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By Christine Mason

“How many deaths will it take until he knows that too many people have died?” As my friend Peter Yarrow has sung, “how many cannon balls must fly before they are forever banned?” Today is the 3rd anniversary of the Newtown, CT massacre. The students, the teachers, the psychologist, and the principal at Sandy Hook will live in our hearts and minds forever.  20 children and six adults. Since then, we have seen repeats. Charleston, SC; San Bernardino, CA; Roseburg, OR and more. While the violence does not end at our borders, the US contributes more than our fair share to the violence on this planet.

“Beginning with the end in mind”–one place to begin to end the violence is with bans on assault weapons. My husband, John, and I joined about 200 people in front of the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax VA for an anti-gun vigil. It is one way to have a voice. Many actions are needed to reduce violence in the US.  Gun control needs to be part of the solution.

I continue to be perplexed about why the resistance is so strong, particularly in light of the unspeakable violence.

There is much work to be done. Now, as schools are reexamining their curricula and their plans for student achievement, we urge schools to consider how they help students problem solve to find substitutes for the escalating violence, and to help them practice peacemaking.

Peacemaking may be the most critical 21st century career. There are roles that many can play. Starting with infants and toddlers, there is a need to reduce the exposure of young children to violence and to help them learn peacemaking skills. However, the education that begins in preschool years, needs to continue for many years. Perhaps schools need to set standards for peacemaking, including ways to measure and monitor progress for individual student peacemaking skills. We have ideas at CEI, including a 55 page 21st Century Rubric, that has sections on peacemaking, justice, cultural competence, and more. Contact for information on how you can join with us in our work.

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