Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on death penalty, poor choices, wind energy, gun freedoms, Eagle Scout project, TV reporters

Death penalty helps protect citizenry

A Jan. 17 Eagle article on the Legislature’s consideration of the death penalty hit the nail on the head: This discussion is all about emotion, on both sides. But should something this important be left to emotional arguments?

Theoretically, the reason the government exists is to protect the citizenry. In that capacity, it has a duty to deal with those who threaten the citizenry from within. Hence we have a criminal justice system.

In classical criminal justice theory, punishing offenders has four purposes. In no particular order, they are retribution (society’s payback to the offender), incapacitation (keeping that particular offender from repeating the offense), rehabilitation (fixing the offender) and deterrence (discouraging others).

The death penalty provides the ultimate payback for society and victims. The offender is certainly incapacitated, as he won’t be breaking any more laws. Rehabilitation becomes a moot point, even if these types of people could ever be rehabilitated. Whether others are deterred depends upon the system’s ability to expeditiously carry out punishment.

If emotions are dispensed with, as they should be, and government is serious about protecting its citizenry, the death penalty, expeditiously administered, is the best method to carry out its responsibility.

STEVE OCHSNER

Goddard

Poor choices

People do not steal because they are poor, and to suggest such a thing is degrading all the poor who do not steal (“Start a different way forward,” Jan. 17 Letters to the Editor). People of all economic brackets steal. It doesn’t matter if it is a wedding ring or someone’s life savings.

The 19-year-olds charged in the case are not “boys.” They are adult men, and as adults should be required to answer for what they choose to do. The choices we make define who we are, define our character, define our life’s path. Stealing is a choice, as is lying, killing or adultery.

Yet the letter writer seemed to suggest that we are responsible in some way for their actions. No, they are solely responsible. Jobs are available to those who wish to work, even if it is not a well-paying job. An education is available to those who wish to learn.

It is time this nation stops finding excuses for evil and starts dealing with it without invoking economic status, age, race or religion. A nation’s character is defined by its choices – from those of the president down to the least of us. Maybe all of us should be making better ones.

BOBBIE COGSWELL

Wichita

Wind is better

This is what happens to a country that doesn’t regulate industry and has no government watchdogs like the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency: China’s smog is now 20 times worse than safe levels. Air pollution in Beijing reached hazardous levels last week. CBS reported that China’s problem is becoming a worldwide concern, with pollution spreading beyond its borders.

China’s massive economic growth of the past 20 years has come at a cost. Most of its new energy is based on coal-fired electric generation that, when unregulated, produces massive amounts of air pollutants. Do we really want another coal-fired plant in western Kansas? I think not.

It might cost more for wind energy in the beginning, but that energy source creates very little pollution. And Kansas is ranked as one of the top states for wind-energy potential. We could even sell the excess energy to other states for the additional money our schools really need.

KEN SPEAR

Wichita

Try Afghanistan

Many who want no restrictions on their guns and for government to stay out of their lives also want their wives to be in submission. If they are serious, there is a place where they should be very happy. Move to Afghanistan.

JIM LANEY

Wichita

Special project

I had the privilege last fall of having the 10th Eagle Scout project completed at Eagle Valley Raptor Center. Our projects are usually large and require a lot of thinking and design.

What was special about this Scout was that he had some learning disabilities. Garrett Knight had been in scouting when he was younger but had gotten out. Now 20, he got back into scouting at the encouragement of his father. But in Boy Scouts you need to finish your project before your 18th birthday. The Boy Scouts made an exception and let him earn his Eagle Scout badge as long as he completed it by his 21st birthday.

After designing his project on paper, Knight organized his fellow Scouts to help with labor. He raised funds needed for the materials and completed the project, which was a large deck from which to view our bald eagle’s nest.

This young man conquered his learning disabilities and showed how, given a chance, he can do many things. This is just one reason why education for our youth is so important, especially for students with learning disabilities, so that they may become productive members of society.

KEN LOCKWOOD

Cheney

Check appearance

Maybe the men on camera at KWCH, Channel 12, should look at the men at KAKE, Channel 10. The appearance of the KAKE men is much more appealing than of the KWCH men. Does nobody monitor his appearance before he goes on camera?

EILEEN FESSENDEN

Wichita

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