Showing posts with label Killings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killings. Show all posts

June 22, 2020

Reading Weeps (Gay Men Killed)

Forbury Gardens before the attackImage copyright

Image captionGroups had been relaxing in Forbury Gardens in the centre of Reading when the attack happened

Reading's Forbury Gardens were dotted with groups of friends relaxing in the early evening sunshine when the peace was shattered by a commotion and frantic shouts of "run". Three people had been stabbed to death in an attack that has left the town reeling.
"Everyone was just having fun and then suddenly a man shouted," said Lawrence Wort, who had been sitting nearby.
The 20-year-old said he could not make out the words or in what language they were spoken.
What he could see was a man with a "massive knife".
"He stabbed the first person - they were sat in a circle in a big group of about eight to ten people - and he darted round anti-clockwise, got one, went to another, stabbed the next one, went to another and stabbed them."

Floral tributes
Image captionFloral tributes have been laid at the scene

Khairi Saadallah, 25, was arrested at the scene by unarmed officers who have been praised for their "incredible bravery".
He remains in police custody on suspicion of murder.
As well as those killed in the attack, three more people were injured. 
Greg Wilton, who tried to help the victims, said he had been left "very shocked and shaken".
He was having a picnic with his wife and three friends, after listening to speeches at a Black Lives Matter protest held in the park earlier in the day.
"We stayed in the park as the weather was nice and had some drinks," he said.
"At one point without much noise we noticed a commotion on the other side of the park. 
"We ran over and without seeing an attacker we found three men lying on the floor bleeding profusely from what we thought was their heads, necks or body. 
"Another member of the public took off his t shirt and tried to stop the bleeding alongside someone we assume to be his girlfriend. 
"Me and my friend, Tom, put a second victim in the recovery position and tried to stem his bleeding from his ear with my canvas shopping bag."
He said Reading as normally a "relatively peaceful" town. 
On Sunday, an atmosphere of shock and mourning was palpable in the town centre - where bloodied roads were cordoned off by police.
Large areas outside the gardens are taped up, and the streets are largely deserted but for police officers, journalists and TV crews.
Locals who had ventured into the town said they were frightened.
"I was scared to be here but I have to be here for work," said Marie Castro, from Slough, who works at a coffee shop in the town. 
The attack "doesn't seem right for Reading", she said.
"It's multicultural and really friendly. I was really shocked when I heard the news".
Alice Penney, who moved to Reading from Kent a year ago, said she left the town and went to a friend's house after hearing about the stabbings.
"I was absolutely mortified. I had been at the protest a few hours earlier when I heard the news. It was something I couldn't process.
"I feel like we cheated death. It's a safe place, normally. It's very confusing." 

Police officer at the scene
Image captionCordons and police tape are now a common sight on the deserted streets
James Hill
Image captionJames Hill is among those who have laid flowers at the scene to remember the victims
Joe Ritchie-BennettImage copyright
Image captionJoe Ritchie-Bennett has been named as the second victim of the stabbings

An American man is the second victim of the Reading stabbings to be named.
Joe Ritchie-Bennett had lived in the UK for 15 years, his father confirmed to US TV network CBS. His friend James Furlong and one other person also died.
Meanwhile, police continue to question the suspect in Saturday's attack, Khairi Saadallah, who has been arrested under the Terrorism Act. 
Sources told the BBC he was originally from Libya and came to the attention of MI5 in 2019. 
A two-minute silence was held at 10:00 BST for the three victims. 
As helicopters patrol the town from above, on the ground floral tributes have been laid.
James Hill, from Reading, said: "I've come here today because I've lived in Reading all my life. 
"This park is very close to my heart - I know it very well - and I feel obliged when something as bad as this happens, that I play my part and make a tribute."
One card left near the scene reads: "There are no words that anyone can say to express how horrible and senseless this was."
Another simply states: "Reading weeps."

June 9, 2020

Mark Twin's Proposal for Ending Lynching. Is it for Today? Yes We Still have Lynchings!

