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Letters: Readers discuss homelessness, Rep. Aaron Coleman and Police Chief Rick Smith

·5 min read

We did this

The answer to the homeless epidemic is more shelters? Seriously? At best, that is a temporary solution. No civilized society should allow its streets to become campgrounds. But more important, no civilized society should accept kicking its mentally ill and addicts to the curb.

The millions spent in this country should be used to build mental hospitals and treatment facilities for the mentally ill and addicted. The figures vary, but those groups make up the vast majority of street people, maybe 90% or higher.

Disease, crime and early deaths are the result of our “kindness.” Many (maybe most) won’t volunteer for help, but we have the right to protect our cities and protect these people as well.

Future generations will judge us, who kicked mentally ill people onto the streets, very harshly.

- John S. Bush, Kansas City

We aren’t laughing

Back in the day, clowns could be found in parades and the circus. A special few — those who were well-connected — secured gigs hosting high-profile kids’ TV shows. As a kid, I never found clowns to be funny. Scary? Yes. Amusing? No.

Nowadays, clowns can still be found in parades and the circus. A special few — though their numbers are growing by the day — have become high-profile members of government, managing to receive national media attention on a daily basis. Kansas state Rep. Aaron Coleman and U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene — those are the top-tier performers at this point.

As a senior geezer, I still do not find these clowns to be funny. Scary? Hell yes, much more so than in days of yore. Amusing? Not in the least.

- Mark Prellberg, Kansas City

Learn lessons

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is pretty personal for me. As my friend Penny, an Iowa farm girl, says, “Did you get ‘the jab’?”

My grandmother, Blanche Keohane, was born and raised in Missouri. She got tuberculosis when there was no vaccine and no cure. TB hid for awhile. Blanche got married, a boy was born, but the tuberculosis returned. She wrote her parents, and her father came to pick up “the boy,” my father, then 2 months old. Four months later, Blanche died. Death took her at 31.

When I was a freshman in high school in Illinois, I had one friend who lived on a farm. Often I’d stay there overnight. Mac got polio. There was no approved vaccine.

My uncle, a Ph.D./M.D., procured a vaccine, still in the lab. I got the shot, and not polio. After months, Mac recovered, except he has to cut up his food smaller than everyone else. Polio did that to him.

We no longer face a challenge from polio or TB. We’ve got COVID, but we’ve got vaccines. Isn’t it time we use them? Isn’t it time we think about Blanche or Mac? Isn’t it time to get “the jab”?

- John Keohane, Austin, Texas

No oversight?

Recently, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners allowed Police Chief Rick Smith to walk away from his job (next spring) on his terms with full benefits, after years of increased crime rates in the city, numerous claims of police brutality and a contentious relationship with the City Council and Jackson County Prosecutor’s office.

The city also paid fire captain and head of the local firefighters’ union, Tim Dupin, his $86,000 city salary while he worked full time in Washington, D.C., for the International Association of Fire Fighters, collecting $150,000-plus in additional salary.

Is there any doubt that in Kansas City, the inmates are running the asylum?

- Patrick Riha, Kansas City

Info rabbit holes

Millennials, don’t trust anyone over 40. The under-25s are stuck in the Twitterverse, and the over-40s still get all their information from Facebook. Get after it before you turn into your parents.

- Paul Comerford, Blue Springs

Make him whole

The Missouri legislature needs to “man up” and provide restitution to Kevin Strickland.

- Elwin McKenzie, Jr., Peculiar

Get them out

Yes, Kansas state Rep. Aaron Coleman should either resign or be removed from office. (Nov. 30, 9A, “Kansas’ Aaron Coleman should quit or be removed”) However, as far as I can tell, his DUI charge pales next to the truly egregious drunken-driving escapade of Kansas state Sen. Gene Suellentrop, who eluded police at high speeds going the wrong way on a major highway.

Neither of these unprincipled individuals should be in a leadership position, and they certainly do not deserve taxpayer salaries.

- Carrie S. McDonald, Kansas City

The arbiters

In the public health legal controversies between advocates for the common good and contenders for individual rights, perhaps the best judges of who is right are the viruses and diseases themselves.

Allow unmasked and anti-vaccine mandate challengers to have their way during the current pandemic. Doing so not only would encourage the rest of the self-protecting population to continue masking, sanitizing, restricting social contacts, and receiving vaccines and booster shots, but, with enough patience, also would allow the jury of scientific natural selection time to deliberate and render a verdict everyone left could live with.

- James Heiman, Blue Springs

Yes, why is this?

Friday morning, I talked with a customer service representative for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort about the vaccination rates in the islands. She was in Jamaica. Her resorts were encouraging all employees to be vaccinated, or they would have to suffer expensive COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis. She was proud of the high vaccination rates in the Caribbean. She assured me that the islands I was contemplating had rising vaccination rates.

Before hanging up, her last question back to me was indeed startling: “So with the United States’ large population with so many states, why is your country’s COVID vaccination rate so low? The islands are baffled as to your politics keeping people from being vaccinated. Why is this?”

- Louise Pollock Gruenebaum, Prairie Village

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