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Letters: Readers discuss inherited wealth, Kansas City violence and Big 12 moves

·6 min read

Break the chain

Inherited wealth creates an aristocratic ruling class that will destroy the American experiment. The desire to protect the inherited wealth of Southern plantation owners resulted in the Civil War.

A limit of $10 million per child passed down in inheritance should keep Junior rich. The wealthy would then turn to charities for their legacies. Monopolies would be broken up. Entrepreneurs would flourish. An inheritance tax and public financing of local, state and federal elections would give us the democracy our founders envisioned.

The chances of this happening? Zero. Never underestimate the power of greed.

- Randall Jones, Lee’s Summit

New thinking

We moved away from Kansas City four years ago, but I continue to read in The Star about the crime and violence that plague this community. Political, civic and neighborhood leaders wring their hands and decry the senselessness of it all. And they’re right. But why is it happening?

Why has Kansas City been near the top of serious crime lists for decades? Other cities also have gangs, drugs, poverty, racism and guns. Programs are initiated here, and the needle doesn’t budge. How is it conceivable even to talk about solutions if there is no understanding of the problem?

Perhaps it’s time to step outside the box. Let those with the capacity underwrite a local version of Xprize , where research teams could compete to answer the question: What accounts for the chronic high levels of serious crime and violence in Kansas City?

Answers can lead to action. The alternative is more hand-wringing in the dark.

- Mark Shapiro, Moab, Utah

Add your voice

From the Bootleg fire in Oregon to the blazes at Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, northern U.S. forests are burning. The pall of smoke extends from the Pacific to New England. Climate change is causing increasing drought and high temperatures in the northern U.S. and Canada. Unless we take swift action, this apocalypse will continue with increasing frequency and severity.

If you have been to many of our national parks in the last five years, you have seen the devastation from fire and the northern extension of insect predation on our forests.

We must act swiftly to place a price on carbon. The infrastructure package being drafted now in the Senate is the best pathway we’ve had in a decade to enact a carbon price. Citizens Climate Lobby has made it easy to support carbon price legislation at cclusa.org/senate to help you email and phone your senators. A script is provided, but your heartfelt words are the best. Please protect our country from further catastrophe.

- Alan Bauman, Prairie Village

History done right

Dan Kelly’s the “Demise of Emery, Bird, Thayer building spurred preservation movement” (July 25, 1C) was one of the best historical essays on preservation I have ever read. What a great blend of story, history and preservation. This story captured the roller-coaster ride of preservation and the agonizing death of a historic building. It was brilliant to thread into the conversation two giants of preservation with the incomparable Donald Hoffmann and Cydney Millstein. Adding their insight and perspectives was imperative.

Kudos to The Star for not cutting the article short. The story needed space at a time when columns are relegated to a maximum of so many inches. The history of an iconic structure as well as the significance of the preservation movement should never be shackled short. How are we to learn the values of the past if we do not spread the message in a thorough manner?

Thank you, Mr. Kelly. Again, job well done.

- Brad Belk, Community historian, Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, Missouri

It’s our say

I was so happy to read that the Missouri Supreme Court stopped our state legislature and governor from disfranchising the more than 53% who voted to amend our Missouri Constitution and expand Medicaid in the state.

Our governor and legislature thought they were above the law and knew what was best for the people of Missouri. The state legislature tried to do the same thing to Missouri voters that Sen. Josh Hawley tried to do to Arizona and Pennsylvania voters: disenfranchise them. The difference here was that our politicians were much more overt in taking away Missouri voters’ right to have their votes count.

They seem to think that their constituents are incapable of governing themselves and Missouri voters, like children, need the state legislature to think for them.

- James P. Gann, Lanagan, Missouri

In the dark

A lot has been written and said about what is happening in the Big 12. First, I am a Kansas State University alum and I say good riddance. I will be fine with KSU versus (I don’t care). I pay zero attention to University of Oklahoma and University of Texas sports, and soon that will even easier. I will be just fine.

What I find appalling is the conduct of the presidents of public institutions of higher learning. Making a decision of this consequence in complete secrecy, feeling absolutely no obligation to notify the leaders of your fellow conference members and — worse yet — your fellow in-state universities takes a special type of person. Those special people must be willing to ignore any sense of ethical responsibility and not care in the least about the type of leadership they demonstrate. Incredible.

It is possible to leave a conference with class. I doubt it is even very difficult. Refusing to do so while on the public payroll should result in immediate termination. Much more should be expected out of those so fortunate to hold these jobs.

Why no mention of this by anyone? Never mind: Money justifies any behavior right?

- Scott Kirkwood, Lenexa

Kill the draft

Recently, a Senate committee approved a bill that would require women to begin registering to be drafted by the military. Why do many of our elected representatives so strongly support forcing young men and women to die in politically motivated wars?

Proponents of the draft often argue that we will realistically never have a draft again. If that is the case, then instead of expanding the draft, simply end it.

Our federal and state constitutions almost all have provisions related to the calling of a militia in the case of an invasion, so defense of the homeland is not the true motivation of those wealthy members of Congress (whose children would find a way out of any draft).

The last two times the draft was used, it was not in the defense of our country, but to meddle in domestic conflicts abroad: in Vietnam and Korea. With neoliberal pundits calling for U.S. military intervention in Cuba, there is no better time to end the draft than now.

- Ethan Riscovallez, Prairie Village

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