Gettyimages 50690175

By Sean Braswell

After attending church on Aug. 19, 1901, 23-year-old Caseila Wild set off alone on the long walk back to her country home. Later that day, Wild’s twin brother found her body in a culvert by the road, her throat slit. The gruesome murder of the young white woman in Pierce City, Missouri, shocked the community, and ignited a far more deadly tragedy.

What followed after the discovery of Wild’s body was a 15-hour rampage in which Pierce City’s white citizens, using more than 50 rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition stolen from a nearby state militia arsenal, engaged in a brutal purge of the town’s 300 Black residents, driving them from their homes in pursuit of Wild’s killer, reportedly — backed up by no proof whatsoever — a Black male. Three Black suspects were lynched or killed on the spot — one was hanged from the porch of a local hotel, another burned to death in his own home.

The rampage appalled many in America, and it also stuck in the craw of perhaps the one man in Missouri with the influence and intellectual wherewithal to do something about it: Mark Twain, the state’s favorite son, and arguably the most beloved writer in America at the time. In response to the events in Pierce City, Twain penned a devastating indictment of his fellow citizens — including a modest proposal for how to end lynching in the South once and for all — one so devastating that it would not be published until 13 years after the literary giant’s death. 

Twain begins his essay “The United States of Lyncherdom” in the vein of a 19th-century Malcolm Gladwell: He wants to get to the bottom of how decent, law-abiding Christians in his home state could become vigilantes and willing appendages of a lynch mob. It makes no rational sense, he writes — “even the average child should know better” — to think of lynching as an effective deterrent. Rather, such retributive actions only increase the chances of future acts of violence. Or as Twain neatly sums up: “In a word, the lynchers are themselves the worst enemies of their women.” And yet, he notes, lynching was becoming more, not less, prevalent, citing data that 115 Blacks were lynched in 1899, and 88 through the first half of 1900. Twain worries that “in time these will breed a mania, a fashion; a fashion which will spread wide and wider, year by year, covering state after state, as with an advancing disease.”

"That makes someone in a crowd “pretend to enjoy a lynching” or ignore an obvious atrocity? According to Twain, the primary culprit is fear of one’s “neighbor’s disapproval — a thing which, to the general run of the race, is more dreaded than wounds and death.” Or, what the sociologists that Gladwell likes to cite might call a “herd mentality” or “diffusion of responsibility.”

Twain turns next to possible solutions. If people must imitate someone else, he argues, let them copy someone else’s moral courage. He proposes stationing brave individuals of conscience in each affected community for the herd to follow toward justice and righteousness. But the sardonic writer quickly torpedoes his own scheme, lamenting that, upon further reflection, “there are not enough morally brave men in stock” in the American South. Or at least not enough that are readily available.

The real solution, then? Import a few brave men. To help solve the immoral contagion of lynching, Twain ends by offering his own modest proposal: “Let us import American missionaries from China, and send them into the lynching field.” He observes that U.S. missionaries trying to convert the Chinese to Christianity are already dealing with a colossal uphill battle in a country that boasts a “birth rate of 33,000 pagans per day.” The missionaries’ zeal, including their moral courage, would be much more effectively put to use in civilizing their own people in the God-fearing South. “O kind missionary, O compassionate missionary, leave China!” Twain pleads. “Come home and convert these Christians!”

When it came to publishing the essay, however, Twain felt his own reformist zeal cool in the face of potential backlash. He told his publisher that “I shouldn’t have even half a friend left down there [in the South], after it issued from the press.” Twain added the essay to a pile of similarly controversial works he decided were not publishable, says Stephen Railton, an English professor at the University of Virginia, most of which have been published in the century since he died. Twain, though comfortable with indicting violence and prejudice across the globe and in his fictional works, sometimes flinched when it came to directly confronting his American audience with their own sins. “It is indeed ironic that one of the themes Mark Twain consistently came back to in the last decade or so of his life was moral cowardice — being afraid to take a stand against public opinion,” says Railton, “and that he put aside as non-publishable so many of the works in which he developed this theme.”

