Front Page » Story Type: Opinion

Every morning, I go out to the porch and pick up the Wichita Eagle, a paper I have subscribed to ever since I moved to the Wichita area in 1974. My husband joins me in reading the morning newspaper. He reads the sports section while I start with the first section and read through to the comics and puzzles.

Ever since Sam Brownback became governor of Kansas, the headlines on the front page of the Eagle have been a cause for consternation. After he won a second term, with a bunch of right-wing legislators following behind him, reading the front page news has become even more of a horror story. Edgar Allen Poe couldn't have written it any better.

Straight Shooters in Topeka

One quiet morning in my sunlit living room, I heard it on the radio, from Reuters. "Kansas Senate to consider Senate Bill 45, to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit." Hair raised on the back of my neck. Black clouds sent the room into darkness. Trying to remain calm, I stuck my head outside. Nope, no armed ruffians patrolling the streets, yet. But knowing how hastily our legislators have acted on bad ideas before, who knows? They could be out there. I silently mused at the irony of calling it Senate Bill 45. Why not SB 30-ought-6? Or SB Ak-47? Or SB M-16?

With a sigh of relief, I found they hadn't passed it yet. But then, sitting right there in my calm, weapons-free, quiet living room, I pondered, and had a revelation. The clouds parted. Light hit me, blinding as Saul's on the Road to Damascus. We Kansans are smart, so we surely elect smart people. My careful analysis finally detected the method in their madness.

Think of the benefits! My friend, for example, hates bureaucracy, so he's dead set against getting a permit. With this law passed, no problem. Weapons are easy enough to find. And here's a solution to his pesky neighbor dog barking till all hours of the night. Simple. One well-aimed shot should do it. If the neighbor objected, well, my friend would still have his peacemaker at his side--but hidden, of course, in case he really needed it.

If the neighbor's a faster draw or better shot, well, that's kind of immaterial, in the larger scheme of things. As we all know, our legislators have their eye on the larger picture, and so should we.

It's a pure matter of the free market measuring out beneficial outcomes, without the clutter and fuss of regulation and the cost of hiring government employees or law enforcement to oversee or enforce such regulation. Humans can sort out situations like this, or as some say, God will do it.

No, this innovative legislation is aimed at the larger economy. Clearly, the legislators envision more expansive horizons. Imagine for a moment the whole vast new industry of shops gearing up for more detailed weaponry training. Quick-draw would be a new skill, but people would pay, say, $500 a pop. Simple marksmanship could bring $250.

Training could occur on new shooting ranges, like the one recently denied a permit in Saline County. With the new law in place, neighbor's objections to such ranges would certainly be beaten back. It could become a weekend sport as popular as boating or baseball.

People compelled to keep their skills updated would guarantee a constant flow of income for entrepreneur gun and ammo salesman, trainers, shooting range operators, and a new category, camouflage experts. Granted, some customers might die, but simple fear would guarantee a continuing flow of new customers.
And we entrepreneurs could cash in. Given Kansas' new no-tax campaign to encourage business growth, I could incorporate, start partnerships with concrete companies, and build underground shelters featuring a year's supply of food and water. My patented new innovation: a rotating, bullet-proof-glass, gun turret. This would allow customers to take out pesky neighbors or hungry, angry area refugees coming for my shelter and supplies. They'd be no match for my perimeter alarm system.

After all, if Kris Kobach can profit, why not us? Kobach already cashed in on his new M-16-like Minute Man assault rifle, kept free from federal regulation by the Kansas 2013 law he helped write. He's no fool, so I'll buy some of Kris's guns to arm my gun turret. That way, we can both share in the profits, tax-free.

I am so proud of this legislature. They simply cannot be outdone in their effort to make us a free people. That is, I thought so till this morning, when I read that Oklahoma is considering a bill to allow guns into the halls of their legislature. Oklahoma's free-wheeling legislation will allow enforcement of the people's will--and right now! Why can't Kansas pass such fine laws?

It's all fun to watch, but it's the weekend and I'm bored. Till next week's legislative session, I guess I'll just go back to my calm, weapons-free, quiet living room, make some tea, listen to music, read, and wait for Armageddon to finally get here. Or write Sam Brownback to tell him how grateful I am that he got rid of those pesky moderates.

Legal Weed in Kansas?

Last year, a group from Wichita worked to garner enough signatures on a petition to get the question of legalizing marijuana in Wichita on the November 2014 mid-term election ballot. When Esau Freeman, one of the group's leaders, took the petition to Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, she ruled that not enough of the signatures were valid. This, even though the ballots were counted in secret, so no one really knows for sure that this was the case. However, this is an issue for another blog.

This time Freeman and others made sure they got only the signatures of registered voters who were Wichita residents, a requirement for the issue to go on the ballot.

Justice ?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! That seems to be the nature of man. There is never an ending to the violence, so long as that is considered the solution.

Ferguson is on fire after the Grand Jury decision. The violent protestors can't even claim their reaction is 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'. It is simply hooliganism that will bring great harm to those who honestly believe the Grand Jury did not weigh the evidence fairly. It justifies the use of physical and even lethal force from the law enforcement department to protect life and property.

