Studies show mass killings have tripled in the past few years. A massacre Sunday night in Las Vegas left 59 people dead as a gunman in a hotel fired upon thousands of people below who were attending a music festival.
Until that tragedy, last year’s shooting at an Orlando nightclub was the deadliest in U.S. history. Forty-nine people died when a gunman opened fire on club-goers. In 2012, a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, as well as six others, including the shooter’s mother and staff and teachers at the school.
Mass killers used trucks filled with fertilizer to create an explosion that left 168 people dead at the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The land is now filled with empty chairs, each etched with the name of one of the victims.
That was the worst mass killing until September 2001, when killers crashed airplanes into The World Trade Center’s twin towers in lower Manhattan. As in Oklahoma City, the ground where the towers once stood is now a memorial.
Profiling mass killers
J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist, said mass murderers “typically have more in common” with each other than not.
He said the killers tend to have a history of psychiatric problems, are mostly men, and have rocky intimate relationships.
Meloy said the killings are a quest for status and usually are not, despite killers’ claims, rooted in a cause.
“Oftentimes, the pathway to violence begins with a personal grievance,” Meloy said. “It typically has three components to it. One is there’s some kind of loss. Secondly, there’s the feeling of humiliation. Then thirdly, there’s anger toward and blaming of a person or a group of people who have caused them to have this problem.”
Access to weapons is one factor, but social media is another.
Meloy said social media makes killers notorious and, when an attack is shown online, those seeking notoriety decide to imitate the atrocity and gain notoriety for themselves.
It is an appeal that, unfortunately, Meloy predicts will spawn even more mass killings.
News Courtesy: VOA NEWS
Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction up Florida’s Gulf Coast on Sunday threatens to disrupt a thriving state tourism industry worth more than $100 billion annually just months ahead of the busy winter travel season.
Some of the state’s biggest attractions have announced temporary closures, including amusement park giants Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Legoland and Sea World, which all planned to close through Monday.
About 20 cruise lines have Miami as a home port or a port of call, according to the PortMiami website, and many have had to move ships out of the area and revise schedules.
USACarnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have canceled and revised several sailings as a result of the storm and have offered credits and waivers on trips where passengers are unable to travel.
FILE – Royal Caribbean International’s cruise ship ‘Allure of the Seas’ enters its new home port in Fort Lauderdale as seen from nearby Hollywood, Florida, Nov. 11, 2010.
A Carnival spokesman said the situation in Florida on Sunday was still not clear enough to fully assess how widespread the effects will be.
“We will know more in the hours ahead since the hurricane is active in Florida right now,” spokesman Roger Frizzell said.
Irma made a second Florida landfall on Sunday on southwestern Marco Island as a Category 3 storm bringing winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kph) and life-threatening sea surge.
Disney canceled the Monday sailing of one of its cruise ships and said it is assessing future sailings, which stop throughout the Caribbean and in the Bahamas.
Florida is one of the world’s top tourism destinations. Last year nearly 113 million people visited the state, a new record, and spent $109 billion, state officials said earlier this year.
The first half of 2017 was on track to beat that record pace, officials said.
FILE – Preslee Rakes, left, her mother Tina Rakes, center, and Brad Cunningham, right, all from Kansas, feed seagulls during a visit to the South Beach area of Miami Beach, Florida, Dec. 11, 2011.
The damage Irma’s winds and storm surge do to Florida’s 660 miles (1,060 km) of beaches and the structures built along them during more than 30 years of explosive population growth will be critical to how quickly the state’s ‘s No. 1 industry recovers.
The Gulf beaches west of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, are squarely in the storm’s path.
In 2016, more than 6.3 million people visited Pinellas County, which encompasses those cities, and generated more $9.7 billion in economic activity.
Up and down the wide, sandy beaches of Pinellas County are traditional “old Florida” waterfront hotels such as the Don Cesar, a coral pink 1920s hotel on St. Pete Beach, which was closed by the storm. There are also modern high-rises and resorts that are part of the nation’s biggest chains and brands including Hyatt Hotels, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
The low-lying barrier islands would be inundated if Irma’s storm surge reaches forecast heights of as high as 15 feet (4.6 meters).
While some newer structures in the area are built on elevated pilings, many older homes and businesses are not.
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With photographs obliquely showing a new rocket design, North Korea has sent a message that it is working on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) more powerful than any it has previously tested, weapons experts said on Thursday.
