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How can we help people in our communities connect more deeply with each other?

In the past few months, we have witnessed mass murders committed by mentally-incompetent individuals, the release of female captives held by a socio-path, and the public's obsession with a sexually-explicit trial. In each case, we witness symptoms of a failure to address the tension between individual liberties and privacy against the need to create meaningful bonds between people to prevent dehumanization and hopelessness. Beyond the scope of law enforcement and the judicial system, how can we engage residents so that they can plug into communities to prevent despair, anger, and voyeurism. Many programs around the country work toward these ends. What are some of the success stories that address the root problems and inspire others to take local action?

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    • May 11 2013: I like your suggestion a lot, ZX!
      As an individual who is probably considered 'odd' by the other residents who live in this small town, I really appreciate it when someone takes the time and effort to get to know me. And you're right, friendships have actually risen out of it!
      Seriously, though, this is a good suggestion, as long as it doesn't become a field day for vigilante behavior!
      It comes down to communication, something we tend to forget how to do. When we learn how to communicate, we can learn how to get to know others on a less superficial level.
    • May 11 2013: When we take time to get to know the outliers, it allows us to develop our own compassion since everyone has a story. Sharing that story with just one individual can be a flashlight in a dark tunnel. This reminds me of the importance of projects that seek to record community history. The results can be a source of community pride.
      • May 13 2013: The outliers do not necessarily present themselves for introductions or openly discuss their views of the world. They are outliers for a reason. They are outside of the norm. Just because you dress differently, listen to music most of us have never heard, or seem unapproachable does not constitute outlier. Forgive me if I seem to be preaching...just trying to tie how the outliers would be the a key to develop a deep connection to the community. Seems to me that identifying the outliers is another word for Profiling. In my opinion there will always be an individual with the need to cause chaos, be different. A community can offer all the best intended social programs, which may or may not have the potential to yield positive outcomes. However the idea of creating deeper ties does not start at the level of a community but at the lower rung, the smallest yet most important level, the Family setting. There the outliers are either brought into the fold of the community or are further pushed out. Hopefully, the Family is strong enough to offer the love, caring and guidance that will allow an indivual or group to choose the path that ties to the overall community. The fight against despair, anger, voyeourism starts at home with loving parents (however the make up of that family). In my opinion the one community program that is lacking today is the development and strengthening of families.

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