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American Carnage: Woman killed family, herself in triple murder-suicide

(KEEGO HARBOR, Mich.) — Autopsies show a suburban Detroit woman fatally shot her husband, son and daughter before killing herself. ...


giovedì 28 dicembre 2017


President Trump took office in January, vowing in a dark-toned inaugural to end what he described as "this American carnage" fueled by gangs, drugs and street violence

'American carnage': Donald Trump's vision casts shadow over day of pageantry Ed Pilkington in Washington 21 Jan ‘17 

America did see historic carnage in 2017, but critics say it had far less to do with gangs and drugs than with disturbed individuals with easy access to firearms.
October saw the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in modern U.S. history. A gunman holed up in a suite at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas and rained gunfire on a country music concert across from the hotel. The attack left 58 people dead and more than 500 others injured.

American Carnage: 58 dead and hundreds injured in mass murder-suicide 2 OTTOBRE 2017

It's still a mystery to investigators what sparked the gunman's carefully planned assault. Many of those who survived the gunfire are struggling with the aftermath. "What bothers me more than the motive, or lack of motive, is lack of information," survivor Melissa Barham recently told Weekend Edition. "Whenever we get a little tidbit of something, we just jump on, because we just have a desire to know."

A Prescription for Mass Murder 2 October 5, 2017

The Las Vegas attack was soon followed by another horrific killing, this time in rural Texas in November; 26 people were killed in a massacre at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in the middle of Sunday worship.

American Carnage: 26 people killed in Texas church mass shooting 6 NOVEMBRE 2017

There were also hundreds of less-high-profile mass killings this year across the nation — everywhere from Lawrence, Kan., to a rampage in a small, rural community in northern California, where fast-acting local school staff helped avert a larger death toll.

American Carnage: Tennessee Church Mass Shooting 28 SETTEMBRE 2017

In fact, there were more than 330 mass shootings in all, according to the nonprofit online database Gun Violence Archive. The archive's rather expansive definition of "mass shooting" includes shootings in which four or more people were shot in one location, not necessarily killed. Under that broad definition the real number is likely higher, as some shootings go unreported.

21-year-old shot 2 students dead before killing himself 12 DICEMBRE 2017

American Rampage: Gunman Kills 1, Wounds 6, Turns Weapon on Self 30 GIUGNO 2017

American Rampage: Fired worker kills five and himself 5 GIUGNO 2017

American Carnage: Man shot his 6-year-old son before killing himself 28 SETTEMBRE 2017

American Carnage: Father Strangled 2 Sons Before Setting House on Fire and Killing Himself 23 SETTEMBRE 2017

American Carnage: Mom hangs her 5-year-old son then herself in murder-suicide 8 SETTEMBRE 2017

American Carnage: Mom, twin daughters dead in murder-suicide 30 AGOSTO 2017

American Carnage: Man shot his wife and 2 young children before turning the gun on himself 25 AGOSTO 2017

The frequency and scale of the killings in 2017 was astonishing even to a nation that at times seems dangerously inured to mass horror and where some Washington politicians offer reflexive tweets or press releases mentioning "thoughts and prayers" for the victims and praise for first responders.

'The Uber Killer' details Kalamazoo mass shooting August 24, 2016

Kalamazoo rampage: 27th mass shooting in 2016 February 24, 2016

Rate of Mass Shootings Has Tripled Since 2011 October 26, 2014

US Mass Shootings Have Killed More People in 2016 Than Any American Serial Killer Ever March 26, 2016

One in three days in January had a mass shooting February 17, 2016

Mass Shooting In Kansas: 4 Dead, 14 Wounded February 27, 2016

204 Mass Shootings in 204 days July 25, 2015


Houston's deadliest mass killing August 10, 2015

More than one mass shooting per day August 28, 2015

"Words and thoughts and prayers simply are not enough. We need action," says Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Unless and until we get serious about this, we will have more tragedies like these."
To the Brady Campaign, getting serious includes passing legislation to expand background checks to fix what Brown calls "gaping holes in the system." For example, these background checks currently don't cover private sales at gun shows or those done over the Internet. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support that idea.
Another key Senate bill backed by gun control advocates would boost funding, support and enforcement for federal and state agencies to put the right data into the background check system — essentially, to make sure the names of those who shouldn't get guns are, in fact, in the system.
Bills to do those two things, however, went nowhere this year in the Republican-controlled Congress.
"We are very disappointed that the kinds of policies and procedures and enforcements that we know are essential to really reduce this number [of gun deaths] and can be done are not embraced," Brown says.
The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence advocates measures that would prohibit people with "a history of violent misdemeanors, hate crimes and all domestic violence from getting access to guns; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and enact extreme risk protection orders, which allow family members and/or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from those in crisis."
Gun rights advocates argue that new legislation historically has not and will not deter criminals or prevent mass shootings. They point to the constitutionally protected right to bear arms and argue that new gun laws open the door to wider, unconstitutional control. The NRA declined an interview request for this story.

