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Analytical Essay: Ideas of Deterrence and Discrimination in Don't Shoot, Just Mercy, The Caging of America

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Kennedy focused on the idea of deterrence in his book Don't Shoot. His intended goal was to stop the killings that was happening in the African American communities. The killings stemmed from guns and drugs. There was not a lot of attention that was given to these communities and people just let it happen. Kennedy decided that it was time for him to do something about the situation and that is exactly what he did. I strongly believe that this is a good strategy and will benefit the community. I feel this strategy that Kennedy had will be effective to this community. The African American community feels a sense of nobody cares or wants to help them. This violence has been growing and by Kennedy trying to make a difference and help it can save lives. By having police officers prevent them from committing crimes in the future. All it takes is one individual to have the courage and determination to help to create a better living situation for these African American communities. These communities when they feel the support and caring of these police officers and others from Kennedy's effective strategy, we start to see a bigger change.

The first situation that I want to bring to your attention is the operation ceasefire also called the Boston Miracle. Kennedy came up with this strategy for police officers to not arrest African Americans but instead have a meeting with them and their moms. The police officers explained how they do not want to arrest them and just put them in jail. It is like giving them all a second chance to change their life around and make something out of it. This is an example of focused deterrence, the police officers are explaining how much legal trouble these crimes could get them in and that there is a better way for them to have a great communities and so they do not end up in a rough situation. It can work better in certain circumstances than others. In order for this to work somebody has to be willing to change their life around and stop them from doing drugs and committed gang violence in their communities. If the person is not willing to change or wants to keep living the same life then in that circumstance this movement will not work in the communities for their own good. It will be more effective for certain crimes, such as, drugs possession, alcohol or having a firearm in their possession. As far as killing someone else I feel that there still is a punishment that has to be given for the crime they are given. This strategy is not meant for letting people get away with the severity of the crimes they commit. This is because taking another person’s life a different crime than just having something in your possession. This strategy makes more sense to be temporary. When this strategy is in place it will make these communities start to realize how much change that can be made just be one person who stepped up, and make a different in a whole communities. When people start changing from the top, people from the bottom see this and will follow and they will make a difference for the next generations coming up. A precondition for success in this strategy is to have a relationship between this community and the police. For the police and the justice system to help this community in many ways as they can, and to build a great relationship that will benefit one another. Other policies that can flow from an effective deterrence is better housing and education. Fixing the houses for the entire African American community can help. By making the housing affordable for everyone so they can have a secure place to live. Giving an affordable and good education to this community can keep them away from the street, and can stop them from selling drugs aslo, cease firearm between them.

The second situation I want to bring up to your attention is that Kennedy, spent many days walking around these project housing to talk to those gangs members, he talk about how they will be feared of him, because they thought he was a fed, but he discussed with them how he did not like the situation that they way leaving and how he was willing to make a difference for these young man in that communities. He want them to feel comfortable , and to not be afraid of the white man, cause he was there to help them, he was not there to make them feel unsafe.This should be a long term strategy because, the African American community should not have to feel afraid anytime they see a white man. They should not have to live their life thinking that every white man is there to arrest them. A precondition for success in this strategy is to have a relationship not only with the police officers but other white men that they might encounter. Policies that can flow from this controlled areas where people from different races can interact and be able to play games and talk freely.

The third strategy that Kennedy references too is that the amount of black men being incarcerated keeps growing. He gives statistics about every one out of three African American men will serve a felony sentence. He mentions that this is a choice made by the justice system. All these African Americans do not have to go to jail there can be other solutions to the problem. The justice system chooses to incarcerate this many African Americans and chose to give them harsh and long sentences. This should definitely be a long term strategy. This is because African Americans should not have to live and know that one of every three have to face the chance of them being sentenced to jail. A precondition for the success of this strategy is for there to be a relationship between the justice system and the African American communities.

The Fourth strategy that Kennedy had was when he named the title of this book, Don’t Shoot. He had an intended purpose for giving this book that title. This book is meant to educate people on the topic of gang violence and what it is doing to the African American community. The title gives a deeper meaning being that instead of shooting African Americans for crimes they have committed they deserve to be treated like everyone else. African Americans need to stop shooting each other and change what they are doing. Shooting and killing each other is not going to solve any problems or make their lives better, it is only going to affect them and makes their lives more miserable. Kennedy mentioned by shooting and killing each other, it will not bring a solutions to this issue, he suggest that there are other ways to solve these problems that are happening in these communities that are divide everyone, when the essential thing to do is come together as a family to fix the issues. This should be a long term solution because there needs to be a stop to the killings that are taken part in this community. This community keeps losing people to guns and drugs. A precondition to success this strategy is having a relationship with each other as well as rehab and special doctors in order to help people who are struggling from addictions. A policy that can come from this strategy to further strength it is by giving a proper education to this community about guns and drugs and how it can cause them losing their live or their loves one. Some of the people in this community are not given the proper education on how guns can be dangerous and how people can quickly become addicted to drugs. Not everyone knows the harmful effects drugs can have on a person and how they can become long term. Those issues they will have to them with it for the rest of their life if they are not willing to get help, and that’s what kennedy saw in this community he wanted to say no to it, and make this neighborhood a better place to live.

