January 11, 2013 

Dear Editor:

I'm writing in response to Barbara Boucher's letter chastising Rep. Brattin for his proposed bill.

When tragedies happen, some people respond with knee jerk, and some respond by thinking through the situation.

Perhaps Barbara could do her homework? What is an “assault weapon” Barbara? I mean beyond the term that was made up to describe “scary” looking guns. You of course know, that whether or not a weapon is classified in that category is based solely on cosmetic features, and that by those rules, a .22 with certain features falls into that category. The assault rifle Barbara is probably referring to is a .223, and it is not powerful enough to hunt deer with in some states legally. But perhaps she was just upset about weapons in schools? I certainly hope her letter to the editor was preceded by a demand to immediately remove any and all fire extinguishers from the schools! They will certainly kill if you hit someone with them! And if deployed at a person? What kind of damage could the foam do? There are more than one kind of fire extinguishers, what if they used the wrong kind? She must feel it would be best to leave fire fighting in the hands of the professionals, who are only moments away. The teachers aren't trained to fight fires, what if they used them wrong?

I'm pretty sure Rep. Brattin's bill doesn't require teachers to carry. Only those that are willing to get the training. If it were me, I would have added in that the teachers that do so, are not allowed to tell the principal or other teachers they have done so. For more than one reason. Other countries have similar policies of allowing armed teachers in place, they haven't had successful school shootings since the 1970s.

Interesting, her guideline for allowable ownership is the same one The Nazi Weapons Law (18 March 1938) used, “sporting purpose.”I think the law-abiding Korean shop keepers during the L.A. Riots would strongly disagree with her uninformed opinion that they have no good use in civilian hands. No records on ownership? Seriously? You didn't even begin to do your homework on this one!

In the end, both the fire extinguishers and the gun are an inanimate object, a piece of metal with no will or mind of their own. It is in whose hand they rest that determines if they are used for good or evil. And like a fire extinguisher, if you need a gun, you will need it very fast, and very much.

Sheila Stokes-Begley



Dear Editor:

In 1964, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled, pursuant to Article VII, Section 6, of the Missouri Constitution, prohibiting nepotism to the fourth degree by public elected officials, that acts of an official question of forfeiture has been judicially determined.

In the matter of Cass County Clerk Janet Burlingame, Presiding Cass County Judge Jacqueline Cook held, in a recent judicial decision, that Burlingame had in effect forfeited her position as Cass County Clerk during her previous terms of office (2003-2010) through acts of first-degree nepotism, and thus became “a mere interloper in office” during that specified period of time.

While it is true that Judge Cook ruled that Burlingame could not commit during her current term, it most certainly left open the door for further legal action against Burlingame for any and all acts she performed and undertook during those two previous terms of office, including seeking a declaratory judgement to have any official documents which Burlingame may have certified or signed as County Clerk held invalid, as well as forfeiture of her salary and benefits she received as County Clerk, and ordering her to reimburse the Cass County Treasurer’s Office for the full amount that Burlingame was paid during the period of time she was holding office illegally under a Constitutional mandate requiring forfeiture of office for acts of nepotism, and thereafter judicially determined to be so.

Lastly, a strong legal argument could be made that Burlingame was in reality, impersonating a County Clerk during her previous two terms, by her continuing in Office during and after her initial and subsequent acts of nepotism in the first-degree, thereby openly acting and pretending to possess full legal authority to perform the various statutorily-defined duties and obligations of a County Clerk, who also serves as the County Election Authority and Clerk of the Cass County Commission. This type of conduct constitutes a criminal offense under Missouri law, punishable upon conviction, by a fine and/or imprisonment.

Wherefore, in as much as Burlingame’s past mistakes have come back to haunt her, it should certainly behoove everyone involved in this matter to seek a fair and just resolution to this important case as soon as possible.

Walter Cook


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