Fireworks, not 911 calls, are problem
A local police officer once told me that when I see a loose dog on my walk and am concerned about its or my safety, I should call 911. She implied that 911 calls were judgment calls, and it was best to err on the side of safety.
But the flood of 911 calls last Fourth of July that prevented one potentially life-saving call has caused authorities to discourage folks from making 911 calls they are not sure about ("If it isn't an emergency, 911 might redirect call," Oct. 29 Eagle). The authorities seem to believe that the cause of last summer's problem was too many unjustified calls.
It seems to me, though, that 911 calls must and always will be a matter of personal judgment. And there must always be room enough in the system to accommodate calls that turn out to be less than serious emergencies.
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In light of this, we should not solve the congestion problem of Fourth of July weekends by discouraging calls. We should solve it by working on the root cause of the thousands of calls: residents violating the fireworks ordinance.
This ordinance is good on the face of it, but has never enjoyed enforcement. So enforce the law, which will reduce the reasons for the 911 calls.
Need easy number
I am a 57-year resident of Wichita, a veteran taught to follow protocol. I find it disgusting that Sedgwick County's director of emergency communications blames the public for using 911 for all types of emergencies ("If it isn't an emergency, 911 might redirect call," Oct. 29 Eagle).
I understand some areas use other three-digit numbers for nonemergency calls. I have asked the neighborhood officer what to use when calling in problems with traffic lights or signs. I am never corrected on the phone number.
Please use a number we can remember.
EUGENE J. WEBER
GOP pep rally
Besides holding conservative views, what do Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Snow, Brit Hume, George H.W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani have in common? Within the past 10 years, they've all been invited to speak at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.
The chamber's own charter, Article II Section 2, claims that "this corporation and its activities shall be nonpartisan, non-sectional and nonsectarian." Its speaker tonight is former President George W. Bush.
Does anyone see a trend here? Despite its claim as a "nonpartisan" civic group, the chamber looks like a GOP PAC, sponsoring a Republican pep rally almost every year.
The chamber supposedly serves the Wichita community, folks from every political background or none at all. But in its biggest public event of the year, it makes no effort to be even bipartisan, let alone nonpartisan.
The chamber has chosen to flout its own mission to serve the common good, opting instead to cater to the powerful elite and parrot their narrow right-wing message.
Voter drives only serve to debase the electoral process. I must take issue with "Encourage voting" (Oct. 27 Eagle Editorial).
Granted, it is everyone's right to vote, but people who are apathetic to the election process, to governmental policies and to politics should not vote. Their votes become random, uninformed and uneducated guesses. Their votes are not cast in favor of candidates because they have studied the issues and the candidates' positions. Instead, their votes are for superficial reasons, such as name recognition, gender or political party affiliation.
In recent elections in some parts of our country, buses were sent out and meals were provided to people who otherwise had no interest in voting without such irrelevant rewards. If people are serious about the issues and the candidates who support their positions on them, they will vote.
DANIEL M. REYNOLDS
Kansas citizens: How about being the first in the nation to level the playing field in state and local elections? No more buying votes with huge monetary infusions from special interest groups. Just set a limit for all campaign expenditures and make all candidates prove they had not exceeded it on pain of being disqualified from holding office. Media will not approve of this suggestion, as election time is a bonanza for them. Nor will special interest groups used to buying elections.
LARRY T. ROMINE
On many levels, I find the attempt by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal to extend constitutional rights to marine animals an utterly abhorrent action (Oct. 26 Eagle). If we, as Americans, stoop to this level of trivial lawsuits, our court system will soon be clogged with cases that waste time and taxpayer money.
I find it completely offensive to compare the experiences of the five killer whales at SeaWorld to the horrific conditions that Civil War-period slaves endured.
If we were to choose to extend constitutional rights beyond the bounds of human beings and into the animal kingdom, where would the line be drawn? If 13th Amendment rights are granted to an animal, shouldn't other rights be as well? Should we next fight to earn voting rights for squirrels?
PETA's lawsuit is a waste of time and offensive to human beings who have endured slavery. If PETA wins, it could only lead to more complex issues.