Letters to the editor on special session, Syria, gun control, gun culture, Newton DMV

09/06/2013 12:00 AM

09/05/2013 5:20 PM

Legislature wise to fix Hard 50 law

The reasoning behind “Special session needed?” (Sept. 3 Eagle Editorial) left us scratching our heads. If, as the editorial board asserted (wrongly in our view), no procedural fix to the Hard 50 sentence likely could apply to crimes already committed, then it would be even more urgent to fix the law now – before more crimes are committed.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt is grateful that the governor and legislators of both political parties adopted a more safety-conscious view: Fix this problem now and make sure aggravated first-degree murderers who kill with premeditation between now and when the Legislature meets next year can face the certainty of at least 50 years in prison, not 25, before first becoming eligible for parole.

DON BROWN

Communications director

Kansas Attorney General’s Office

Topeka

Stay out of Syria

Regarding “Obama’s indecisiveness sends wrong message” (Sept. 4 Opinion): What do pundits like Cal Thomas want from President Obama? If Obama goes into Syria with guns blazing, he’s a guy without a plan who should have asked for permission from the “people” before doing so. If he waits and asks for the permission they demand, he’s weak and indecisive. Which is it?

Our situation is not helped by a guy like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has never met a war he didn’t like. He insists we should have run headlong into the Syrian civil war from the get-go. After all, doing so in Iraq and Afghanistan went so well.

The bottom line: War is hell and people die. And whether it is from chemical attacks or bullets, they are just as dead. As bad as Syria is, I say let them sort it out. Maybe they’ll finally wake up to the fact that it is only under dictatorships that their sectarian differences are kept in check.

If it gets any worse, we have the capability to turn Syria, Iran or, for that matter, Russia into a parking lot. But until then, I am tired of the United States going broke fighting other people’s wars and being hated no matter who wins.

KATHLEEN BUTLER

Wichita

Not effective

Leonard Pitts fails to recognize that “gun violence” is only one symptom of a far wider problem (“About Oklahoma killing and outrage,” Sept. 2 Opinion). I have yet to read or hear any explanation as to why laws restricting or confiscating firearms owned by law-abiding citizens would be any more effective than our laws attempting to control illegal drugs have been.

In effect, proposed gun laws are equivalent to a new law making it a criminal offense to violate a law. We could end all crime by making it against the law to commit a crime.

ROSS D. RASH

Winfield

Why so scared?

Several of the sports stores recently published advertisements of the variety of guns they carried for sale. My first reaction was disgust: So much killing of innocents has filled all the news sources. More guns are not needed.

My second reaction was thoughtful concern: Why are so many so frightened that they feel they must arm themselves?

I grew up in the forests of western Michigan. Everyone, men and boys, had a rifle or a shotgun. But they were looked upon as tools, like hammers or pliers, to be cared for and used for specific purposes – hunting and target practice.

Of course, after Pearl Harbor we learned other uses for guns, but many of us who returned to civilian life never picked up a gun again.

What has happened to the generations that have followed us that they are so paranoid? The news reports indicate that many of those who own guns are inept, if not unwise, in handling them.

The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, but it fails to require wisdom as one of the components of that right. Perhaps this is where appropriate legislation is required, The issue of so much gun violence in our country is not the number of guns owned or the number of shots possible per weapon, but the character and the maturity of the owner.

BOB SIMISON

Newton

Worth money

After hearing about the long lines to renew a driver’s license at the offices in Wichita and Andover, I dreaded going in for mine. I am handicapped and do not text, so I figured on taking a folding chair and a book and having to spend many hours in line.

I called the office in Newton for information. Employee Debra Gonzalez-Hawk very pleasantly answered all my questions. Yes, I could renew there, and there would be a $20 out-of-county fee payable by cash or check. No, there is not usually a long wait. Yes, the office is open during the lunch hour. She also told me what papers I would need to bring.

I arrived at the Newton office at about 12:15 p.m. There was no one in line. My renewal was completed in about 15 minutes, and Gonzalez-Hawk was just as pleasant as she had been earlier on the phone.

Believe me, that trip was well worth the money.

An added comment: She called me “Ms. Alice,” instead of what we old folks (I’m 83 years old) often hear – “Honey,” delivered in a baby-talk kind of voice as if we’re not fully functioning adults.

ALICE BARSAMIAN

Wichita

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