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There's a lot of talk about violence in our society, but many people aren't sure what they can do about it. This uncertainty places one of the most vulnerable segments of our population, our children, in jeopardy.

Every 75 minutes, a child in our country is starved, beaten, shot or killed in some violent way. If they are not victims, chances are children have witnessed some form of real-life violence.The American Academy of Pediatrics has designated violence prevention as the theme for national Child Health Month this October. Democratic legislators support the academy's effort to focus attention on prevention.

I urge everyone to help reduce violence in our children's lives. We can start by raising children in safe and loving homes. Nonphysical methods of discipline help children deal with their emotions and teach them nonviolent ways to solve problems.

We should watch television together with our children and talk about what we see. Television glamorizes guns and wrongly teaches youngsters that it's OK to use violence to resolve problems.

We can make our streets safer by building a sense of community. Get to know your neighbors and organize activities such as block parties and neighborhood cleanups. Hold a neighborhood meeting and invite a police officer to speak about safety issues. Ask your police department for "Neighborhood Watch" materials you can distribute at the meeting.

Sen. Scott Howell

Senate minority leader