Twice as many American children die from gun violence as police officers and soldiers combined.

If someone can make these statistics makes sense, please do so. Because damn, America.

A study out of Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine has revealed a sobering truth about America and guns. Gun deaths among children rose dramatically between 2013 and 2017, in what researchers are calling an epidemic. In the U.S., children are killed by gunfire at rates six to nine times higher than in other developed nations.

As terrible as those stats are, this is the one that should give us all pause: In 2017, 144 American police officers and about 1,000 active duty U.S. military personnel were killed in the line of duty worldwide. In the same year, 2,462 American schoolchildren were killed by guns.


In other words, twice as many of our children were killed by gunfire than our police officers and soldiers in 2017. Twice as many innocent kids were shot and killed in the U.S. than the people whose professions are defined by willingly standing in the line of fire.

The only way to swallow those stats is to point out that there are a lot more children in the U.S. than police officers and soldiers. But we're talking about children being shot here. Every sworn protector signs up for that danger. Not a single child does.

This is the kind of statistic that makes the rest of the world look at America like we’re out of our everlovin’ minds.

How on Earth can the U.S. try to claim greatness when we don't live in a war zone and yet lose thousands of our children a year to gunfire? Because make no mistake—the U.S. is a complete outlier in this way. Children in other developed nations don't do regular active shooter drills. They don't have toddlers shooting people on a weekly basis. They don't have more children being shot and killed than police officers and soldiers in a year. They just don't.

There’s no way to make this statistic make sense other than to admit that there’s something very, very wrong with our country’s relationship with guns.

Seriously, America. This is not normal.

Finding solutions to our gun problem is not simple, but the first step is admitting we actually have a problem.

Having engaged in countless discussions on this topic, I'm well aware of the complexity of finding solutions to our gun violence problem. But what strikes me most in these conversations is how many people don't seem to feel that we even have a problem.

Perhaps we've become so accustomed to gun deaths that we think it's somewhat normal. But the lifetime risk for Americans to die from gun violence is greater than drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food, airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters combined. That's not normal.

Or rather, that's only normal in America. And our understanding of this fact is super skewed. Our government has tried to scare us into believing that terrorists from the Middle East are a huge threat to our safety and security, even banning all travelers from certain countries in the name of that threat. And yet our chances of being killed by an accidental gunshot—not murder, not suicide, but being shot by accident—is almost five times greater than being killed by a foreign-born terrorist.

We are willing to ban entire groups of people, but God forbid we place any restrictions on inanimate objects that statistically pose a much greater threat to our safety and security. How does that even make sense?

We can't keep doing nothing unless we're willing to accept dead children as collateral damage.

It is entirely possible to respect Americans' constitutional right to own guns and also support reasonable gun legislation. Most gun owners I know support legislative measures to at least attempt to mitigate our gun death numbers. In a country with as many guns as people, figuring out what those measures should be is a serious challenge, but it's not impossible.

There are many countries around the world where people own guns without anywhere near our gun death rates. We can figure this out, as long as we're all in agreement that something has to give. Because the alternative—pretending all of this is normal and doing nothing—is unacceptable in the face of these statistics. Our children deserve to live in a country that undeniably values them more than guns. And right now, that is not the message we're sending.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture