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Crime & Punishment

Pondering Life ... And Loss

We are welcoming our new CEO Vivian Schiller today, so we must rehearse our spontaneous witty remarks. ... So this will be brief.

I have to give kudos to my staff for pulling together some important bookings for today's show over the weekend. It's not as easy as you might think, especially since last week was New Year's. And although we were here on Friday, Jan. 2, a lot of the people we wanted to reach were out of pocket.

Today, We wanted to follow up on the stories that reached critical mass last week — one here, one abroad.

We wanted to talk to some voices that are easily disappeared during a time of conflict, the peace activists on both sides. Listen to our conversation with advocates of non-violence Abu Sammi and Vivian Silver. Silver is an Israeli. Abu Sami, which is, of course, a family name he uses because there are still concerns about his safety owing to his activism in Gaza, is a Palestinian who has since relocated to Ramallah. As we were speaking to him on the air, he was on his way to a hospital to locate a child who had been sent from Gaza after being told a child was being sent there without any family.

You can hear the strain in both their voices.

And the carnage at home: another in our conversations about why the murder rate among young black males has surged in recent years when that does not seem to be happening in other groups and in other communities. Last week, we reported on the study. Today, we wanted to go deeper so we found two mothers who have both lost sons to gun violence — Sylvia Banks in Detroit, and Karen Graham in Milwaukee. We also spoke with Ron Moten, an ex-offender and co-founder of Peaceaholics, an anti-violence group that works to try to stop urban violence.

We'll have more to say in the days ahead because we can't sit here and act like we don't know this is happening in our own communities.

Among our staff, we talked about whether having a conversation about obituaries was a bit too much, but I hope you'll agree with us that the stories we talked about were not depressing at all.

I bet you all know an unsung hero whose passing deserved notice. How wonderful that these 11 Washingtonians' lives were memorialized by this fine writing. Here they are. Tell us what you think.

Let's hope your new year is getting off to a good start.