American Carnage: Guns kill 1,300 US children every year 20 GIUGNO 2017

Gun Cult  October 3, 2015

OUT OF GUN CONTROL November 5, 2015

Bump stocks
The one area where there appeared to be consensus this year was on efforts to curb so-called "bump stocks."
The Las Vegas mass shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 23 firearms and a huge amount of ammunition in his hotel suite. He'd converted many of the weapons from semiautomatic to near full automatic by attaching bump stocks. The previously little-known devices — which are legal — allow semiautomatic weapons to fire like automatic ones by replacing the stock with a sliding stock accessory that uses the gun's own recoil to increase its firing rate similar to an automatic rifle.
The NRA briefly signaled support to discuss reining in bump stocks. "The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations," the gun lobby said in a statement shortly after it was confirmed that the Vegas killer used the accessories to fire more rounds into the concert crowd on the Vegas Strip.
And, for a Washington minute, it appeared that a bipartisan effort to regulate or even ban the devices was gaining momentum.
"I own a lot of guns, and as a hunter and sportsman, I think that's our right as Americans, but I don't understand the use of this bump stock," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said shortly after the massacre, adding that it "seems like it's an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it's something Congress needs to act on."
But, once again, nothing happened. Even the NRA revised its statement. As we've reported, the bump stock effort has gone nowhere in Congress.
"It's the NRA once again pretending that they won't oppose something. And when push comes to shove, they find workarounds to make sure the issue isn't actually able to be dealt with," Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told us.

Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers August 11, 2016

It's part of a longer pattern. Underscoring the force of the gun lobby, congressional Republicans have led efforts in recent years to block gun control legislation after mass shootings — often citing the Second Amendment. After the massacre at Virginia Tech, the GOP helped stop efforts to limit the size of gun magazines. Following the killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., five years ago, Republicans helped stop proposals to expand background checks of gun buyers. And in the wake of last year's massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., they halted legislation that would have stopped gun sales to people on terrorism watch lists.

American Carnage: The Columbine High School Massacre 21 APRILE 2017

American Carnage: The Virginia Tech massacre 17 APRILE 2017

Horror Memories: Orlando Nightclub Massacre 13 DICEMBRE 2016

San Bernardino Massacre One Year Later 3 DICEMBRE 2016

Spurred, in part, by this legislative obstructionism, some gun control advocates are taking matters into their own hands and running for elected office.
And some cities are taking their own action on bump stocks instead of waiting for Washington to act.
Mental health, guns or both?
The Texas mass shooting refocused attention on long-standing flaws in the Pentagon's reporting system to civilian law enforcement. Oversight groups say the armed forces routinely fail to submit the required crime data to the FBI for inclusion in national databases.
A recent New York Times editorial blasted the Defense Department's pervasive reporting flaws that helped enable the murder of 26 Americans "by a wife-beating child abuser who should never have had a gun."
The killer, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a history of child abuse and domestic violence. The Air Force court-martialed Kelley in 2012 on charges of assaulting his then-wife and fracturing his stepson's skull. A plea deal earned a year's confinement at a naval facility.
Under federal law, his conviction disqualified him from legally possessing a firearm. But the Air Force conceded that it failed to add the shooter's name to the federal database for background checks. Neither his arrest nor the conviction was entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS, which would have flagged him as ineligible to purchase firearms. Here's how NICS works.
After the Texas attack, President Trump downplayed the role of guns and access to weapons. "This isn't a guns situation," Trump said. "This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It's a very, very sad event."
Brown, with the Brady Campaign, says it was clearly a gun issue. "We know that he should never have had that gun," she says. "The issue is easy access to guns by individuals who are at-risk and individuals who have criminal histories that preclude them from having guns."
In 2015, background check errors allowed Dylann Roof to purchase a handgun when he should have been barred. He killed nine worshippers in a Charleston, S.C., church.

Blood and bodies: Charleston's church carnage 10 DICEMBRE 2016

American carnage?
This year, President Trump continued to press his campaign theme that a violent crime wave is sweeping the U.S. He repeatedly heaped scorn on Chicago, in particular. "It's worse than some of the places that we read about in the Middle East," Trump said.
His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, even created a special task force on national crime and regularly touts the Justice Department's efforts to stem what his boss called "this American carnage."
"It's great there's a slight decrease from last year, but let's not forget that last year was the worst in 20 years," Michael Pfleger, an activist priest at Chicago's St. Sabina Church, told CNN. "Let's not use the barometer of last year. ... Hell, anything should look good next to last year."

