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

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Sorry, Tom

Someone please tell Ryan Rusak of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that a best picture Oscar nomination requires more than screaming jets and flag waving. (Jan. 25, 15A, “‘Top Gun’ earned best picture nod by lifting up a battered America”)

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

- Anna L. Pearson, Lee’s Summit

Sought, found

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

SEEK takes place every year in a different city. It’s full of college students and those who lead religious lives, such as priests and sisters. Everyone who attends gets to hear talks about faith-based topics, daily mass, adoration and confession.

What was so beautiful about it for me was how truly peaceful I felt because of the extra time I spent in prayer. Being with friends was also fun.

To sum it up, SEEK was truly beautiful. One of the moments I truly noticed this was while going to sleep one night when I started to melt down after all of the encounters I was having with the Lord. Before I went to SEEK, I had doubts and felt like I had completely lost my faith in God. Now I know he does exist 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 leading

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s recent report on clergy abuse has fueled criticism of Kansas’ Catholic dioceses and helps promote the misguided belief that priests present a higher risk of abuse. (Jan. 8, 15A, “Kansas report identifies 188 clergy suspected of sex abuse”) But diocesan policies are working, and higher risk organizations should take note.

Data in the report show a 94% decline in abuse during the last 50 years, with further declines after the adoption of Church policies in 1998. Research also shows that Catholic and other religious organizations have similar abuse rates, 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 engaged in sexual contact with a minor. Federally funded researcher Charol Shakeshaft found abuse in schools was 100 times more likely than abuse by priests. Notably, Chicago’s schools received 470 reports of sexual misconduct in the 2021-22 school year — a single-year number exceeding the number of victims identified in the KBI’s 50-year review of Kansas dioceses.

One instance of abuse is too many, but the truth is 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, Riverside

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

In the know

I want to commend The Star for its recent reporting on such diverse subjects as the arbitration involving the new Kansas City International Airport terminal, the pay controversy at Kansas City, Kansas’, Board of Public Utilities and the so-called adult “swingers” sex club in Kansas City. Reporter David Hudnall did an excellent job of raising and addressing the salient issues in all of 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 litter. I agree on the need.

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

I take two plastic grocery bags on my walks. One of these is for dog waste and trash, and the other is for recyclable items I find. Happily, the amount of trash I find on my walks has decreased tremendously in a very short time. I find myself picking up smaller and smaller items along the route we take. We are getting there, and we are not too busy to keep trying.

Become the change you want. If we all pick up a little trash on our way, we will have a cleaner city. I know I have seen it, and we can all do it.

- William Howard, Glenaire

Stop the killing

So far this year, the U.S. is averaging just under two mass shootings per 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. And yet we wring our hands, make excuses and engage in political fights about the solution.

Large and complex problems have a tendency to resist single, simple solutions. Rather than fighting a solution because it won’t fix 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 — be damned.

- Paul L. Schenk, Parkville