Why here and not there?
The gun lobby, along with its many enablers in Washington, asserts that mental illness causes America’s profusion of school slaughters. Others claim it is America’s lax gun laws.
The debate is easily resolved by the fact that mental illness is not more prevalent in the U.S. than in other countries. Blindingly obvious is the conclusion that our gun laws are woefully inadequate.
I am an optimist about the past and future of the U.S., so I look forward to the day we have effective gun control. This will require electing to Congress representatives who are not desperate for NRA support; the elections later this year will be a good time to start. Until then, how many more mass murders must we endure?
Dwight Oxley, Wichita
A half century ago, a huge argument centered on removal of certain books deemed pornographic from the library. The political right felt some books were dangerous to young minds, while the left felt literary censorship was not a function of government in a free society. The left noticed some speech and criminal activity contained the emotion of hate. The left even went so far as to define hate speech and hate crime, demanding that certain words not be used at all.
And then the left noticed Mark Twain's books in the library — and sought to remove them because they contained hate speech and were dangerous to young minds.
Meanwhile, the political right pursued its own perspectives on individual freedom. Its more staunch members spoke of survival and rugged individualism. Many felt personal speech should not be abridged just because it offends someone.
A core belief is America prospered because it was willing to focus on the similarity of its citizens and (sometimes) tolerate their differences. The black or white nature of contemporary American politics is the likely origin of today's polarization.
Leland Johnson, Wichita
Weather warnings serious business
I was interested to read in the Feb. 20 Eagle, “Kansas cancels severe weather ceremony because of weather.” While some people may snicker that new Gov. Jeff Colyer had to cancel a proclamation recognizing the governor’s ceremonial office at the state capitol, the subject shouldn’t be looked upon as trivial.
Springtime is approaching and many weather conditions such as tornadoes and flash floods can kill or strand thousands of people. It pays to be on guard, with an emergency plan in your mind and an emergency kit within an arm’s reach including ample supplies of food, drinking water, fresh batteries and portable radios along with cell phones (among many other items).
If one plan fails you, a backup plan may be the difference between life and death. Also, officials need to test tornado sirens and by the same token, the public shouldn’t get so jaded or complacent that they ignore them. Warning devices are only as good as those who sound them and heed them. Sometimes gubernatorial proclamations are merely marking an occasion. In this instance, it might just save your life.
James Marples, Esbon
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