I have noticed that in almost all the media reports on the recent tragedy in Tucson, prayer was mentioned repeatedly as a means of condolence and comfort, even by the president stating, "You are in our thoughts and prayers."
If it is true that prayer has value in bringing healing to tragedy like this, why don't we use prayer to prevent tragedies as well? From the medical field we know it is better to prevent than to treat a disease. Since God calls us to love and accept one another, we can use prayer to prevent the hatred that causes many tragedies. Unfortunately, we often reach out to God only in emergencies.
If we could introduce a religion course in our public schools, it would be a means for children to learn that God teaches us forgiveness and respect toward fellow human beings. It would expose our kids to prayer at a young age and help them understand what it means that "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." Thus we may avoid many of such hate crimes as the one in Tucson.