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Recent Kansas Editorials

December 25, 2018

The Topeka Capital-Journal, Dec. 22

Don’t drive impaired this holiday season

The rush to holiday gatherings and festivities has begun.

While the emphasis is on joyous celebrations and fun for all, safety shouldn’t take a back seat.

The holidays present plenty of temptations — and, bring a time to once again drive home a warning on the danger of overindulging in alcohol or using drugs and driving.

Kansas law enforcement agencies are part of a nationwide campaign designed to stop impaired driving during the holiday season. The stepped-up law enforcement effort started Friday and continues through Dec. 31.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of the more dangerous to be on the road, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. While wintry weather often creates hazardous driving conditions, bad choices also lead to serious problems.

Last year in Kansas, 17 percent of crashes during the holiday week were alcohol related, with nearly 2,000 wrecks during the year involving alcohol-impaired drivers.

It’s also important to know the crime of driving under the influence can be linked to more than alcohol consumption. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which tracks vehicle safety and driving behavior in an attempt to reduce vehicle crashes, reports drug-impaired driving becoming a growing threat nationwide with the use of illegal and prescription drugs — marijuana, opioids, methamphetamine and other substances.

Alcohol and certain drugs slow drivers’ reaction times, coordination and judgment, while cocaine and meth make motorists more aggressive and reckless, the NHTSA notes. Whether drunk or high, it can lead to a DUI.

The cost of imbibing and driving may result in jail time, expensive fines, suspended licenses, attorneys’ fees and higher insurance rates, as well as injuries or even worse outcomes. Simply put, impaired drivers are at greater risk of losing their own lives or taking the lives of others.

Unfortunately, people too often fail to plan ahead with a designated driver, cab or other ride-hailing service, or do whatever else necessary to avoid getting behind the wheel when under the influence. Party organizers who serve alcohol also must insist that friends don’t drive drunk.

Law enforcement authorities know firsthand the horrible consequences of bad decisions. They also know many tragedies can be prevented.


The Kansas City Star, Dec. 21

A judge ordered a Missouri poacher to watch ‘Bambi.’ Here are our movie mandates

The prolific Missouri poacher who has been ordered by a judge to watch the Disney movie “Bambi” once a month as part of his sentence got us mulling what movies we’d like to mandate for some of those we wrote about this year.

For Laura Kelly, the Democratic Governor-elect of Kansas, we’re thinking “Jaws.” (Oh look, it’s GOP Senate President Susan Wagle, just off the starboard bow, and as always, she’s smiling.) A bigger boat? Nah, not as long as you’re ready to close the beach.

For the man Kelly defeated, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, “The Grapes of Wrath,’” because not everyone who is struggling is really just a handout-seeker in need of a good punitive kick in the teeth. Other educational films on our list for Kobach include “El Norte,” about a Guatemalan brother and sister fleeing violence in their home country. And “A Better Life,” about a Mexican immigrant trying to keep his son out of trouble in East L.A. And “Under the Same Moon,” about a Mexican child traveling north to find his mother.

For Missouri’s Senator-elect Josh Hawley, “A Man for All Seasons.” Kidding. But no kidding, “Advise and Consent,” the 1962 Otto Preminger classic about casual political perfidy and an anti-communist Washington “witch hunt” of the sort that actually occurred.

For the incumbent he defeated, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, anything with her look-alike Miranda Richardson.

For the incoming Missouri attorney general, Eric Schmitt, who will be taking over Hawley’s job and the important but so far back-burner investigation of sex abuse by Catholic clergy, “The Verdict,” to remind him what he’s up against, and “Spotlight,” to remind him what’s at stake.

For Missouri’s sole Democratic surviving statewide officeholder, Nicole Galloway, the underdog anthem “Rocky.”

For Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, whose meaning is not always clear, “Truman,” about the power of plain speaking.

For Kansas City Mayor Sly James, “Airport,” of course.

For beleaguered Jackson County Executive Frank White, “Bad News Bears,” maybe?

And for soon-to-be Kansas 3rd District Rep. Sharice Davids, Capra’s inevitable “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” because with the eyes of a newcomer, Jimmy Stewart isn’t afraid to go way off script.

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