After A Vow To End 'This American Carnage,' A Year Of Deadly Violence ERIC WESTERVELT December 27, 2017

A young woman lies unconscious, propped against the wall of a drug detox center in Kensington, Philadelphia.

“She’s wasn’t breathing,” says Danielle, a 26-year-old woman wearing a baseball hat and jeans. “I found her half under a car. Somebody robbed her. They could have robbed her and called 911...”
Paramedics arrive and administer Narcan, the nasal form of naloxone used to counter opioid overdoses. The woman comes round and refuses further treatment.
Minutes later, a man staggers and collapses. His breathing is shallow: the line between intoxication and overdose neared but not crossed. Paramedics get him back on his feet. It’s a grim dance, one that continues night and day in this rundown section of the city. 
“It’s busiest at six in the morning when people are out trying to get a fix so they don’t get sick,” said Patrick Trainor, a special agent with the Philadelphia division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who has monitored this neighborhood for two decades.
Kensington’s street users know Trainor – at least they know his unmarked car – and eye him warily. But it’s not DEA business to bust them, only to keep an eye on the narcotics reaching the streets. A surge in fatal overdoses, blamed on the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl and its analogs, is shifting the decade-long opioid crisis from rural areas to cities.
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released figures indicating that a sharp rise in drug overdose deaths, which many attribute in part to fentanyl, is causing a drop in American life expectancy. Opioids killed almost 64,000 people in 2016. The figure for 2017 is likely to be higher again. In October, Donald Trump declared a public health emergency.

Life Expectancy Is Down, Again, Thanks to Opioids Zachary Siegel

On the streets of Kensington, a crisis is taking shape that an anti-drug advertising campaign proposed by Trump may do little to ease.
Fentanyl has drastically changed the landscape,” Trainor said. “Sixty-four percent of fatals in Philadelphia County are fentanyl-related. There’s no dope out here now, its all fentanyl. Even the old timers are scared of it.”
In Kensington, many addicts congregate in a small park. It has become busier since authorities fenced off and filled in “the Tracks”, an aptly named encampment near train lines where residents once set up tables and mirrors to aide fixing in the neck. Others moved to an underpass on Emerald Street, known as Emerald City.
In either area, even addicts now carry Narcan. It’s an optimistic gesture, but barely.
Nationally, over the past three years, fentanyl-related deaths have increased by 540%. For the first time, the majority of fatal overdoses are fentanyl-related, accounting for “nearly all the increases in drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016”according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. In Philadelphia, a city previously known for pure and relatively inexpensive heroin, there have been nearly 800 fentanyl overdoses this year.

‘Dropping like flies’

The drug behind this surge in fatalities has been used by anesthesiologists for decades. Several years ago, the DEA noticed illicitly produced fentanyl appearing as a cut for low-quality Mexican heroin. Then the agency began seeing fentanyl itself, originating from labs in China and Mexico.
What started as a trickle is now a flood. Up and down the eastern seaboard, fentanyl seizures are soaring. Unlike heroin, which has a raw opium base that must be harvested in remote mountain valleys, fentanyl is made in clandestine labs using relatively inexpensive chemicals.
Around 80% of fentanyl seized in the New York area appears to be linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. In Philadelphia, the drug is more likely to have come from labs in China, some of it shipped through Mexico.
In November, Trump warned Chinese leaders over the production of fentanyl. Attorney general Jeff Sessions traveled to New York’s JFK airport, to meet customs agents.
With synthetic drugs flooding our streets, drugs are now more powerful, more addictive and more dangerous than ever,” Sessions said. “Fentanyl is the number one killer drug in America. And as deadly as it is, you can go online and order it through the mail.”
Over four days last month, DEA seized 40kg of fentanyl from Dominican traffickers, all of it destined for the Philadelphia market, in Trainor’s words “an insane amount if you calculate each kilo yields 330,000 doses”. Local press reported that a single kilo was enough to kill half the residents in the county.
The economics of fentanyl trafficking are straightforward. The chemicals needed to produce a kilo cost no more than $5,000 and there is need to wait for the poppy harvest. At $55,000-$60,000 per kilo delivered, fentanyl is the about the same price as heroin but yields far more once it is cut and packaged for the street.
“You’re paying the same for something that’s roughly 100 times more powerful, so why would you buy heroin?’ Trainor said. “The demand is for the most powerful thing they can get. Heroin will never be able to compete with fentanyl. It just can’t.”
Customers, however, are dying. Danny, a long-term Kensington drug user, said high OD rates were initially caused by dealers not knowing how to handle fentanyl. According to police one brand, AK-47, caused nine deaths in 36 hours and was part of a batch that left 35 people dead.
“When fentanyl came on people didn’t know about it,” Danny said. “They didn’t know what they were messing with. They OD-ing all over. Once the dealers saw people dropping like flies, they were going, ‘Wow, we’re doing something wrong.’ Now they getting the cut right.
“Nowadays, if anyone’s dying its mostly visitors who just got out of jail or rehab. They think they can do three bags. They can’t … they’re done.”
Street dealers compete for customers, selling high-purity drugs.
We’ve seen purity of heroin jump from 63 to 93%, which is fucking insane,” said Trainor. “There’s no greater endorsement for a trafficker than when his product kills somebody. That’s not mythology. We see it all the time. We’ve had wiretaps of drug traffickers bragging how many people their drugs killed.
Another longtime Kensington resident and addict, also named Danny, countered: “They blame the dealers but it ain’t them. The people are doing to themselves. It’s people coming down here from outta county thinking they can do what ever they want.”
Authorities only started to take notice, he said, when people starting coming to Kensington and dying: people from other neighborhoods, people with money, white, maybe politically connected. “When one of them kids from the other hoods OD, suddenly they make a big deal,” he said. “When it was just Kensington people they didn’t give a fuck…”
Kensington is a harsh place. For many women there, work means sex work. For men it’s pimping or, for the cost of a couple of $5 bags, acting as a guide to customers from elsewhere. Some sell Suboxone pills from legitimate prescriptions, or clean needles for a dollar each.

