PHILADELPHIA and our nation are in a civil war. When will the carnage stop?

We must save our communities from the perils of violence, drugs, lack of education, lack of jobs and the opportunity for industrial growth. The future of innocence is dying like the 337 murder victims and our police officers who protect and serve our communities putting their own lives at risk. We meet, hold conferences, make statements, but have yet to get mad as hell and not take it anymore. We need to demand action from ourselves, politicians, judges, educators and the business community to open up avenues of change.

All of us are responsible for the drugs, guns, the uneducated youth, child parents and unparented children who are now the "new homeless." We must hold all of us accountable for the revolving prison doors that produce hopelessness instead of helpfulness for our adjudicated youth, who eventually become the career addicts and criminal sociopaths daring to vent their anger on family members, neighbors and those in blue who protect and serve.

The least of us suffer - those who can't protect themselves, like the elderly, our children and those of us who are at or near the bottom of the economic ladder. We have been losing generations, historic neighborhoods and the loving family life we once knew, yet it seems no one wants to face the answer.

We have technology but not compassion and strength to stand up to our children. We fight against global warming, but not for true quality of life. What has happened to us? Where is our heart?

Like many, I suffered the loss of my eldest sister (shot in her head on the streets of North Philadelphia while talking to a neighbor), my two nephews (shot to death in Southwest Philadelphia because of drugs), a brother in-law killed in South Philadelphia (by my sister's male friend with a shotgun) and my middle daughter's loss of her legs chasing her love for drugs.

We all have lost loved ones - still it's never easy or forgotten. There have been other loss of life in my family, most recently my oldest daughter, who I loved, in February from sarcodosis and Marfan syndrome, and my beloved son from AIDS in 1992. But It is not too late to save future victims.

Harriet Frye-Brown