Live Chat 1 p.m. ET: Can the Cycle of Violence be “Interrupted”?

February 14, 2012

Commentators often refer to the “epidemic” of violence in America’s cities. Epidemiologist Gary Slutkin believes they’re exactly right — the spread of violence, he says, mimics that of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: Go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.

CeaseFire, the organization he founded, is trying to stop the cycle by identifying those most likely to commit acts of violence and “interrupting” them before they happen.

But how, exactly, do you do that? How dangerous is the work? Who would be willing to do it? And after so many decades of urban warfare, is it even possible to change the culture of violence?

Violence interrupters Ameena Matthews and Eddie Bocanegra have been doing the high-stakes work of answering those questions for the past few years — with some encouraging results.

And The Interrupters co-producers Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz have powerfully documented their efforts and CeaseFire’s pioneering work.

The four of them are joining us for a live chat about the film. What are your questions for Ameena Matthews, Eddie Bocanegra, Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James? You can leave them in the chat window below and come by at 1pm to join the live discussion.

We’ll also be joined by guest questioner Jason DeParle, a New York Times reporter and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist who’s been reporting on poverty, welfare and class in America for more than two decades.

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