Thank you to The Star for supporting Kansas Senate Bill 238, which will make cockfighting in Kansas a felony (2/13, Opinion).
Every state surrounding Kansas treats this brutal activity as a felony. As long as cockfighting is only a misdemeanor in Kansas, we are a magnet for it and for all the gambling, illegal drug use and violence that accompanies this already-illegal activity.
Animal fighting, and all cruelty to animals, desensitizes people to suffering. In tough times we need to be more sensitive to each others’ suffering, especially those who cannot speak for themselves. Violence begets violence, and compassion begets compassion. Let’s get this right and make our state a better place for all of us.
Crystal Swann Blackdeer
The Star’s editorial in support of classifying cockfighting as a felony instead of a misdemeanor rings hollow. The Star reasons that the misdemeanor classification “means penalties are light and the risk of prison time is low.”
Many low-level felonies provide for the presumption of probation because the prisons are full. Prison has not proved useful in deterring drug use, with half of the inmates in federal and state prisons serving time for drug violations. Increasingly, thoughtful individuals are questioning the utility of relying on prison as a vehicle to effect societal reform.
Just as we embrace community corrections as an alternative to prison, we must effect reform of society by means other than filling prisons with low level, nonviolent offenders.
Cockfighting, drug use and a host of other deeply offensive activities must be remedied, but prison has not proved to be effective in reforming society. The vexing problems facing society today are not so easily solved by the closing of an iron door.
Michael Lee Kobe
Kansas City, Kan.