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Is ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ a hit just because it’s pro-America? That’s not how movies work

I’m sorry, Tom

Someone please tell the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Ryan Rusak that a Best Picture Oscar nomination requires more than screaming, flag-waving jets. (Jan. 25, 15A, “‘Top Gun’ Earns Best Picture Lifting Up a Beaten America”)

Is “Top Gun: Maverick” a winner because it’s pro-America? Really? Tom Cruise does big box office and corporate directors care a lot about that. The movie business is in serious trouble, and jet fighters and macho men alone don’t make a great movie.

-Anna L. Pearson Lee Summit

Searched, found

Near the end of the Christmas break, I went with some people from Benedictine College to a Catholic conference in St. Louis called SEEK. It is conducted by Catholic missionaries.

SEEK takes place every year in a different city. It is full of university students and those who lead a religious life, such as priests and nuns. All who attend can hear talks on faith-based topics, daily mass, worship, and confession.

What was so beautiful to me was how truly peaceful I felt because of the extra time I spent in prayer. Being with friends was fun too.

To sum up, SEEK was really good. One of the times I really noticed this was as I was going to sleep one night, when I started to melt away after all the encounters I was having with the Lord. Before going to SEEK, I had doubts and felt like I had completely lost faith in God. Now I know that he exists and we are his greatest creation. He died for us on the cross because he loves us.

Thanks to everyone who told me about SEEK. It’s life changing.

-Quinn McCullough Kansas City

Church leaders

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s recent report on clergy abuse has fueled criticism of Catholic dioceses in Kansas and contributes to the misconception that priests are at greater risk of abuse. (January 8, 15A, “Kansas report identifies 188 priests suspected of sexual abuse”) But diocesan policies are working, and high-risk organizations should take note.

Data from the report show a 94 percent decline in abuse over the past 50 years, with further declines after the adoption of Church policies in 1998. The research also shows that Catholic and other religious organizations have similar rates of abuse, but these rates are lower than in public schools or the general population.

Professor Thomas Plante found that up to 8% of adult males (but only 2% to 5% of priests) may have had sexual contact with a minor. Federally funded researcher Charol Shakeshaft found that abuse in schools was 100 times more likely than abuse by priests. Notably, Chicago schools received 470 sexual misconduct complaints in the 2021-22 school year, more in a single year than the number of victims identified in the KBI’s 50-year review of Kansas dioceses.

One case of abuse is too much, but the truth is that Catholic policies are working. To protect children, all organizations should follow the Church’s lead and implement policies that prevent sexual abuse.

– Chad E. Blomberg, River bank

Editor’s note: The author is a partner in the law firm Nussbaum Speir Gleason, which represents religious organizations in sexual abuse cases nationwide.


I want to commend The Star for its recent reporting on topics as diverse as the arbitration involving the new Kansas City International Airport terminal, the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities pay dispute, and the so-called sex of ” Swingers” adult club in Kansas City. Journalist David Hudnall has done an excellent job of raising and addressing the salient issues throughout the articles. It was first-rate investigative reporting.

-Patrick Sirridge leawood

Little steps

The author of the Jan. 25 guest commentary “Clean Up Our Act Before the World Cup, KC” (14A) suggested that the city needs to do a better job of taking care of the waste. I agree on the need.

I also walk a dog in the area where I reside and hope all dog walkers clean up after their pets, as I do.

I carry two plastic bags on my walks. One of them is for dog litter and garbage, and the other is for any recyclable items I find. Luckily, the amount of trash I find on my walks has dropped massively in no time. I find myself picking up smaller and smaller items along the route we take. We’re getting there and we’re not too busy to keep trying.

Be the change you want. If we all pick up some trash along the way, we’ll have a cleaner city. I know I’ve seen it and we can all do it.

-William Howard Glenaire

Stop the killing

So far this year, the United States has averaged just under two mass shootings a day, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. The physical, emotional and economic costs are catastrophic. No other developed country comes close to this level of carnage. Yet we wring hands, make excuses and engage in political struggles for the solution.

Large, complex problems have a tendency to resist single, simple solutions. Rather than fight a solution because it won’t solve the problem, we should try absolutely everything, everywhere, all at once that has even a slight chance of reducing the carnage, gun rights – misunderstood by some as supposedly unlimited under the Constitution – to be damned.

– Paul L. Schenk Parkville

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