we must do it now.



No chance

Since the terrible atrocities in Newtown, Conn., there have been innumerable pundits on TV suggesting, pleading and demanding solutions to evil actions taken by very sick individuals. Some call for more gun control, such as guns with limited capacities in their magazines.

Would nine killings be less troublesome than 20? These things aren’t cumulative. Twenty tragedies are just one tragedy done 20 times – each no less than the other 19, and 20 no more tragic than one. Would the proponents of limited magazine size be satisfied with nine killings but not 20? Ridiculous.

Those who are demanding a better mental health system probably have a good point. But wouldn’t they be the first to take the side of a troubled young person if the system removed him from society for treatment?

I saw only one commentator (a police detective) who had the most practical idea. He pointed out these mass killings occur in “gun-free” zones where the perpetrator has no fear of being stopped. He advocated for adults in schools being allowed to be armed.

If that were the case, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School might have been able to stop the carnage.

At least there would have been a chance. As it was, there was no chance.



Can’t be safe?

Why is the right to own an assault weapon more important than the lives of our children? How can we say we live in a free country when our children can’t even be safe in their own schools?

In order to be “free,” must we turn our schools, malls, theaters, homes, workplaces, etc., into fortresses to protect us against the insanity of our own society?



Anger misplaced

When Wichita City Council member Michael O’Donnell made an inconsequential mistake while offering his opinion to the Sedgwick County Commission, all members of the City Council “expressed varying degrees of anger” (Dec. 15 Local & State).

These council members and the mayor should recall their own actions and how O’Donnell opposed their assault on Wichita taxpayers.

In September 2011, all council members except O’Donnell voted to award a no-bid contract to a construction company. (Mayor Carl Brewer was absent that day, but earlier he voted for the letter of intent to do the same.)

Then, thanks to O’Donnell and council member Pete Meitzner, the city put the contract out for competitive bid. The result was a price about 20 percent less, saving taxpayers more than $1.2 million.

Ironically, the company that submitted the winning bid was the same company that received the no-bid contract: Key Construction, a company well-known for its owners’ and executives’ campaign contributions to the mayor and nearly all council members, regardless of political ideology.

Wichitans need to know that all except O’Donnell – and belatedly, Meitzner – thought it was proper to award their significant campaign contributors with a padded contract that awarded excess profits at the expense of taxpayers.



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