Nuclear Weapons

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It has been more than 70 years since the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The number of nuclear weapons in existence worldwide are down from a peak of 68,000. Currently there are an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons in storage, on alert or lost. What is the right thing to do now that the generation that first built and deployed nuclear weapons has passed and left responsibility for these weapons to us? The US is currently planning to modernize our nuclear weapons and delivery systems to the tune of an estimated cost of $700 billion dollars with the stated intent of nuclear deterrence. Perhaps it is a good time to talk about the role of nuclear weapons in our country and the world outside of Washington, D.C. How do we want the next 70 years to unfold and what can we do to achieve that vision?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Nuclear Weapons ?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • Are you concerned about nuclear weapons? If so, why?
  • What would you like to see the U.S. and other countries do with their nuclear weapons?
  • Do you see a path forward that leads us to a safer world? Might we someday live in a nuclear-free society?
  • What are the ethical issues surrounding the use of nuclear weapons?
  • In 70 years, what is the story you hope will be told about how we managed nuclear weapons in the early 21st century?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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