Letters to the editor on Rolling Stone photo, being responsible, Kansas politics, drinking age

07/22/2013 12:00 AM

07/19/2013 5:54 PM

Rolling Stone flap misses the point

The controversy over the picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine misses the point.

Every picture that TV news showed of him struck me as unbelievable, because he looked like any of the boys I saw in my classroom in my 32 years of teaching secondary school. Had I seen Tsarnaev the first day of school, I undoubtedly would have classified him as unlikely to speak in class but also unlikely to create problems. Never would I have thought “terrorist.” I would have been wrong.

Rolling Stone wrote an article about a young, easily-led teenager who is now charged with committing a horrendous, senseless act. The contrast between his appearance and his deeds was meant to shock. The editors were trying to make us see that we can’t tell by looking who will commit such acts, and we err when we try to make them conform to preconceived ideas. Terrorists come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Even Timothy McVeigh did not look like the monster he was.

Young people are vulnerable and should be better treated in our schools, with top-of-the-line education to help them counter other forces in their lives. Are you listening, Gov. Sam Brownback?

MEL ZIMMERMAN

Wichita

Be responsible

An idea expressed by columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. was far different from my understanding of the many moral and social issues in our society (“Forced sterilization still happening,” July 15 Opinion).

His focus was on “forced sterilization,” though it seems there is a broader reasoning behind what he referred to as Americans keeping “the nation’s gene pool from being polluted.” That reasoning is that many would like to see members of our society take more responsibility for their own choices and actions.

A woman who was in prison when she gave birth to her six child and who later regrets having had a sterilization shows no sign of responsibility – for her children, to the society in which she lives, or to the one who gave her life and breath.

The key to many of our issues – regardless of the color of our skin or status of our lives – is taking personal responsibility for our decisions, choices and actions.

JOY L. REED

Wichita

No way to hide

There was a time when most of us were proud of our Kansas heritage. We were from Kansas and that was a good thing. But things have changed – a lot. And there’s no way to hide it.

Friends and relatives from out of state visit, mention Gov. Sam Brownback and shake their heads. We say: “Yeah, I know. I didn’t vote for him.” They shake their heads again.

Someone brings up the Koch brothers and asks, “Don’t they know what the Kochs stand for?” We shrug our shoulders and look down.

And now someone notes that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., believes he can single-handedly sabotage the 20-year effort to assure health care for everyone, like every other advanced nation has. We shudder.

Then we think of Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, and hope our friends haven’t heard about him.

Surely no one would vote for these people.

BRUCE BALES

Andover

Lower drinking age

The legal drinking age should be the same as the age one becomes a legal adult. At 18, we are told that we are old enough to make our own decisions. If so, we should have the opportunity to decide whether we should drink. It’s not right to tell people that they are now adults, old enough to make life-changing decisions (such as attending college and moving out), then tell them that they are not old enough to decide whether or not to grab a beer with some friends and unwind on the weekends. It’s a double standard and it’s wrong.

COURTLY PHILLIPS

Arkansas City

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