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We need to create a culture of peace

It is unthinkable, everyone says. It is a terrible, grievous tragedy, a trauma both devastating and far-reaching. But is it unthinkable? Violence is prevalent in much of our entertainment – films like “Saw” and “Friday the 13th” and video games such as “Manhunt” and “Call of Duty.” We show the blood and the “unthinkable” only subtly suggested in days gone by.

Sudden death is very thinkable in other parts of the world; in war zones and where drones strike – at home, in the mosque or market, on the road. Children and adults watch the skies in fear in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan, at least 168 children have died in U.S. drone attacks since 2004.

In Buffalo, it is heartbreakingly thinkable, too. We have had 44 homicides this year, and more shootings. Sometimes the killing is random, or the person killed was not the target.

When we combine automatic distrust, the “might is right” attitude, smoldering trauma and the pervasiveness and sometimes even glorification of violence in our culture with minimal gun control, we have the recipe for the disaster we see. At least three times as many people per 100,000 are shot and killed in this country as in other developed countries.

We desperately need serious gun control. We desperately need the determined promotion of peaceful conflict resolution training, especially for our children and youth. We need to make healing troubled hearts and minds a priority, and to create a culture of peace in our society. And we will all need to work together to do it.

Victoria B. Ross

Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Consultant, WNY Peace Center

Interfaith Peace Network