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How do we stop, or at least reduce, the violence taking place in our towns, states and nation? Mass shootings and killings in our cities don't elicit outrage, sadness or even headlines. But only when the number of people shot and killed hits a high note or occur in a small town do we take notice.

Have we as a people become immune to violence? Maybe even accept violence as part of our new societal culture? New gun laws and more police are called for, but there is no change in how we treat each other. It's always the other guy who has to change.

I think that we all have to take responsibility for helping to reduce and eliminate violence. One way is to remember that feelings are not right or wrong, not good or bad. They are just feelings. It's the actions we take to express those feelings that can be good or bad. We need to ask ourselves: What am I doing about my anger, my hatred, my biases, my frustrations? How am I expressing them and is there a better way to do so? Can I learn from others?

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There are no easy answers, no scapegoats, no one person or group to blame. We all need to step up. If nothing else, listen respectively to one another's thoughts, feelings and opinions. And if you can't do that, find out how to do so. Ask your minister, doctor, librarian or someone you know who seems to have that skill. Politicians and police cannot stop the violence. Individuals can.

Bernadine Barrett, Munster

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.