Where are the Peace Scholars?
When I asked myself that question I was surprised to discover that Rotary’s Peace Scholarship program only began in 2002.
So in a way it is quite remarkable the extent to which Rotarians worldwide have adopted peace and conflict resolution as a central focus of our organization. A decade of developing Peace Scholars is not very long in the realm of academia.
I was asking myself the question because we have heard nothing from Rotary’s leadership on the issue of guns in America. I wondered how our peace scholarship program might provide us with research data which would help Rotary provide a peaceful resolution to the America’s firearms dilemma.
With yesterdays call by the National Rifle Association to place police in every school in America, a move which is the very antithesis of a peaceful resolution, it has become even more paramount that Rotary offer a peaceful alternative to fighting fire with fire..
A police officer in each school is great theatre but even a cursory analysis demonstrates its lack of feasibility. There are 98,817 public schools and over 25,600 private Christian schools plus another 5000 non-Christian and secular private schools. Putting just one officer in each of those schools would require the equivalent to the number of police officers of nearly four New York Cities. That is more than a police force; it is an army. And it is an awful lot of guns. It is also horrendously expensive. Even at $60,000 an officer that is $7.8 billion.
Surely Rotary is capable of using the expertise of the many graduates of its program and its many peace partners to mount a full scale symposium to explore ways for America to change its gun mentality to a peace resolution mentality.
If America is ever able to achieve a sense of gain to the loss of the 20 Newtown children and their 6 teachers a peace dividend inspired by Rotary clubs the world over maybe just be what is needed. .