Letters to the editor on Obama spending, talk-show hosts, mentally ill and guns

01/24/2013 6:43 AM

01/24/2013 6:43 AM

Cutting spending not Obama priority

“Priorities for new term” (Jan. 20 Eagle Editorial) expressed the hope that our fiscal condition would be a top priority for our president in his second term. The truth to which so many seem blinded is that President Obama has no intention of cutting anything from spending or reforming any entitlements (except for perhaps means-testing Medicare and Social Security). He did not campaign on it and does not think it appropriate or necessary. In fact, Obama wants dramatically more spending.

The Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers, an Obama supporter, recently asked why Republicans or Democrats expect fiscal restraint from this president. She thinks he has been clear. He is committed to social justice and income redistribution. Just weeks ago, he told House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that we do not have a spending problem, we have a health care problem. He declared these commitments in his inaugural address.

For reasons that remain incomprehensible to this citizen, the Republican Party has failed to communicate the truth about our president at a time when most Americans believe government spending is a problem. Apart from new leadership and strategy on the part of the Republicans, and a reality check by Democrats, our fiscal future looks bleak.

CAROL KRANTZ WEBB

Wichita

Watch language

If the nation is to bring a reconciliatory movement among its peoples of various views, it should hold talk-show hosts accountable for their use of verbally destructive language.

Inflammatory remarks made by men toward other men of distinction should be quieted. Men who have three hours of unending control over a microphone as talk-show hosts should demonstrate, through their choice of words, reasonable discourse on topics.

What I hear on one of our local radio shows is an unending barrage of offensive language and shouting directed toward people who disagree with them. They continuously make belittling comments about those in leadership positions who are at odds with their way of thinking.

Patriotism is a choice. It is not determined by one’s political ideology. Owners of radio talk programs need to consider what they will and will not tolerate. When I called to voice my objection, I was asked, “Then why do you listen if you don’t like what’s being said?” My patriotic response was, “It is my duty as a citizen to ask for decent discourse on the public airwaves, as it benefits all of society.”

Radio stations, like television stations, need to take the higher road. What value is there of work if it brings nothing of worth to the betterment of a society?

DOUGLAS R. EVERINGHAM

Valley Center

Better reporting

Every recent “significant mass shooting” has involved a person with some previous indication of mental disturbance or related intent to commit such acts of violence.

One key problem in screening for and reporting mental disturbance to prevent access to deadly weapons is that current legal standards do not permit reporting unless the suspect individual has already been “adjudicated mentally incompetent” and/or involuntarily committed for mental treatment. But the perpetrators of these incidents acquire their deadly tools and commit their crimes well before the legal process reaches the “go/no-go” point for reporting and database filing.

As a former manager in a Fortune 100 company, I can tell you that corporations have developed and are using confidentiality methods for referral and treatment of mental health and other sensitive issues that protect the individuals from undue attention or open public record that could harm their long-term reputation, job or family situation.

The same criteria could be used to develop and implement screening and reporting methods to prevent access to deadly weapons by troubled individuals. The key is appropriate reporting of concerns observed by others. Referrals for treatment and other remedial actions can be pursued in conjunction with such reporting. Possible removal from a “ban list” can be addressed downstream, by completion of appropriate treatment or by process of further evaluating the nature of the initial perceived concern.

Such a process could provide a fair balance between protection of individuals against being unfairly “blacklisted” and protection of society.

RICHARD NOTT

Wichita

Disturbing view

I have read and heard a great deal regarding guns and control since the horror in Connecticut. What is disturbing is the pro-gun viewpoint of seeming indifference to the pain and agony inflicted. The view seems to be that “it is important for me to be able to obtain any gun I want when I want it – more important than the lives of little children.”

Let us look at a couple of hard facts: If there were no guns, there would be no gun violence. The United States has, by far, more guns per capita than any other country in the world, and it has more gun violence than any other country in the world.

The pro-gun lobby states that the answer to our gun violence is to put more guns on the street. If this is true, then surely the answer to traffic jams is to put more cars on the street. After all, cars don’t cause traffic jams; people cause traffic jams.

I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and a gun owner. However, I believe that we could make some commonsense changes to our laws to make it much more difficult for people who should not have guns to obtain guns, without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns.

JIM GILES

Wichita

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