Letters to the Editor

January 6, 2013

Letters to the editor on excessive shooting, Second Amendment, no-tax pledgers, Brownback’s image, greedy retirees, raiding highway fund, PTC, Garvey

I have lived in rural Sedgwick County for 35 years and am a lifelong outdoor sports enthusiast who appreciates firearms more than most people do. I have a reverence for our shooting heritage. But it saddens me that the ethics of sportsmanship, camaraderie and love of nature are not very prominent anymore.

Need ban on excessive shooting

I have lived in rural Sedgwick County for 35 years and am a lifelong outdoor sports enthusiast who appreciates firearms more than most people do. I have a reverence for our shooting heritage. But it saddens me that the ethics of sportsmanship, camaraderie and love of nature are not very prominent anymore.

What prompts my letter is the ever-present sound of gunfire from one horizon to the other near my house. This is not casual plinking or goose hunting but the type found on shooting ranges and in battlefield skirmishes. I am sure that I am not the only person in the county who feels that his house is under siege.

I support the right of citizens to defend themselves and protect their property. However, I think no one has the right to torment his neighbors, freak out livestock, and make all around him worried for their safety.

I think there should be ordinances banning excessive shooting in the county, like the ones imposed for fireworks. The fireworks restrictions have as much to do with nuisance as fire hazard, and anyone who has the compulsion to shoot hundreds of rounds for hours without end is a nuisance. Such people should take it indoors to a range where they are welcome, or at least go to an isolated place where they won’t jeopardize the rights of peace-loving citizens.



Court has ruled

I am disappointed that the debate on gun control has become an emotional rampage, not a fact-driven discussion.

I have seen many letters to the editor addressing the intent of the framers of the Constitution as justification for gun control, bans and confiscation. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard the arguments about the Second Amendment as written, and concluded that it protects an individual right, not just a collective right, and applies to arms in common use at the time. In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, modern weapons were in question.

The Bill of Rights is an instrument designed to protect the rights of the people that, in times of tragedy or unrest, people seem quick to throw away. If our framers had not felt this right was crucial, it may not have fallen directly behind the freedoms of speech, religion, press and assembly.

Our forefathers, an untrained group of civilians, fought off the British army with weapons as modern as were available. We forget our own history, and the histories of other countries that were not so lucky. We should count ourselves fortunate to have these rights.

The “well-regulated militia” argument is settled, and the Supreme Court has spoken. We the people have the right.



No-tax pledgers

It’s worked so well in Washington, D.C., that now Americans for Prosperity has asked Kansas state legislators to sign “no-tax” pledges. Legislators would be forgiven increases in the state sales tax as long as they vote for decreases in state income tax. This sticks the poor with a higher tax burden so that AFP’s billionaire sponsors can get an even bigger tax cut.

State legislators from my area who already have signed this pledge include Reps. George “Joe” Edwards, R-Haysville; Phil Hermanson, R-Wichita; Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane; Jim Howell, R-Derby; and Sen. Mike Petersen, R-Wichita. It’s amazing that Edwards – who hasn’t served in the Legislature, been sworn in, sat in on a hearing or heard a bill on the floor of the House – already has his mind made up.

The state could really save money by disbanding the Legislature and letting Americans for Prosperity and Gov. Sam Brownback call the shots. Wait – we’re already doing that.



Brownback’s image

It is generous of The Eagle to publish a series of articles that attempt to improve the image of Gov. Sam Brownback in the face of the negative impressions of some of his policies. It seems to some extent to be a case of “I don’t get no respect” – of people not recognizing the value of some of his policies, not giving him proper credit, as it were.

The Dec. 30 article specifically mentioned Brownback deserving as much credit for his hard stance against unions as other red-state hard-liners. That’s a seemingly strange thing to want to be admired for.



Greedy retirees?

Those greedy retirees want a cost-of-living raise, but the retirement fund doesn’t have the money (“Retiree groups want boost in public pensions,” Jan. 1 Local & State). Someone ought to point out that our legislators decided they wouldn’t pay their matching portion for a number of years and made some bad investments. Does Social Security ring a bell when hearing this?



Stop raiding fund

As the Legislature meets to consider various issues related to the lives of all Kansas citizens, one thing in particular needs to be addressed: the practice of raiding the Kansas highway fund to fund other items in the budget not covered because tax breaks have been given to everybody and his brother. This practice, if not illegal, would seem at best immoral.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Kansas lawmakers withdrew $1.4 billion earmarked for transportation improvements between 2000 and 2012. This money was used for such things as operations for the Kansas Highway Patrol, subsidized airline tickets in Wichita and state Medicaid programs.

When will such practices stop? When will we return to some kind of fiscal sanity where we pay for what we want instead of using magic and sleight of hand to solve problems? If the purpose of all this restructuring of the budget is to bring business to Kansas, it would seem that having good roads and good schools would be a priority over giving tax breaks.


Bel Aire

Pompeo’s bias

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, was named the lead critic of the wind energy production tax credit in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial. As Pompeo basks in the glory of being the lead opponent of the wind industry, which goes far beyond the PTC issue, Kansas suffers lost jobs and reduced revenues to rural communities.

Pompeo creatively utilizes semantics as he states his intention to end all energy subsidies. His cleverly crafted legislation blatantly ignores the 100-year-old unique intangible drilling cost and percentage depletion oil and gas tax deductions, which are more costly than the PTC to the U.S. Treasury.

Perhaps Pompeo’s bias against wind energy results from its competition with natural gas, as Westar Energy is buying wind power at below the cost of other forms of new generation. Open Secrets indicates oil and gas topped Pompeo’s 2010-12 campaign contribution list at $544,156, nearly tripling the next closest sector.

We can be thankful that Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Gov. Sam Brownback don’t participate in such corporate cronyism and instead support the PTC, along with oil and gas tax incentives. Kansans should expect similar parity in energy policy from Pompeo.



Inspiring example

Thanks to The Eagle for its remembrance of Jean Kindel Garvey, particularly her tireless efforts on behalf of our community’s children (“Philanthropist Jean Garvey dies at 90,” Jan. 1 Eagle).

In 2005 Child Start honored Garvey as a “Children’s Champion.” Her remarks in accepting the award were exactly as everyone will remember her – humble, sincere, gracious. And funny.

Wichita is much the better for Garvey’s work and her inspiring example. I know I speak for many in expressing sympathy to her family. All of us will miss her, too.


Executive director

Child Start Inc.


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