More bodies, more questions.
All acts of mass murder are crimes against humanity, and require a gross debasing of other people.
On a recent visit to one of my favourite haunts in London, Gloucester Books, I flicked through the secondhand paperbacks and old magazines that were fading in the sun. The leading article in a National Geographic Magazine commemorated the crews of the US Eighth Army Air Force for their forbearance and sacrifice during WW2. Nothing unusual in that, but the honour extended to their bombing raids over German cities. The story focused mainly on the former pilots and had photos of young men running towards their planes, waves and smiles as they climbed in, each touching for luck an illustration painted on the side of some forties’ pin-up girl with red lips.
“Birth is a kind of dying and dying a kind of birth. These transitions are in many ways the same.” – Alana Apfel recalls the words of a therapist in her new book; Birth Work as Care Work.
As my baby son learned to climb a flight of stairs, my mother-in-law found it increasingly difficult to reach the top step without losing her breath. He began to explore solid foods as she lost her appetite; and he became more vocal as she gradually withdrew. They passed one another through a period of rapid transition, in opposite directions, and for a few short months they brought each other a comfort that was heartening for the rest of the family to witness.
Within a year I lost my mother-in-law Sonia Markham to cancer and gave birth to my first child, Isaac; both ground-shaking events that demanded a lot from myself, my partner, a number of family members, friends and professionals. They won’t be my last encounters with life and death, so next time I hope I can draw on the experience to support others or feel some degree of readiness.
A teenage girl died last week after an incident at a group home in Delaware run by a for-profit company, AdvoServ, whose long record of problematic treatment ProPublica chronicled last year.
Attorney Chris Gowen, who has a lawsuit against AdvoServ concerning a different teen, said he has learned workers were manually restraining the girl when she became unresponsive. He and his clients have spoken to current and former workers about the incident.
“While we await further information we do hope that a full investigation into this latest incident occurs,” he said.
AdvoServ did not answer questions about the death. A spokesman declined to say whether the girl was being held down – manually restrained – before staff called 911.
Justice Secretary Defends Killing Suspected Drug Dealers, Users
Five-year-old Danica May became the youngest reported victim of the Philippine government’s abusive “war on drugs” on Tuesday.
The kindergarten student died from a gunshot wound to the head after an unidentified gunman opened fire on her grandfather, Maximo Garcia, as the family sat down to lunch. The attack came just three days after Garcia had registered with local police, who suspected his involvement in the drug trade. Garcia had said he wasn’t. He survived being shot in the abdomen in the attack, which police have attributed to unnamed “drug dealers.”
Vachel Howard was arrested for driving under the influence. Hours later, he was dead. Here‘s what happened inside an LAPD jail.
Early on the afternoon of June 4, 2012, Vachel Howard was handcuffed to a bench inside the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station Jail. He was 56 years old, and had been taken into custody for driving while intoxicated. The grandfather of seven had been strip-searched, and his shirt still hung open. Howard told the officers present that he suffered from schizophrenia. Police suspected he was high on cocaine.
The case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who died in police custody on April 19, 2015 — now ruled a homicide — has raised a number of questions about the treatment of racial minorities within the criminal justice system, as well as about patterns of arrest-related deaths more generally.
The Baltimore Sun‘s 2014 investigation of these issues in that city revealed that “over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations.” Other outlets, such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have pursued similar investigations in their region. Still, it remains unclear how much these stark events and figures are characteristic of larger patterns across American society.
Charles Rae covers a rape and murder in South Huston, Texas. Graphic content.
15 year old Karen Perez was found dead Monday night, May 30th, her body half naked and “stuffed in a cabinet” reports ABC13. Her boyfriend had threatened to kill her earlier that day if she didn’t skip school with him. The perpetrator, whose name is being withheld, is facing murder charges.
As this story has unfolded, prosecutors have told the media that the boyfriend’s phone captured Perez’s final moments alive. ABC13 reported that the audio reveled the boyfriend was raping her, and she can be heard telling him she didn’t want to have sex with him. He began choking her. Her last words recorded in the audio were, “I don’t want to die.” The boy was turned in by his father.
When we hear tragedies like this, as a society, what do we reflect on? When there’s another school shooting society talks about gun control (however dichotomous) and mental health (however misguidedly), about safety in schools and security measures. When there’s another police shooting the racism and cover-ups are debated widely on Twitter and Facebook. Why is violence against women talked about as isolated incidents when 1 in 4 women will be the victims of domestic abuse?
“Urban areas have become death traps for thousands of civilians,” says a new report issued by the United Nations Secretary-General ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit, which opens May 23, 2016, in Istanbul. The report describes the widespread use of explosive weapons in towns and cities as “the largest killer of civilians in conflict.” It follows an unprecedented plea by Ban Ki-moon and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross for countries to “stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.”
Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented the unacceptably high civilian toll from the use of these weapons in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.
Explosive weapons with wide-area effects are especially problematic. These include heavy weapons such as large aircraft bombs and ground-launched artillery shells and mortar projectiles that cause death and damage over a wide area. They also include weapons that deliver multiple munitions or explosive warheads over a large area, such as Grads and other rockets from multiple launch rocket systems, and inherently inaccurate weapons such as “barrel bombs.”