In short, even an outspoken iconoclast such as Twain could not always manage to ignore his “neighbor’s disapproval” in order to become a “morally brave man.” Or, as Twain himself sums it up best: “We are made like that, and we cannot help 

October 23, 2019

A Strange and Bitter Crop Against Innocent People but For The Color of Their Skin

A strange and bitter crop.
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, funded largely by the federal government, seeks to develop devices that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit.
K. L. Ricks for NPR

Eighty-five years ago, a crowd of several thousand white people gathered in Jackson County, Fla., to participate in the lynching of a man named Claude Neal. The poet L. Lamar Wilson grew up there but didn't learn about Neal until he was working on a research paper in high school. When he heard the story, Wilson knew he had to do something. (Listening time, 26:23)

October 4, 2019

In A Corner of Pakistan Children are Being Rape, Killed and Are Disappearing

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Time

By Salman Masood

CHUNIAN, Pakistan — When the 8-year-old Muhammad Faizan went missing on Sept. 16, he was the fourth child to mysteriously disappear in the eastern Pakistani city of Chunian since June. Three other boys had been missing for several weeks.

Muhammad’s father, Qari Muhammad Ramzan, 39, braced for a long search. But devastating news came a day later.

Faizan’s body was found in a deserted area about two miles from his house in a poor neighborhood of Chunian in the Kasur district of Punjab Province. The autopsy revealed Faizan had been raped before being killed.

The police also found two skulls, bones and pieces of clothing near the body. Ghazala Bibi, the mother of a 9-year-old boy who had also gone missing, Ali Husnain, recognized her son’s shirt. The fathers of two other boys, ages 8 and 12, also learned their sons were victims.
The crimes have incited horror and outrage across Pakistan. Angry protests erupted in Chunian after the grisly discovery. People surrounded the local police station, blaming police neglect.

On Thursday, the police chief of Kasur, Sohail Habib Tajik, said in an interview that a 27-year-old man, Sohail Shahzad, had been arrested this week in connection with the four killings after an extensive manhunt.

ImageGhazala Bibi, center, with her three remaining children. Her 9-year-old son, Ali Husnain is believed to have been killed by the same person who killed Muhammad Faizan.
(Lead picture above)

Ghazala Bibi, center, with her three remaining children. Her 9-year-old son, Ali Husnain is believed to have been killed by the same person who killed Muhammad Faizan.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

“Sohail Shahzad has confessed of the killings,” Mr. Tajik said, adding that the suspect used to drive a rickshaw in Chunian and had lured the children by offering them money to collect firewood.

But the arrest and reported confession do not answer the question on parents’ minds: Why does this keep happening in Kasur? 

After years of disturbing attacks in the district, Kasur has become a byword for the rape and killings of children. Cases keep surfacing. And parents say they are afraid to let their children go outside.

“We tie our remaining three children with a rope in the night, just to make sure that they don’t slip away from us,” said Ms. Bibi’s husband, Muhammad Afzal.

The distraught parents of Kasur are bitter and angry at the police. The officials, they said, treated them with callous indifference, mostly urging them to search for the missing on their own.

Prime Minister Imran Khan even intervened, announcing on Twitter that the entire lineup of police officials in Kasur had been removed and an investigation ordered. “There will be accountability for all,” Mr. Khan said.

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

Police investigators in Chunian last week.

Police investigators in Chunian last week.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
The streets of Chunian were deserted recently, even during the daytime. Many children are now accompanied by an adult to and from school for safety.

For the parents, the stress was one more worry piled on already difficult lives.

“Should we worry about earning our livelihood or worry about children’s whereabouts?” said Mr. Ramzan, a cleric in the local mosque. “It is not easy to earn a living these days.” 

Inam Ghani, the additional inspector general of the Punjab police, said that Kasur is a peculiar case “because there have been serial pedophile murders.”

In January 2018, Zainab Amin, 7, was raped and killed in Kasur. Her body was found in a trash site. Before her, 12 other child rape cases had been reported within roughly a mile radius. In 2015, a gang of men was arrested after reports emerged that they had sexually abused at least 200 children in a rural area of the district. The men made videos of the abuse to either sell underground or use to extort money from victims’ families.

