April 20, 1999
This morning The Naples Daily News had a banner headline: "Massacre in Colorado." Tonight on CNN, our president spoke to our country's adults about the tragedy. He asked us to look at the example we're setting for our children in terms of violence and aggression. He spoke of teaching our children that disagreements can be settled through dialogue and peaceful means. The fact that as Commander in Chief he is currently unleashing incredible destruction on the Serbians, and the example he is setting for our nation's children, seemed to have eluded him. "Compartmentalization" at its most tragic. Once again, children are mimicking the world around them by settling hurts and disputes with killing and destruction.
Once again, the lonely and embittered of our society have been allowed to remain alone, untouched by understanding and love, no one reaching out to them in friendship and dialogue. Once again, pent-up anger has exploded in a seemingly irrational display of hatred and violence.
This horrible tragedy is a wake-up call to our country to truly begin the demilitarization of our society-civilian and military. To renounce violence in all forms, put away our guns and bombs, and stop watching violent movies, television shows and video games. And, most importantly, to commit ourselves to resolving all disputes, no matter how small, with compassionate dialogue and mediation. We must reach out to those sectors of our communities that are alienated, and bring them into the larger community. We must renounce violence in all forms as a solution to any problem. To paraphrase A. J. Mustie, there is no way to nonviolence, living nonviolently is the only way.
— Fred Eppsteiner