There is a connection between the disheartening events of Baltimore County students bringing weapons to school and the violence we see overseas ("School safety promised," Sept. 12).

We are the richest, most powerful nation in the world. We are also the most violent nation. The nightly television news is filled with violence from across the country.

Wonder why? Look at how the U.S. resolves its racial problems at home: More arrests, incarceration and capital punishment. Abroad, the county solves its issues with foreign governments with attacks that kill civilians.

The disgraceful war of Iraq led to the death or injury of millions of innocent Iraqis for no legitimate national security reason. The war in Afghanistan likewise has led to thousands of civilian deaths.

Granted, the Taliban hid Osama bin Laden, who attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11. But who trained bin Laden and gave him and his fellow mujahideens the know-how and the means to carry out such attacks? It was none other than the U.S.

Now Americans are being urged to attack Iran the same way we attacked Iraq and Afghanistan — against our own national interests.

We are violent society, and we teach our sons and daughters in schools and at home the culture of violence. No wonder students imitate what they see.

The solution is for parents to teach the values of tolerance, appreciation of others and respect for teachers and elders. The values of forgiveness and mercy.

A policeman with wand or metal detector will never be an adequate or effective security measure. Schools need more counselors, smaller class sizes and a better, more tolerant social studies curriculum. They need teachers who want to excel, not just get paid more. To learn from our past mistakes is the beginning of wisdom.

Bash Pharoan