Borukhova had hired her cousin to kill her estranged husband which happened to be in front of her four-year-old daughter. Later Borukhova and her cousin were charged with first degree murder and second degree conspiracy, Borukhova was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The motivation behind this killing of her estranged husband was because he had won custody of their daughter and she was not happy about it. This story show how the wife did not have any mercy for the exchanged husband right in front of their fourth year old daughter to take his life away and now the daughter will be grown up with no father, meanwhile she will only be able to visit her mother in prison, basically she will be grown up without both of her parents. This story make think about how this little girl will be grown up, and what she must be going through knowing that she will never be able to see her father for the rest of her live. This case shows a relationship between law and society because in society you are not supposed to murder someone, while it is also against the law. Laws are in place for people like Borukhova who broke the societal norms. This case illustrates the positive effects that law and society can contribute. With a case like this our justice system is shown to work and be able to take criminals off the streets.

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The case of Amanda Knox tells about a different side of law and society. Amanda was an exchange student studying in Italy. She was accused and convicted of murdering another exchange student by the name of Meredith Kercher as was her boyfriend. They both were later let free after serving four year in jail. It came to the court's attention that there were holes in the investigation. There was proven to not be enough evidence to charge them for the crime such as no evidence to determine that they were there during the murder. Amanda and her boyfriend were at his house during the murder of Meredith Kercher. From this story breaking the media the courts felt that pressured them to close the case and charge Amanda and her boyfriend with the British girl's murder. It was proved that the real killer had admitted to what he had done and his evidence was all over the crime scene even on the victim. The killer is now serving a sentence of sixteen years. On the discussion of law and society Amanda experienced the negative effects and the flaws that are in our justice system. She was put behind bars for fours years before the court admitted that she was free of committing the crime. Amanda was questioned without a lawyer present and was being told that she committed the crime when she knew she did not. The main prosecutor in this case who is supposed to be going by the laws was picking at Amanda's life and was able to expose everything about her personal life to the court when it was shown to be a theory and had no weight for the case. She now is back in the United States and has do deal with people looking at her in society and think of this wrongly convicted situation. In society Amanda will not have a normal life because this case will always follow her wherever she goes.

In reference to both cases, Borukhova and Amanda Knox they show different sides of law and society. Society needs to have laws in order to have control over its people and keep bad people off the street. These laws are set as a guide for people to follow. There can not be a society without laws and vice versa. As for the case of Borukhova and the case of Amanda Knox they both deal with the crime involving murder. Borukhova has received the punishment that corresponds to her crime. On the other hand, Amanda received a punishment for a crime that she did not commit. The justice system tries to do the right thing and bring justice to families and put criminals behind bars. It is so common in this world for the flaws from the justice system to have innocent people from society get in trouble with the law.

Mass incarceration is a big problem that occurs in our world today. Our prisons are becoming overpopulated and it runs out of help and resources that people in jail need. The African American community is subjected to easily being incarcerated which is why they are a big section of the population in prison. Watching the 13th documentary it talks a lot about how African Americans are a heavily populated race in jails and it comes from the inequality that is happening in our country. They relate mass incarceration as the new type of slavery we have in this country. The story behind the movie being called 13th is because it references the Thirteenth Amendment. This amendment talks about abolishing slavery and giving everyone freedom except for criminals because they are incarcerated. This is a way for the country to use mass incarceration to take the freedom of African Americans by putting them in jail. African Americans are going to jail and serving long sentences for drug possessions or for robbery. When it comes to other races they are not given the same punishment even when they have murdered someone. Proving that there is not a fairness when it comes to trials for different races and the inequality our justice system shows. This documentary relates to the book Don’t Shoot by David Kennedy. In the book as I illustrated above talks about how African Americans are being put in jail all the time and there has to be something put into place to reduce it. These two relate because they try to educate everyone on the mass incarceration problem with African Americans. It is time people stop ignoring the problem or staying blind to everything that is happening in our justice system. There is something we can do and we need to start now.