Our system provides recourse for appeal through request for Federal investigation. Like it or not, we are a United States of America and our constitution empowers the Federal government to intervene, if evidence shows inequitable protection of human rights and property by State or Local governments. It also protects State and Local governments from armed rebellion from whatever source.

The community of Ferguson doesn't need outside agitators, politicians, or, religious leaders. What they need is level headed presentation from both white and black leaders, from within the community. The term 'level headed' excludes the radical extremists of either racial or religious leaders.

Common sense and history reveals that injustices occur. Whites in black communities suffer from prejudice and blacks in white communities suffer from prejudice. Racial and religious prejudice is evident in most every society.

Survival is a natural instinct in every living organism. We, humans, are taught, by our experience and the advice of other's experiences, to be wary of others who are different from ourselves. If we learn to tolerate each other and overlook minor infractions or differences we find ourselves being able to share and enjoy relationships that benefit all of us. Sibling rivalry is a natural instinct. If not controlled, it can develop into prejudice that destroys a family. Control can come from several sources. Other siblings, parents, and peers can intervene. Society can intervene in the racial prejudice and violence that is present in Ferguson and around the country.

Listening to Heart-Speech

Sometimes our hearts tell us things.

When we lived in town we had a neighbor who would put her hand up to the right side of her face, like a blinder, whenever she left her house. One day I asked her why. She pointed to the new buildings in the ravine at the end of our street. "Those houses--I can't bear to see them," she said. "My children used to play there. It was all woods. We had picnics--"

Her voice broke, and she didn't finish her sentence.

But her meaning was clear:

We bond with landscape just as we do with people, and the breaking of those bonds hurts just as much.

But growth is the one thing our modern capitalist society cannot do without. When housing-starts fall off, the economy is in trouble. When people stop buying consumer items, the economy is in trouble. Expansion, constant expansion, is what we need. Therefore, we are trained to suppress stabs of grief such as my neighbor felt. "Well, that's progress," we are supposed to say, resignedly, when a highway, shopping mall, or subdivision replaces the greenspace we had loved.

But our hearts keep talking.

Enter writers, whose job it is to hear heart-speech and then express it through their own creations.

Psychology of Fundraising

I receive 30 or 40 emails declaring all is lost if I don't send in $3 to $5 immediately. Disaster is just around the corner and if I can send in a dollar it will be matched. If I sent in $3 for every email it would add up to several hundred dollars pretty quickly.

I might experience a real disaster if at the end of the season i can't pay all my current bills and satisfy my operating loan repayment at the bank. My operation will cease to exist. Government seems to survive and recover, in spite of the fact that it doesn't always respect or reflect by priorities or standards.

I can't help but wonder if they are selling chances on a dead horse, when you read the alarming news that disaster will strike if they miss their deadline of midnight tonight.

Democrat news from KS

The latest email is announcing a big reception with Paul Davis in Wichita. That's great, but some of us are 5 hrs and a lot of miles from Wichita. We get 20 or 30 emails per day telling us all the negatives about the opposition spending tons of money and asking us to send in 3, 5, or more dollars to counteract all that opposition funding. We seldom ever get any positive emails or information on intended agenda or positions on issues from the candidates, themselves.

It surely doesn't cost anymore money to send us information on issues discussed, questions asked, candidate's answers, etc. Most of us don't need any information on the negative side of the Republican candidates. I'm sure the majority of us reading KFP are Progressives, Liberals or Independents, who already know what our opinions are of the incumbents or Republicans. Negative political advertising may produce results, but there are some of us who are just plain tired of it.

Give us a positive reason to vote for the Democratic or Independent candidate. I'd rather think I'm voting for someone or something instead of just negatively voting against things. I'm never impressed with single issue candidates, even if I'm in agreement with them on that issue. I've served on Boards that had members who were elected on single issues and those members are seldom good at discussing or solving other issues.

I won't be voting for Brownback, Huelscamp, Roberts, or Kobach. (I'd rather vote for my good old chocolate lab, Bubba! He's big and friendly and doesn't have a mean streak in him. He won't share his meal with the cat, but neither does he try stealing the cat's dish.) But, I would like to know what or who I'm voting for to replace them. If I don't know either candidate, I think it safer to vote for the Democrat, but it would really be nice to know a little something about them, more than just that they need money to fund their campaign.

What better or more economical way could you get positive news to the electorate than email, Kansas Free Press, or Everyday Citizen? Incumbents send out news letters bragging about the positives for themselves (legitimate or not) and all the half truths and negatives about the other side. Newspapers give preference to sitting legislators on their op-ed pages. But, they will, also, print concise and well written letters from candidates and their supporters. Let's not waste the opportunity to present positive ideas and solutions with diatribes about the negatives of the other side. Even partisan biased newspapers will print a few letters from the other side.

With the August 5 primary only a day away, some thoughts of the state of democracy in Kansas seem appropriate. An article in Friday's Wichita Eagle predicting  low turnout for Tuesday's primary, despite heated US Senate and House Republican primaries, indicates that there is a real problem. Here are some thoughts.

 The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the restrictive voter identification laws enacted by Secretary of Sate Kris Kobach, but there are others.

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