Where is outrage over abuse?
I have been following the “In Need of Care” articles by Eagle reporter Deb Gruver. Truthfully, I can barely read the articles because of the horrific details.
In one of the cases, a precious, innocent child was failed by her biological mother. According to prosecutors, she was then neglected, abused and tortured by her adoptive parents. Where is the outrage? How can there be justice for this child? Her suffering, physically and mentally, will probably last her entire life. The system that was supposed to protect her reportedly failed 17 times.
I haven’t seen anyone holding rallies or marching in the street to support her or demand accountability for everyone who has hurt and failed her. I hope and pray this child is receiving the love and care she deserves. I worry also about all the innocent children in neglectful and abusive situations whom we don’t know about and are failing to rescue.
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Once again, I ask because I truly want to know: Where is the outrage?
Help mentally ill
I returned to Wichita recently for a short visit. I read about the tragic story of a loving mother who apparently suffered with mental illness (“Murder charges against mother shock her neighbors,” Dec. 17 Eagle). I worked for many years as a chaplain in both trauma centers located in Wichita. I have spent several years serving as chaplain in several behavioral health facilities as well.
My heart breaks to hear tragic stories like this. Lindsey Nicole Blansett could have benefited from more attention and care than she got. She and her deceased son deserved better.
It’s easy to blame the overworked state employees or contractors who visited several times and didn’t act to keep the children safe. However, innocent children and their mentally ill parents need far more than blame. They need real community support from every institution and every person who can help.
The problem of how to help people with mental illness needs to be owned and tended to now. Money can help, but people are the key. It’s the community that must be motivated and taught how to support those at greatest risk. We need a vision that educates family members, friends, churches and schools about when and where to act.
We need to teach ourselves how to care again. Only then will we be healed from this terrible tragedy and others waiting to happen.
So Charles Koch, after polluting our environment and paying huge fines because of it, is now a criminal justice champion (Dec. 28 Eagle). Some of us have advocated criminal justice reform for years, and we didn’t have to pay huge fines for our crimes to bring us to that position.
The Kochs’ environmental crimes, which are well-documented, affect everyone adversely. Yet they continue to fight any legislation that would go toward cleaning up our air and water. They continue to put money into the campaigns of politicians who support laws that will allow them to continue their polluting ways.
Even Gov. Sam Brownback, who at one point saw the benefits of supporting wind energy, now appears to have come around to the Kochs’ way of thinking. Never mind that wind power is less polluting and more profitable for Kansas landowners than coal and oil.
How about articles on the havoc the Kochs’ pollution has caused? Look into their push to privatize Social Security and Medicare benefits for senior citizens, or their drive to kill public-employee unions. Investigate how many of our Kansas legislators get their marching orders from the Koch-run American Legislative Exchange Council. Maybe those would be articles worth reading.
Bait and switch
I don’t get it. Are we supposed to applaud Charles Koch for being personally in favor of criminal justice reform, women’s rights and civil liberties? After all, we are the people who have to suffer under the awful laws perpetrated by the very legislators his money elects.
Announcing his “views” is just a bait-and-switch trick. If he meant it, he would either find someone else to support or get his lackeys in line on these issues.
From time to time the awful truth of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 parable, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” surfaces. We humans are not as magnificent, gracious or compassionate as we want to believe.
The revelations about our country torturing al-Qaida operatives reveal something about us we don’t want to know. The bitterest part of these revelations is that the authorization came from people who should have known better. The saddest part is that no one down the line refused to carry out the atrocities.
Our nation stepped onto the world stage with high ideals but has too often failed to follow them. We imported and enslaved Africans, treating and selling them as merchandise. Native Americans were driven into uninhabitable “reservations” and provided inadequate diets and smallpox-infected blankets. Mexicans, Chinese and other ethnic groups have their own stories of our malice.
Like Henry Jekyll, we Americans think of ourselves as generous, compassionate and considerate. Yet we find Edward Hyde occupying our offices, roaming our streets, invading our homes, decimating our ideals as a people and as a nation.
What to do?
Confession is always the first step, and reparation must follow, if reconciliation to our victims and ourselves is to occur. We need to admit our failings, seek forgiveness and reset our goals.
Isolated from Cuba
Cuba is not isolated from the Western world. Americans, and only Americans, are isolated from Cuba.
When I visited Cuba with an educational group in 2001, I was very surprised to find lots of folks there from New Zealand, Germany, Scandinavia and so on. When I visited Cuba with the Council on Foreign Relations in 2013, I asked if there were many tourists there. Our guide told us, “Everyone is here!”
During my 2013 trip, I heard one of our group members mutter, “Thank God we are leaving this police state.” But we saw only one policeman during our nine days there, and he was being shouted at by an old man who wanted to ride his bicycle taxi on an ancient cobblestone street where it was not permitted. (The policeman let him go ahead.) Most remarkable, we walked in from the street to the Cuban foreign ministry building, along with many other people going into the building for various purposes, and didn’t have to pass through checkpoints, metal detectors or X-rays. We contrasted that with the situation even in Wichita, where all this security exists in the courthouses and at the Social Security building.
We asked our guide about change, and she told us changes were needed, and changes were coming. We asked if Cubans would give up universal free health care and education through university, and she said, “Never!”
DOROTHY K. BILLINGS
Restore rail service
To restore passenger rail service to Kansas requires an interstate agreement with Oklahoma. The Legislature cannot do this.
What’s all-important at this time is Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget recommendation to the 2015 Legislature. This is an economic-growth issue.
Thanks to The Eagle for two very uplifting articles: “Santa visits children at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis” (Dec. 24 Local & State) and “All is calm: home design for those with autism” (Dec. 27 Home & Garden). Hats off to “Santa” Stan Russell for bringing so much joy to those in need. The design article provided inspiration for parents of children with autism. Colors, patterns and textures are important to all of us but especially those who can be overstimulated so easily.
Keep up the good work in bringing us stories of encouragement.
JUDY L. YOUNG
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