Community challenged to respond to hate crime

Dear LGBTQ community: You belong in Joplin.

Recently, members of our LGBTQ community were the victims of a hate crime. A same-sex couple came home to homophobic obscenities written on their exterior and interior walls and to significant damage caused by a failed attempt to burn down their home. This hate crime was not the first in Joplin. Nor will it be our last.

A hate crime is one motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds. Hate crimes have significant and wide-ranging psychological consequences, not only for their direct victims but for all members of the community who identify with the direct victims. They include terror, extreme anxiety, a deep sense of vulnerability and a feeling of being devalued as a human being.

Hideous acts such as this one do not define us as a community. Ultimately, Joplin will be defined by how we respond to these acts. I challenge Joplin area civic leaders, business leaders and faith-based leaders to respond with love and support. For the direct victims, you can donate to their recovery via an online GoFundMe campaign (http://tiny.cc/JoplinLove). For the LGBTQ community, please consider getting involved in Joplin area equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive climate in our business community and our community at large. To achieve this significant transformation, our collaborative, sustainable efforts will support community conversations and events, launch and sustain diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs, celebrate and champion diversity, and continually educate our community on the value of equity, diversity and inclusion for everyone.

Toby Teeter

President, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

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Allowing immigration makes economic sense

The Globe’s editorial Saturday (Jan. 4) supporting Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to inform the Trump Administration that Missouri will continue to welcome refugees also provides a solution to the “existential crisis” of population decline that Patrick Buchanan discusses in the adjacent opinion article that day (“Real existential crisis — extinction”).

Buchanan correctly points out that populations in developed countries are declining or growing too slowly to maintain the ratio of workers to retirees necessary for economic growth. He laments that “the absolute numbers of ‘Europeans’ have begun to fall.”

Immigration can be a significant contributor to population growth. As the Globe points out, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. Other studies have shown that even unskilled immigrants with less than a high school education contribute more to the economy (and receive less government benefits) than similarly educated native-born Americans.

We have the capacity to take more (not fewer) refugees into the United States, and we should do that, including those fleeing countries where we have contributed to the instability. And we should be welcoming more immigrants, both skilled and unskilled, from developing countries. The immigration should be controlled, but not based on the xenophobic "European" criteria advocated by Buchanan (and apparently President Donald Trump — “We should have more people from places like Norway”).

We should welcome more people into the United States who are coming to provide more opportunity for themselves and their family. It is not just the right thing to do, the Christian thing to do, but it also makes sense economically.

Bret Baker

Grove, Okla.

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Technology changing nature of warfare

With the assassination of a top Iranian general and political figure, there is suddenly much talk of war. When we think of that term, many of us think of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. That has changed.

Is there such a thing as a “just war?” That’s debatable. Future military officers are exposed to some courses on philosophy and international law, even at service academies, but to what effect?

Technology (drone warfare, cruise missiles, GPS) and the actuality of nuclear weapons have fundamentally changed the nature of war. War, now, is mainly asymmetric and action at a distance, and with an all-volunteer military, it is easier than ever to use military force as a political distraction. About 1.5 million men were drafted during the Korean War and 2.2 million for Vietnam. No more. Deployment now is almost unnoticeable outside the nomadic military class.

In my opinion, philosophy classes are of minor effect because when the missiles are flying and the IEDs are exploding, such niceties are easily ignored and overruled by pragmatic commands from the top. Examples include President Donald Trump’s embrace of saber-rattling, torture, pardoning of war crimes and leadership assassinations. Do not count on any military types rebelling to protest on the basis of justice. It doesn’t work that way.

What are we becoming?

Jim Wheeler

Joplin

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