Cave Dwellers

No ill will: C.J. Janovy’s column on Heather Cave deeply moved me, and I applaud her for bringing to light such a poignant example of courage and what is wrong with the health-care system in the United States (“ Now What?” November 4 ).

I must admit, however, the piece probably did not affect me as much as it will other Kansas Citians and Americans. I am not coldhearted; I am Canadian in my views on the subject of health care. Born and raised in Kansas City, I have spent the last five years in Montreal, Quebec, and just recently became a permanent resident of Canada. Here, we frequently look at our “all-powerful” neighbor to the south and shake our collective heads, indignant at how the richest nation on earth can permit so many cases like Heather’s. It may shock some people in the Midwest who have only sporadic contact with my adoptive country, but health care in Canada is free and universal. We are perfectly happy to pay twice as many taxes if it means that a corporate CEO is equal to a homeless person in the eyes of a hospital and its staff.

It is natural here and unimaginable in the United States, and these differing mindsets represent a fundamental cultural distinction between the two countries. Admittedly, Canada’s health-care system is stretched to its limit at the moment and needs some revamping, but at least it tries its best to help everyone. I am still an American, and I feel for all of you, especially because I am an artist myself and would be without insurance if I lived in the United States. And yet I know — I know for a fact — that it does not have to be this way.

I pray for the day that Americans regain a sense of their social responsibilities, remembering that when one person needlessly suffers, we all suffer.

Brett Hooton

Montreal, Canada

Health to pay: In C.J. Janovy’s article about Heather, I was sad to hear about her problems and the way people are helping her.

But this should be a wake-up call. While those musicians are out doing benefits for her, they ought to be taking a hard look at the business side of their lives. Earth to musicians: We live in the U.S.A. Quit thinking you’re above things like paying taxes, finding health insurance and planning for retirement.

For instance, as independent contractors, they are able to get group health insurance through many associations, including musician groups. Your insurance premiums can be deducted on your taxes as business expenses. In fact, every time you buy a guitar string, take a lesson or travel to a gig, you could write that all off your taxes.

Ahh … but that’s the problem. Most musicians don’t report their incomes. In fact, some don’t pay taxes at all. That’s fine if you want to live gig to gig, but if you ever really want to grow in your career and be prepared for problems like medical emergencies, you should look at it as a business, not as a hobby or a lifestyle.

Write up a business plan. Develop a product you can sell. Create music people will want to listen to and buy a CD of. Then cut some CDs and sell them. Market yourself with Web sites, business cards, fliers, etc. Who knows — you might get picked up by a record label. (Note: They pay health insurance.)

How many more Heathers do there need to be before the musician community starts acting professionally?

Brad Hansen

Overland Park

Path of Lease Resistance

Get real, pork chop: The KC Strip certainly wasn’t the decisive factor in the defeat of Bistate II (“Bistate Curious ,” October 21), but it helped with its carping.

Admittedly, Bistate II was a big, complicated cluster-fuck of a deal that flopped pretty mightily across the metro. But I voted for it, viewing it as a tasty sausage whose gruesome making I could avoid looking at too closely.

Clearly, a downtown ballpark would be best for all concerned. But that mistake was made in 1969, and there is little hope of fixing it now. Of course, I would love to be proven wrong on that last statement.

Given the Royals’ noncompetitive condition, the Royals’ and Chiefs’ get-out loopholes in their existing leases with Jackson County, and the decrepit condition of the stadiums, you realize it is incumbent on naysayers like you to propose something different and better than Bistate II. But I have to regard the notions you are propounding — of a downtown boutique baseball park and/or giving Arrowhead to Lamar Hunt — as pipe dreams at best (“New Lease on Life,” November 11). Neither the Royals nor the Chiefs are behind such moves, nor is the city, county, state or … anybody besides a handful of architects, talk-show hosts and columnists.

I regard the continued deterioration of the Royals, capped off by their and possibly the Chiefs’ move to another city, as more likely outcomes than the appearance of any downtown-savior stadiums. That’s why I supported Bistate II.

Name Withheld by Request

Body of Evidence

Amber waves of pain: Nadia Pflaum’s “ Too Young and Too Pretty ” (November 4) was informational, but I must add to it. There is a law that, by committing a felony that results in someone’s death, you can be held responsible for the death, whether it be murder or manslaughter. There seems to be evidence that would link Matthew Davis to Amber McGathey’s death, especially since drugs and needles were found in his apartment and he admitted to someone that she overdosed. The fact alone that he was carrying her body around and that he bound and tied her in a sheet begs the question that he was involved.

Was there a concrete job he would hide her in, or perhaps the river? He was up to no good, and that is so obvious. I hope this doesn’t make a mockery out of the system like the O.J. and Nicole Simpson case did. I hope that justice is eventually served.

Debbie Dillon

Columbia, Illinois