Good to see you guys on the blog here and thanks for the honest responses so far. Chicago and L.A. obviously have some of the worst violence in our cities, and what gets me is how much like a war zone it is for young children. I think it is very hard to just live a normal life when simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time can do you in. I really feel for the children, and to me, the parts of the film that I learned the most from were where you saw the interrupters using conflict resolution and teaching it. How do you deal with problems without immediately fighting, when that is all you are seeing around you? That has to be taught. That has to be shown in the adults, too.
The story of Lit'l Mikey has power to me. By no means does the film make it seem like a sure thing he's reformed, but it shows some of the re-learning that has to be done, and that he was taking some positive steps. He deserved all he got and more from those people at the barber shop, but in the end, they let their legitimate grudge against him drop at least enough to accept his apology and wish him well. They showed a level of forgiveness that is crucial in stopping violence. Both sides in a conflict at some point may have to forgive something, large or small, if violence is to be avoided. It takes a big person to do that and in my experience sometimes it's much harder to not fight than it is to fight.
Mikey said, "Man, before I just did what I wanted and when I wanted and there wasn't nobody telling me much how to do. I did as I wanted." He was honest in saying he had never learned how to take orders or work, and he needed to adjust to considering other people instead of just always looking out for number one. After prison, he wanted to be a real role model for his brother and two sisters, and I think the difference for a lot of young people is who their role models are. I thought his story was a hopeful part of the film because I do believe people can change, but they have to want to change.