Speak for children who can’t speak for themselves

Last year, there were 8,967 Iowa children subject to abuse and neglect. Many were removed from their homes, putting them and their families into the court system. Most are 5 years old or younger.

These children, who have already faced untold trauma, enter a circumstance that confuses and frightens them, one that’s full of well-meaning people they don’t know. In spite of what they’ve suffered, most of them just want to go home. But we, as citizens, want them to be safe, loved, and happy. And we don’t want them to be invisible, because they are our future.

When we read the occasional horror story of a child in foster or adoptive care being seriously harmed, our first reaction is to ask, “How can this happen?” Our second reaction might be to ask, “What can I do?”

Sometimes there’s no answer to the first question. But there is an answer to the second: CASA. The Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which is staffed by volunteers who are ordinary citizens, gives a child in need of assistance a voice as the case goes through the courts.

CASA volunteers receive training in child welfare and are given to tools to help. Each advocate is then assigned to a child or a family of children. The advocate’s only role is to be a voice for the child, to listen to the child, look out for the child’s best interests in court, and see to it that the child is never invisible. For many children, their CASA is the one person who is always there to care.

CASAs make a significant difference. According to research done by the National CASA Association, children with a CASA volunteer spend less time in foster care, are less likely to re-enter foster care, more likely to find a safe, permanent home, and more likely to succeed in school and attend college.

Unfortunately, in Iowa, only one in 14 children who are “in the system” has a CASA because there aren’t enough volunteers. If you have time in your life for a child, volunteer! You’ll be in the company of other ordinary people who care about kids. You’ll be welcomed into a community that makes a difference every day.

To find out more and fill out a volunteer application, go to casaiowa.org. There are children who need you.

Anne Christensen

Council Bluffs

The source and the solution to gun violence in America

I contend that the source of gun violence in America is the entertainment industry. That group consists of writers, directors, actors, stunt persons, make-up artists, camera and microphone specialists, editors, noise and music producers, marketers, movie theaters, streaming services, sellers and suppliers of downloadable movies and podcasts, even support people, scene background artists, etc.

They are the root cause of the tendency of radical left and radical right assassins, mentally disturbed shooters and violent robbers to resort to guns for their criminal attacks. The problems they cause are well known. The fault the left cites is with guns themselves. They cite the NRA as the facilitator, without regard to the known fact that no NRA member has been found to have committed the gun violence offenses they use to justify removal of our right to keep and bear arms.

The right cites release of mentally disturbed individuals into society in the ’60s and up to this date from asylums, residential treatment facilities and clinical oversight programs into the general society by the progressives and leftist’s own programs.

The right also cites gun confiscations in every Marxist nation on Earth, Nazi Germany prior to WWII, most socialist countries and increasingly more moderate regimes.

The program I propose is to remove, by taxation, the propensity to broadcast and distribute materials produced by the entertainment industry, whose work I contend has produced the attitude that grievances can be, and perhaps must be dealt with by gun violence.

For movies at theaters, I propose a tax per showing each time a movie is shown to any part of the public of $500, per instance of showing a rifle, ballistic launcher, handgun, zip gun or other projectile launching device in any frame or sequence of frames. That would be multiplied by the number of such images in the production. Exceptions are to be made only for historical footage of actual military conflicts and military training films used in military training.

For privately owned movies or clips from products of the Entertainment Industry, shown in the home or other venues to family or groups invited to a particular location the tax would be $50 per instance of viewing, per existence of a single or continuous set of frames containing the image of said devices.

For streaming services, for each movie or showing $500.

Carl Glazman

Oakland

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