Zainab’s murder had also incited days of angry riots in Kasur, and the government and leading political parties, including Mr. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, vowed never to let such attacks occur again. After 12 days, the police arrested a 24-year-old neighbor named Imran Ali. An anti-terrorism court sentenced him to death on February 2018. He was hanged later that year.

It was widely expected that the case of Zainab, which had become a symbol of child sexual abuse, would result in broad police overhauls and awareness of such crimes.

But more than a year later, there is no letup in reports of child abuse in this district and in the country.

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the government-run Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, adding that there was a need for tougher legislation against child abuse. 

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau.

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
She said the abuse was not limited to a specific place and that she is planning an awareness campaign in Kasur and other districts in the province. “Child abuse cannot be stopped in days or months,” Ms. Ahmad said. “It will take years.” 

Many theories have offered for why Kasur has a bigger problem than other places — people have blamed pornography, organized criminal gangs who sell videos of the crimes on the internet, social divisions and prostitution linked to growing cities. But police officials dismiss claims of gangs selling violent videos online.

Kasur is known for its tanneries and small industry. Chunian, which is about 40 miles from Kasur city, also has a small industrial area.

Mr. Tajik, the police chief, said that rape cases are reported all over the country, but that Kasur had been spotlighted because of the evidence of serial killings. He also cited rapid urbanization in many cities and towns for a breakdown in the social order.

“The social system is broken down in most towns, especially in Kasur district,” he said. “There is no monitoring system. In Kasur district, people with large families are living in very small houses. The rents are very low and people move in and out quickly, without strict identification and vetting.”

Ghost Abad is a poor neighborhood where power cables dangling overhead in narrow alleys, with just enough space for a motorbike or rickshaw to pass. The stench of sewage wafts through the air. Most of the residents are employed as laborers or low-paid workers in nearby markets.

Ms. Bibi and her husband have been particularly devastated by their son’s killing. “Our shoes were worn out, and we almost went mad trying to find Ali Husnain,” Mr. Afzal said, teary-eyed. 

His wife seemed frail and almost dazed. The family is now in debt. Their paltry savings were spent on printing posters of their son and several visits to Lahore, the provincial capital, where children from low-income families often run away to.

A picture of another boy whose remains were believed to have been found, Salman Akram, 8, held by his father, Muhammad Akram. New York Times


A picture of another boy whose remains were believed to have been found, Salman Akram, 8, held by his father, Muhammad Akram.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
The police have been under enormous pressure to find those responsible for the recent disappearances. On Tuesday, Mr. Khan, the prime minister, announced a new mobile app that parents can use to report a missing child, which immediately alerts high-ranking police officers.

But the police, who now have a suspect in custody and have increased the number of officers in the district, cannot allay the trauma and apprehension of the distraught parents.

Ms. Bibi said she feared the killer could come again, jump over the wall of their house, and snatch away her remaining children, two daughters, and a son.

“Ali Husnain was my eldest son. He was very close to me,” she said with a deep sigh. “Now, we are left with sorrow for the rest of our lives.”

April 23, 2019

Carnage in Sri Lanka~~ How Many Murders Does It Take To Make A Political Point?

The historic St. Anthony's church at Kochikade in Colombo is a popular destination for Sri Lankans and tourists. More than 50 people died here in the morning of Sunday, April 21, 2019. Image by AntanO via Wikimedia Commons CC: BY-SA 4.0.
Sri Lanka was rocked by series of eight blasts on Easter Sunday morning (21 April 2019) in locations including churches and hotels across the country, leaving at least 207 people dead and more than 450 injured.
The six explosions in the coordinated bombings targeted churches packed with worshippers who were attending Easter Sunday services. These include St. Anthony's church at Kochchikade in Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in the Tamil-dominated city of Batticaloa. At least 67 people died at St Sebastian's church alone.

The bombings also targetted luxury hotels in the capital city, Colombo — the Cinnamon Grand, the Kingsbury, and the Shangri-La, where at least 35 foreigners were killed.

35 foreigners among the victims of the bomb blasts in Sri Lanka.
Among the victims are nationals of; , , , , , , and - National Hospital Spokesperson.

The seventh blast was at a small hotel in the suburb of Dehiwala in capital Colombo.

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