‘There’s no one person controlling it’

Besides fentanyl’s terrifying strength, two related factors are causing problems for the authorities: a lack of a dominant trafficker and the ease with which variants of the drug can be produced.
In the past, drugs coming into any area would likely be controlled by a single, relatively predictable trafficker or trafficking family. That’s not the case with fentanyl. It’s coming from China, ordered over the dark web, or coming up from Mexico.
Steven Jiang Steven Jiang, CNN December 28, 2017
There’s no one person controlling it coming in, and there’s more than we know what to do with,” Trainor said.
Because it is synthetic, fentanyl is relatively simple to modify. Each subtle change in formulation keeps DEA analysts playing catch-up.
At the top end is carfentanil, used as a painkiller for elephants and other large mammals and estimated to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It’s still rare on the street but it has shown up in four ODs at the Philadelphia medical examiner’s office. A carfentanil overdose can take several doses of Narcan to counteract. Police and medics are warned that even touching carfentanil powder can cause intoxication.
“It used to be just fentanyl but now we’ve noticed eight different analogs in this area and around 40 nationally,” Trainor said. “Our chemists estimate there could be 200 additional variants.
Fentanyl is marketed in stamped bags: White House, Dynamite, Colt 45. “Right now Colt 45 is the strongest thing,” said one Kensington resident struggling with active addiction. “It’s straight-up fentanyl. You can OD on half a bag.”
Whatever romanticism was ever associated with opium, or later morphine and heroin, it is lacking with fentanyl. It is painful to use because it burns the vein. Some choose to put the solution under the skin, despite an elevated risk of absesses, to reduce the risk of overdose and prolong the high.
Compared to heroin, addicts say, a fentanyl rush is intense and immediate. Overdoses come on almost instantaneously, the comedown is abrupt and withdrawal long and uncomfortable. Since tolerance builds up quickly, dependence escalates rapidly. The drug is so strong that a user who has overdoses can slip back under after the short-acting Narcan wears off.
Laura, 28, another long-term addict who has made a home on Emerald Street, shoots six bags every few hours.
With Fentanyl you get a strong rush but it dies away and you get sick,” she said. “The withdrawal is much different. You can kick heroin in five or six days but with fentanyl it takes 45 to 60 days. It’s longer, it’s the chemicals in it, and it’s just worse.”
Some addicts say fentanyl had convinced them to get into a programme. “I didn’t want to die,” said Michael, who recently entered a methadone programme. This could ultimately prove the silver lining to fentanyl’s devastating march – it’s ultimately just too strong and too dangerous to use.
“This is a very dangerous time for someone struggling with substance use disorder with all of the fatal overdoses that are occurring in Philadelphia,” said Trainor. “Law enforcement is increasingly working with public health and treatment agencies to address this crisis and to save lives, and that’s a win.” 

'It's all fentanyl': opioid crisis takes shape in Philadelphia as overdoses surge Edward Helmore in Kensington, Philadelphia  Wed 27 Dec ‘17

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