Letters to the editor on Southeast, gun control, river cleanup

04/28/2013 12:00 AM

04/26/2013 5:54 PM

Making the best of a bad situation

Wichita schools superintendent John Allison has done a marvelous job showing us how to make the best of a bad situation (April 23 Local & State). What the governor has done to K-12 school budgets, Wichita’s in particular, is dreadful. And Allison has reacted extremely well, with different uses of buildings and a way to build a new, well-equipped, large high school on the periphery of the district.

Of course, the superintendent probably knows that while larger schools have economies of scale that are financially useful, they also are less educationally effective. Lots of kids get “lost” in the big schools and are less able to learn at optimum rates. So Wichita’s original plan is best – to build a small, expandable school on the periphery of the southeast quadrant of the city, and let the population of the southeast part of town move slowly toward it.

How do we persuade our efficiency-seeking governor to give our school system back the tens of millions of dollars it needs to pursue its original plan? Telling schools to be efficient rather than effective is not our best use of resources.

The school board will sponsor meetings in May to discuss the situation. I join the board and superintendent in recommending lots of attendance.



Move Southeast

I’m a past student of Wichita Southeast High School, and my mother, sister and brother also attended there. But even with the family history, I support moving the school.

I graduated in 1995 with what I thought was a typical high school experience. Problems we had were large classes, students falling through the cracks, theft, gang threats and an outdated building. I don’t see it getting any better.

My grandparents have owned a house one block from the school since the 1960s. Through the years they have witnessed houses raided by the police, a known gang member commit suicide, and a neighbor arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. A young couple, for whom my grandmother had done babysitting, were robbed at gunpoint in the nearby Dillons parking lot while their small children were with them.

I live in Southeast’s district and have two small children who will not attend the current school. Although the money debate is an issue, my worries continue to be quality of education by providing the best facilities and safety we can.



Check background

If I have to show my government-issued ID to vote in Kansas, and show it, plus my Social Security number, to buy a hunting license in Kansas, I should have to show an ID and have a background check at a gun show. If ID is required to cash a check or go to a doctor appointment or ensure your VISA card belongs to you; if you have to have a background check to drive a school bus, or pee in a cup to drive any vehicle at work or fill a prescription for pills for pain from bulging disks in your neck; if you have to provide 50 pages of information to apply for a mortgage or get insurance – then you can do a background check at a gun show to buy guns that potentially can take the lives of innocent people.

Any argument to the contrary is just wedge-issue politics.

I am fed up with having to jump through more hoops to exercise my constitutionally guaranteed right to vote than to buy a gun at a gun show that can wipe out an entire first-grade classroom.

I do not want my grandchild to grow up in a militarized zone. I want her to go to school in a demilitarized zone, like I did. Punishing the masses by compromising our safety and security for the insanity of the few is not my America.



Anti-gun rhetoric

Regarding “Remember gun vote at next election” (April 20 Letters to the Editor): I bought a gun on the Internet last week. This is what happened: After paying for the gun, the seller had to give it to a federal firearms licensed (FFL) dealer, who charged him $35 to send it to an FFL near me. I had to pay this FFL $35 and pass a background check before I could take possession of a gun I had already paid for. The same rules apply at gun shows. The so-called gun-show loophole is if I rent a table and sell a few of my privately owned guns.

Please go to one of your local gun shows and try to buy a gun, or just walk around and ask questions. Go on the Internet and try to buy a gun – gunbroker.com is where I bought my gun.

As far as the rhetoric about gun control, my granny told me you can always tell when politicians are lying – their lips move.



Shameful vote

Before the Newtown, Conn., shooting, I’d abandoned hope of reducing deaths by firearms as not politically viable. But then I thought there might be a chance. I was encouraged reading about polls showing that 90 percent of the U.S. population favored universal background checks and, in the Wichita and Hutchinson area, 84 percent agreed.

Then some members of the Senate, including Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, tried to make it impossible to even put it to a vote.

Richard Crowson’s angry cartoon (April 21 Opinion) inspired me to unleash a bit of outrage, contempt and shame via this letter. His cartoon pictured the metaphor of our senators’ “caliber” regarding their vote against expanding background checks.

I was neither surprised nor shocked by their vote, and I’m confident they received an “amen, brother” from the National Rifle Association.

Still, in recent years our country has suffered more than 31,000 deaths by firearms annually. If any such legislation could reduce those deaths by 1 percent, then six people would survive each week who otherwise would have died.



No tinkering

The report about the lady who came within 2 feet of a tiger loose in the ladies’ room in Salina might help others realize why some people wish to carry concealed weapons with them everywhere they go (April 23 Eagle). Fortunately, a gun wasn’t needed in that case. The point is that you never know when you might need a gun to protect yourself from deranged men and women, burglars, snakes, a rabid skunk or other dangerous animals, or even as a survival signal for help or just scaring off a coyote in the chicken pen, something city folks just don’t understand.

Bravo for all our Kansas senators and representatives, both federal and state, and our three Sedgwick County commissioners who are standing tough against the stupid, useless remedies being proposed that will do nothing to keep us safe and only cause honest gun owners unnecessary hassles.

Please don’t listen to the uninformed and skewed polls and all the misinformation being circulated. The Second Amendment must stand as is, with no tinkering necessary.



Inspiring effort

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the article about the Great Arkansas River Trash Roundup (April 21 Local & State). I am inspired by the fact that so many people took time out of their day to accomplish something together as a community. It was great to see not only that something like this goes on annually, but that the number of volunteers is increasing to the point that they had to expand the cleanup area along the river. Many people brought their children and even grandchildren to help.

This kind of initiative is great, and I believe it will really help future generations appreciate and respect our natural landmarks more.



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