IT'S TRULY disturbing to see the rising level of violence in our city, especially the recent shootings of police.

Part of the problem is that we have begun to take for granted the sacrifices and service that our police, fire, paramedics, etc., provide. Also, as I travel around the city, there are constant displays of rude, arrogant, obnoxious and profane language and behavior, on public transit and elsewhere.

Much of this coming from underage youths. It's as if civility and common decency are no longer expected.

While it's a long way from acting rude and obnoxious to committing a crime, or shooting at police, I believe that today's youth aren't getting the upbringing and guidance that many of us from previous generations were fortunate enough to receive. So here are some suggestions to help reach the next generation before they become the thugs and criminals of tomorrow:

1. Put prayer and the pledge of allegiance back into all school classrooms. (This helped foster a sense that there was a higher being and purpose involved in our lives.)

2. Bring back the "Scared Straight" programs from the 1970s and '80s, including class trips to prison and the city morgue, where youth can have the chance to listen to those who are currently serving life/death sentences, and see firsthand the real consequences of violence.

3. Finally, if the legistature won't help in the control of illegal handguns in Philadelphia, we must attack the problem from another angle. Since the city can't make its own gun laws, how about banning the ammunition used in those guns for all but the police, security guards and those licensed to carry a weapon, or who have them only in their homes?

Also, pursue the proposed new law that would give anyone who shoots at police 20 years in prison. And make greater use of the city/federal partnership used to prosecute gun cases in federal, instead of state court.

Kevin Hyman, Philadelphia