Letters on vetoes, OETA, gun manufacturers and McCurtain County

Second Amendment

Stitt doesn’t listen to voices of citizens, legislators who represent them  

By holding the Legislature hostage to his demands and vetoing important measures, Stitt is demonstrating his desire to rule rather than govern. 

He shows he’d rather be a petty despot than an actual lawmaker who holds the best interests of the state and its people above his own desires. It’s very clear he feels he has no responsibility to listen to the voices of the citizens and the legislators who represent them.  

— Pat Lowry, Oklahoma City

Rural, senior parts of Oklahoma get benefit from OETA that is overlooked by larger market

Coverage of OETA always leans toward the artsy and “liberal bent” of PBS. One item that is constantly overlooked is that OETA owns the Lawrence Welk Show library. OETA sells it to other PBS stations around the country. 

The USA Today Network headline that will light up the internet is “Oklahoma Governor Wants To Cancel The Lawrence Welk Show.”

The serious part of that is how the rural and senior parts of Oklahoma get a benefit from OETA that is overlooked by larger market and younger demographic driven television services.

— Jeff Leatherock, Oklahoma City

Why is Oklahoma courting gunmakers?

I am embarrassed and even horrified to read in the Sunday, April 23, edition of The Oklahoman that we are “courting” firearms companies to move here and produce guns, which include AR 15s. I will not welcome these companies in Oklahoma.

Many of us in Oklahoma and across the nation are mourning the senseless violence related to guns. But instead of supporting common sense efforts to reduce the violence, do others want to profit from it? Do Oklahomans really want to take this route or action? Are we in such a dire economic state that this would be our response?

Let’s focus on meeting the needs of our citizens with programs that provide better access to food, housing, education, health care, jobs. We should not have to reduce programs, such as senior nutrition services and school lunches, that improve quality of life.

I understand that we all have Second Amendment rights. And we also have the right to be in a safe environment, which fosters a better and healthier environment for all of us. Let’s make common sense choices for us all.

— Sister Mary Ann O’Kane, Oklahoma City

Spend money on people, not politics

When will the mayors of Oklahoma City stop building monuments to themselves that aren’t used and start spending money where it’s needed and wanted most?

I live near Lake Hefner, and along thousands of cyclists, walkers, fishermen and runners marvel at the ridiculous patchwork quilt we pass off as a road around the dam. Hefner is the crown jewel for recreation in northwest Oklahoma City, and for some reason we believe OKC Water Utilities is going to do the right thing and lay down smooth asphalt for all to enjoy! They’ve spent more patching it (badly) than a total resurface would cost.

Come on OKC, forget empty parks and trolleys, and spend the money on the people, not politics!

— Stan Miller, Oklahoma City

Let’s stop the stupid! Guns kill people

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That is the rote response from most Republican political figures, and the NRA after every mass shooting. They are parroting a phrase made up by Colt, and adopted by the NRA to remove the connection between the weapons and the mass shootings. To overlook the basic fact that these weapons are what make the shooters so dangerous that some police are afraid is stupid. It’s not the people we’re afraid of.

April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb right outside a federal building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh was a veteran of the Gulf War and was described at the time as a sympathizer with the U.S. militia movement. The bomb, that he parked near the America’s Kids Day Care Center, (resulted in the deaths of) 168 people. Nineteen were children. Bombs kill people! We are rightfully afraid of bombs. No one claimed we should be allowed to own or make bombs.

In Sandy Hook, 20 children were shot and killed; Parkland, Florida, 14 children killed; Uvalde, Texas, 19 children were killed, and Nashville, Tennessee, three children and three staff members were recently killed. All with guns. Guns kill people like bombs kill people.

In those mass shootings, the preferred weapon has been a semi-automatic weapon commonly referred to as an assault rifle based on the AR 15 or AK 47. With large capacity magazines there is less need to reload; and that only takes seconds to continue the rapid fire (Remember Las Vegas). A New York University School of Medicine study found assault weapons accounted for 85% of mass-shooting deaths from 1981 to 2017.

These weapons, like bombs, were designed for warfare. Let’s stop the stupid! Guns kill people. Assault weapons kill more people faster. This is a fact. Act smart. Restore the assault weapons ban.

— Michael Belanger, Oklahoma City

Bar McCurtain County trio from public office forever

The alleged March 6 discussion among a few McCurtain County officials, including Sheriff Kevin Clardy, investigator Alicia Manning and County Commissioner Mark Jennings, was both surprising and disappointing at the same time. You see, our Oklahoma public officials should look to serve the public rather than discussing murder as a means to circumvent the First Amendment (i.e., freedom of the press) or lamenting the fact that Black people now have due process and equal protection under the law.

In regard to freedom of the press, the group discussed pre-dug holes insinuated to be graves and Louisiana-based hit men that apparently show no mercy on targets. The conversation regarding Black citizens suggested that Black residents have more rights than everyone else simply because you can no longer take them down to Mud Creek and lynch them without a fair trial, due process, evidence, etc.

Now, I, for one, do not believe that the assembled group of McCurtain County officials was on the verge of actually committing murder or eliminating due process for Black citizens. However, I do feel strongly that this clan of individuals is very capable of other tactics such as intimidation and harassment of perceived enemies or the fabrication of evidence and suppression of evidence against Black people. Simply put, the alleged comments were incredibly inappropriate in this day and age and more importantly in the great state of Oklahoma. Should the comments be confirmed — illegally obtained or not — we, the people of Oklahoma, should demand nothing less than the complete and unabridged ouster of all involved individuals from public office forever.

― Kirk Alan Jones, Edmond

(Editor’s note: At press time, McCurtain County District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings had resigned. On April 16, Gov. Kevin Stitt said McCurtain County officials who were allegedly recorded making racist and violent remarks should resign.)

Law Day, Crime Victims Week remind us about the rule of law

Perhaps there is no more poignant time than Law Day and National Crime Victims Week to point out how the rule of law is always threatened. Trial by jury has been the hallmark of our criminal justice system since the founding of our country. Yet, today, we see it under attack my government officials. In Texas, the governor seeks to immediately pardon a convicted murderer from a protest because he does not like the political narrative from facts of the case. In Oklahoma, a death row inmate is under commutation because public officials do not like the court rulings in the case. In this instance, we have lawyers and politicians reading reports from other lawyers about the factual basis and indeed, even the guilt or innocence. Bureaucrats reading reports!  

In both cases, juries, with no conceived notions, watched the witnesses testify, looked at the actual evidence, heard the argument of lawyers and made a just decision. Juries, as appropriate, wrestled with the evidence to reach a conclusion. So-called “newly discovered evidence,” a mantra so in vogue these days, was reviewed by a neutral detached Court of Criminal Appeals and determined to be of little value. 

Historically, for a brief period in England, a secret system of justice called the Star Chamber, was attempted. Politicians in high places made decisions and used it for their own personal court. Thankfully, it was abolished.  Today, we see our system drifting toward decisions by politicians because they read some papers and know better. Literally hundreds of hours and dozens of lawyers looked at the Oklahoma case as it proceeded through the system and found no error. Yet, politicians, late on the scene, want to abandon that precedent based upon reports … from other lawyers. Justice, determined by real evidence in the courtroom, should not be frustrated by politicians who decades later want to rule by bureaucratic fiat.

— George Burnett, Purcell

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