The book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson gives insight on how people can be falsely convicted or a crime or given a punishment that is unfair. Stevenson worked closely with people who were in jail for crimes they did not commit. The one case that he spends most of the book talking about is an African American man by the name of Walter Mcmillian. Walter was arrested and charged with murdering a white women by the name of Ronda Morrison. It was known that the people in the justice system were openly racist and Walter was not going to get a fair trial. There was false evidence that was presented in the court as well testimonies from people that the court paid. It was later discovered that Walter Mcmillian did not commit the crime and was let free. The main idea of this book and to leave with readers is that just by the color of this man's skin and other men like Walter he was put into jail for a crime he did not commit. By being African American the justice system is more likely to try their hardest to get you convicted. It is a sad thing to say that our justice system has openly racist people who do this to many more people than we think or want to acknowledge. Another theme that I took this from this book is that everyone deserves to be heard and have a fair trial. Nobody deserves to be locked up for however many years if they are innocent. To some people like this justice system think everything is okay because Walter Mcmillian was later free and his record was clean. That is not the case at all for Walter Mcmillian and others similar to him. His life will forever be changed and the relationship between his wife and kids will also be changed. This theme has come up in our class this semester. As I have talked about above the case of Amanda Knox and her boyfriend who were wrongly accused and sent to jail. In both of these cases it was told that because of the media exposure these cases had the court felt they had to come up with a verdict pretty quickly. Neither one of these individuals were given the right and fair trial that they deserved.

The next reading I want to bring into discussion is called, The Caging of America by Adam Gopnik. In his article he talks about the problem with mass incarceration and how we keep arresting people and putting them in jail especially African Americans. He mentions about how being in prison the prisoners only thought about and felt that they were up against time. It was the same routine and same cell every day there was nothing that was different. By being in their just one day can make them feel like they have been in there for decades. Especially in Texas, people are receiving longer sentence than others that have commited the same crime as them. This is true and relates to our world today because people are constantly given harsher sentences based on their race when someone committed the same crime gets a lesser sentence. It is not any news that half of the poor black man population without a high school or college education will eventually end up in jail on felony charges. It becomes a cycle for poor African Americans being in and out or jail. A major theme you see with mass incarceration is being a new form of slavery for the country. Prison is a way to control the African American population as the justice system might say. There are more African Americans in prison now than there were slaves back then in the 1850s. By mass incarcerating African Americans it keeps Jim Crow’s ideas alive. It makes it even harder for this community to move forward from slavery because the justice system is still keeping it alive. More people are under some form of correctional supervision than people under Stalin's ruling. There needs to be a solution and something done to help and fix this problem that keeps getting worse. The article mentioned that by doing small acts and changes it can make a bigger difference. One of the examples it gives is ending the sentences that are given to people who are convicted of misdemeanors such as, possession of marijuana, having drugs on them. It then states that there is an underlying problems with the judges that are at the head. They are involved in politics which gives them a bias outlook when it comes to a person on trial. There needs to be a separation between politics and the justice system.

In the reading The History of Juvenile Justice it talks about the purpose of charging juveniles different than adults. The Juvenile Justice System is anyone under the age of eighteen has a hearing in this court, but that is not always the case. There are people that are under eighteen that are trial and adult court. These cases in the Juvenile Justice System are treated as if they are civil cases because they are not meant for punishing the kid. This sole intent is to reform these kids into adults that follow the law. If the court believes that the person on trial needs to go to a rehabilitation center to better themselves they can send them to a juvenile reform institution. There was a case given in the article that talks about a boy named Gerald who was treated unfairly by the justice system and showed a big flaw. This boy had made an indecent phone call and was sentenced to a training school until he turned twenty one. On the other hand if someone who is twenty one committed the same crime they would have to pay fifty dollars and serve two month maximum. This proves that he was not given a fair trial and not everything even in the juvenile justice system is free from error. It is stated in this article that if they court believes a juvenile needs intervention then they do not have any chance of winning their case. This is an important theme because the court has the ultimate decision whether a juvenile is going to be taken away from his family and put in a training school.

The last article I read was called, Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex by Angela Davis. This article mentions that imprisonment is the solution to the social problems we have in this world such as poverty. If a African American is either; homeless, unemployed, drug addict, mental health, and illiteracy they are grouped under the title of crime. They have almost a target on their back and it starts from when they are little. Certain races have a stereotype to them that people see them are potential criminals. This article makes a very good point when it says that prison do not solve any of the problems it just make people go away so it looks like the problem is solved. This is a very good theme because the justice system believes if they put people in jail if it fix the problem this country is facing and that never it the truth, the problem is just becoming more hidden than it was before. Imprisonment is not the answer to all the social problems that this country is facing.

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Analytical Essay: Ideas of Deterrence and Discrimination in Don’t Shoot, Just Mercy, The Caging of America. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“Analytical Essay: Ideas of Deterrence and Discrimination in Don’t Shoot, Just Mercy, The Caging of America.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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