We are fooling ourselves on how to go about answering the question on how to stop violent acts of terror. What is the one major, shared characteristic  of these people who have resorted to killing others senselessly? What do they all have in common? Where did their thought process get stuck and/ or go down the slippery slope of using murderous violence to get their message across? The answer is simple and right before us. The answer is not elusive but has to do with each of us, and each of us has a part in it. A part in having the ability to stop the murder of innocent people. Would you like to know what this answer is? Would you like to be safe in your neighborhood? Could it be possible that the action needed is as old as time itself?
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, young and old, outlaw, misfit and goody two shoes… the answer is that we must take action to raise and value independent, critical thinkers who are habituated to voicing and writing their messages to the world. That is it. It certainly starts in schools and must be instilled through our neighborhoods and communities near and far. No child can be left behind. Many a times, it is the one’s we leave behind whom become disgruntled. It truly takes a village to raise each other up. It truly implies that we must be our brothers and sisters keepers. It starts with replacing apathy with empathy. That is to say, indifference with love.
The communities that value the ability to raise critical thinkers who are independently-minded, raise individuals who are willing to use their vocal chords and the pen over a gun, or a vehicle to plow through people to make some point. School curriculums that thread themes through each subject, interconnecting each to practical, real-life purposes bring alive the mindset of seeing challenges, issues and problems from various viewpoints, and thus bringing a wealth of perspective to solutions.
This is it. This is
Debate teams in schools should not just be for a small group of students, but a requisite for all students in a school system. Everyone must know how to make their message clear and have the wherewithal to eschew it forth to the general public. This is democracy in action and a powerful force greater than any senseless act of violence. This is how we deal a terrific blow to terror. With the advent of positively disruptive education that prioritizes the advent of placing critical thinking activists we create an abstract machine of socially responsible humans akin to declaring their thoughts in a coherent manner and in strategic ways. In like fashion, we raise a new political movement that is inclusive of a great number of people who become passionate about their messages and become intellectual powerhouses to keen to devolve to the irresponsible use of getting into a vehicle and causing mayhem or strapping explosives around their bodies.
The challenge is to be expedient in such an endeavor. The challenge is to introduce this policy at F-1 Formula race car speed. This is it. The child that grows up with the ability to appreciate multiple perspectives, collaborate with others responsibly and strike out on their own path fueled with passion and goal-directed persistence is the child who grows up to change the world as we know it. The greatest obstacles are two-fold. These are apathy and moving too slowly. Apathy sais it will not work and moving too slow sais it is not that important. The social responsibility lands squarely in the shoulders of those who set educational policy, those who carry it out and the communities of families and individuals who bring the pressure to make it so.
This is how we step into the boxing ring and deal terror a formidable knockout. It starts when we are young and it starts with each of us, in each of our communities and within our family environments. Parents need to discuss topics in such a way that they do not brainwash their children to take on their own viewpoints, for that hinders and disinvites critical thinking, but lay topics before the family and create open-ended questions that engender discussion and provoke thought process. Schools need to stimulate debate, amplifying the supports and accommodations needful to mount up a serious platform establishing conversation and discussion early on in the grade school life of students. Most schools across the land do not do this, and those that do, begin in high school, when it is much too late for the broad swath of youth who may see the ‘debate club’ as an option, rather than an all-important democratic ingredient that levels the political playing field.
School superintendents, principals and teachers need to be brave in inserting the seeds of critical thinking mindsets routinized in the back and forth process of discussion and listening. To those who say this is already being done and has been in place for eons of ages, I counter that they are failing. I counter that not enough is being done to have ALL practicing critical, and independent thinking. Not enough is being done to support creative writers. It is not just having school-wide debate teams, but writers. There needs to be space for both introverted and extroverted minds. They balance and feed each other. In the end, I posit that the communities that prioritize the value in the ability to raise such mindsets on a spirited-level will be the communities that churn out the leaders of tomorrow. These communities will not create individuals who resort to the crude, terror-filled means in which so many have made their messages, but dynamos that fight with word and pen, as well as art and music to bring about a chorus of empathy and positively disruptive social responsibility.

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