How sad that the conversation in Johnson County in the wake of so many fatal gun tragedies is whether to allow “open carry” with no restrictions, or maybe require a permit or some training in gun safety. The question posed by National Rifle Association President David Keene, in response to the killing of 20 children and six adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school was this: “Can we keep guns out of the hands of people who are potential killers?”
My answer to that question is every gun owner is a potential killer whether it’s someone angry with his neighbor or spouse or someone who had a few too many drinks at the local bar. What does this say about “open carry?”
Perhaps more thought and discussion on the subject is necessary.
I propose we change the Kansas state name to “Kochland.” We should then move the capital from Topeka to Wichita and save so much travel time and costs for most of our legislators to attend Koch brothers worship services.
Then and only then, I believe we could beat Texas in seceding from the Union.
Cost of development
If we taxpayers build it, developers will come and make millions of dollars off our money. That’s the point of Roxie Hammill’s 913 article on Shawnee’s new plan to give more money the rich (1-2, “Shawnee mulls excise tax break to jump-start development”).
Thirty years ago, before Shawnee had an excise tax, I saw it happen as the city taxed all of our citizens to build Johnson Drive miles westward through vacant acres, installing elaborate stone retaining walls and sidewalks. This multiplied the value of land owned there by developers, most of them not even residents.
The Shawnee excise tax was legislated to make developers themselves pay some of the bill. Now our “donate to the wealthy” City Council wants to repeal it, while many of our sister cities refuse.
Ms. Hammill’s best sentence came when she quoted an Olathe official, saying cities need the excise tax to keep the costs of growth from being pushed onto taxpayers in established neighborhoods. I agree.
Compassion of Jesus?
I am struck by how often people who proclaim the loudest that they are Christians seem to also be the loudest in proclaiming un-compassionate, un-peaceful and un-generous words. They insist that God created the world, yet have little awe and respect for that creation, viewing the environment as disposable and wildlife a nuisance.
How often do Christians act as a force for pain in the world in the name of Christianity? How often do they push that “forward” button on the computer and pass on misinformation and/or hostile attitudes regarding Muslims, the gay community, immigrants, non-English speakers, low-income people and people with whom they disagree? How often do Christians support media personalities who spout animosity and resentment?
As I pondered this discrepancy in my religion this past decade, I ran across helpful quotes. Gandhi said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “Show me a church that teaches the Golden Rule as its only creed, and follows it, and I will unite with it.” He never found that church.
How different would Christianity, and the world, be, if Christians gave priority to the teachings of Jesus? Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.
Don’t lie about others. Love your neighbors, who happen to be members of a different ethnic or religious group. Bind up their wounds and give them shelter.
The kindness you give to the most powerless member of society, you are giving to Jesus himself. Whoever you deny care, you deny Jesus.
When you work against medical care, food, shelter, and education for the poor and harbor resentment, you do that to Jesus. How different would Christianity, and the world, be, if those were the active highlights of Christianity?
U.S. military heroes
I met a real life hero the other day. I was working at the Kansas City Sea Life Aquarium near closing time.
A couple came in at the end of the day during the time we usually like to start our cleaning so we can get home. The woman obviously had serious health issues and tugged on her wig as if it were irritating her skin.
The man, who appeared to be her husband, watched her patiently as she asked questions about each of the species of fish she looked at and shared information she had learned as a high school biology teacher. It was heartwarming to watch her lay her head on his shoulder, and he would lean into her as if to support her weight.
They were the only ones in the aquarium, and it became my pleasure to give them a personal guided tour, stopping to answer questions and moving away when the man needed to attend to her. I spent about two hours with this couple and was honored to do so.
She shared at the end of the visit that she had been in the Army in Vietnam and had been affected by Agent Orange. I came home unbelievably moved by the dedication of our veterans, people who took these amazing risks and still suffer from the effects while we were here at home comfortably enjoying the 1970s.
This woman, whose name I will never know, is my heroine. I only wish I could tell her what an impact she has had on my life.