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Injustice 101: 3 documentaries available on Netflix that remind us how far we still have to go

Living in Boulder, it's easy to forget how much injustice exists. Fortunately, Netflix is here to remind me how it's alive and well in our modern world. Here are a few documentaries which have left a mark on my mind.

There's been a lot of buzz around the documentary Making a Murderer lately because it shows how the power of a corrupt justice system can make a nightmare out of one's life. How often does this happen? How often does it happen to people of color? Forget horror movies; there's not much scarier than being accused of a crime you didn't commit and not having the ability or the money to defend yourself. This 10-hour presentation lays out all the facts of Steven Avery's fight against not one but two murder accusations and his continued fight from behind bars.

Cartel Land highlights vigilantes fighting the cartels on both sides of the U.S. Mexico border. The only way I can see to fight the cartel besides an all out war is to stop or diminish the demand for the illicit drugs here in the states because it's driving a nearly insurmountable level of violence in Mexico. As long as people keep paying money to the cartels, they will continue to be armed to the teeth. This movie makes me hope that none of the dispensaries opening up in Colorado have cartel connections. I hope that legal marijuana is crippling the cartels, but with the amount of money and influence they have, I wonder how many grow operations they have already in Colorado.

Narco Cultura juxtaposes the glamorization of violence surrounding cartel culture with the brutal warfare taking place in Juarez, Mexico. The documentary follows a crime scene investigator in Juarez who loves his home city, but is faced with heinous and daily loss of life with as little as 3% of the nearly 10,000 yearly cartel-related deaths receiving any real investigation. The violence keeps people in their homes and shuts down small businesses. (This film has a lot of footage of dead and mutilated bodies. So if you're squeamish about that kind of thing, you might want to pass on this one.) While all of this happens on the Mexico side of the border, you have performers singing songs which glorify the violence of the cartels and making tons of money doing it too. The unifying theme is that people are trying to make a living under conditions that are far from ideal under the influence of a cartel that cares not much at all about human life.


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