We are seeing growing evidence of tribalism and conflict among various segments of our population. In my view, the only way this problem can be addressed in a meaningful way is to encourage more people-to-people contact so that all of us can better understand cultures that may be different from our own. Apart from the issue of guns, there may be a number of ways to encourage the fundamental problem of attitudes.

Among them we might attempt to:

1) Encourage privately-funded gatherings over a meal with equal numbers of each group, divided by age at individual tables. Perhaps some bonding and even friendships could develop through sharing common interests or even discussing various difficulties.

2) Mentor youngsters to get to know and care about a child of another race. This can be very rewarding for the mentor as well as the beneficiary. Nearly every community is badly in need of this type of caring.

3) Budget time and funds to urge police officers to randomly visit homes of the disadvantaged in each community. This could be an opportunity to explore attitudes about the division in our society.

Each of these suggestions would require fine-tuning. Mentors must be carefully selected; the meeting of different “tribes” over a meal needs to be carefully prepared; the effort of police officers to have friendly meetings with families or small groups deserves particular attention.

Several of these approaches have been launched already. Addressing our problem requires an urgent search for creative solutions.

JOHN WINTHROP

Adger’s Wharf

Charleston