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Blog Post for 11/9- Zachary Andrews

Firstly, I wanted to start out by saying that I found Four Decades and Counting to be a very informative and interesting article that discussed the War on Drugs both within the United States and abroad, as well as incarceration rates regarding drugs within the United States. Something that I found very intersting that the article talked about was the oddly similar situations that America was in during the War on Drugs and the Prohibition Era in the 1920’s. In the 1920s, the United States saw the creation, distribution, and sale of illegal alcohol. On top of that, gangs formed across the country and death rates from alcohol increased. During the War on Drugs, the United States saw very simliar things. There was an increase in drug overdoses which then also fostered the growith of drug cartels. Something that I do not understand is, why did the United States look back to their recent past to decide whether or not their decisions regarding drugs would be a benefit or not? On another note, a fact that I found interesting from the article was that the population of black people within the United States is 16% yet black people represent 62% of all drug offenders who are currently incarserated. After watching the movie Just Mercy, I wonder how many of those people were falsely accused. My last point from the article that I too found interesting was that the War on Drugs was not contained to the United States. The US faught this war both at home, within Mexico (fighting against gangs and cartels), and in Afghanistan. I found this last country to be rather surprising; however, the article later describes that the money made from selling drugs is used to fund groups like the Taliban.


The movie Just Mercy is one of the most powerful and moving stories that I have heard about via film in a long time. Not only was I actively engaged throughout the film but I felt attached to the characters as well. I found it very inspiring that a young man fresh out of law school would pick up his life and move to Alabama to help people in prison get off death row. Adding to why this was impactful for me was because this new graduate was a black man who moved and worked in a town filled with a ton of white supremacists. We know this because the entire case of Walter McMillian was forged just so that the town could lock away another black man. In addition to that, we find out at the end of the movie that Walter McMillian’s friend from prison, Anthony Ray Hinton, was also wrongly convicted of a crime. Luckily, he too was released with the help of EJI. Another way we know that the town is against black people is because the home that Bryan Stevenson was staying at recieved a phone call from a man saying that he planted a bomb somewhere in the home. It is as clear as daylight that this town was against blacks. Overall, I really enjoyed watching the movie Just Mercy and following along with the story of both Walter McMillian and Bryan Stevenson.



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  1. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    I agree with you. This was an extremely inspiring movie and I am so glad we had to watch it for class! Besides Ray also being wrongly convicted of a crime, was how many people are incarcerated when they didn’t do anything. I forget the exact statistic, but at the end of the movie, they said, “for every 9 people executed in the U.S., one person on death row has been proven innocent and released, a shocking rate of error.” And that was my exact thought, shocking. I wonder that if we know this, why isn’t our legal system more careful? Is there a way to make the change we need?

  2. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    I too I found Four Decades and Counting to be a very informative and interesting article. I thought the connections made between the prohibition and the War on Drugs were particularly interesting because the two events yielded very similar results. After reading this, I wonder how we did not learn from the negative effects of the Prohibition, because we basically did the same thing with drugs 50 years later and experienced the same negative outcomes. One would think that we would learn from our past mistakes, clearly however, in this case we did not.

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