If developed, such a missile could possibly reach any place on the U.S. mainland, including Washington and New York, they said.
North Korea’s state media published photographs late on Wednesday of leader Kim Jong Un standing next to a diagram of a three-stage rocket it called the Hwasong-13.
Missile experts, who scrutinise such pictures for clues about North Korea’s weapons programs, said there is no indication the rocket has been fully developed. In any case, it had not been flight tested and it was impossible to calculate its potential range.
However, a three-stage rocket would be more powerful than the two-stage Hwasong-14 ICBM tested twice in July, they said.
US mainland within range
South Korean and U.S. officials and experts have said the Hwasong-14 may have a range of about 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) and could possibly strike many parts of the United States, but not the East Coast.
“We should be looking at Hwasong-13 as a 12,000-kilometer class ICBM that can strike all of the mainland United States,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Seoul’s Kyungnam University.
“It’s likely meant to show that they are working on a three-stage design with greater boost and range,” said retired Brigadier General Moon Sung-muk, an arms control expert who has represented South Korea in military talks with North Korea.
He said the pictures were intended to show that North Korea was refusing to bow to international pressure to abandon its weapons programs.
“The North is trying to be in control of the playing field,” Moon said.
‘A good first step’
Wednesday’s report carried by the KCNA news agency lacked the traditionally robust threats against the United States, and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a possible improvement in relations.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it was unclear if the photos were taken before or after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday welcomed what he called the restraint North Korea had shown recently in its weapons programs and said he hoped a path could be opening for dialogue “sometime in the near future.”
“We consider it overall a good first step that there haven’t been any missile launches or testing for … three-plus weeks or so,” Nauert told a regular briefing.
However Pyongyang needed to do a lot more to show it was willing to negotiate in good faith, she said.
The photographs were accompanied by a report of Kim issuing instructions for the production of more rocket engines and warheads during a visit to the Academy of Defense Sciences, an agency he set up to develop ballistic missiles.
“We’re getting a look at it to emphasise domestic production of missiles, and to advertise what’s coming next,” said Joshua Pollack, a nuclear weapon and missile systems expert who edits the U.S.-based Nonproliferation Review.
The photographs were published as tensions between North Korea and the United States appeared to have eased slightly since North Korea tested the Hwasong-14 and later threatened to fire missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Plastic used in missiles?
Kyungnam University’s Kim said the Hwasong-13 appeared similar to the KN-08, a three-stage missile of which only a mockup has previously been seen at military parades. But the new images show a modified design for the main booster stage that clusters two engines.
Another picture published by North Korean state media showed Kim Jong Un standing next to a rocket casing that appeared to be made of a material that could include plastic. Experts said if such material were used in the missile, it would be intended to reduce weight and boost range.
The photographs also showed the design for the Pukguksong-3, likely a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile being developed for submarine launches.
News Courtesy: VOA NEWS
The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base Friday morning came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.
Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict, with the U.N. blaming three attacks on the Syrian government and a fourth on the Islamic State group.
Here’s a timeline of this week’s events:
April 4, 2017
One of the worst chemical attacks came Tuesday in rebel-held northern Idlib where dozens were killed in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Witnesses said the attack was carried out by either Russian or Syrian Sukhoi jets. Moscow and Damascus denied responsibility.
That attack prompted President Donald Trump, on day 77 of his presidency, to dramatically shift U.S. policy on Syria. Trump issued a statement saying that the “heinous” actions of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government are the direct result of Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution.”
After the attack, hospitals around Khan Sheikhoun were overwhelmed, and paramedics sent victims to medical facilities across rebel-held areas in northern Syria, as well as to Turkey.
President Donald Trump and Jordan’s King Abdullah II hold a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, April 5, 2017.
April 5, 2017
Trump says Assad’s government had “crossed a lot of lines” with the chemical attack in Syria. At a joint Rose Garden news conference alongside Jordanian King Abdullah II, Trump said the attack “cannot be tolerated.”
U.S. forces are said to have targeted Shayrat Airfield in western Syria, in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack that American officials believe Syrian government aircraft launched on a rebel-held town with a nerve gas, possibly sarin.
April 6, 2017
The U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Friday morning in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack against civilians. Trump said strike on Syria in the “vital national security interest” of the United States.
U.S. officials had said they hoped for a vote Thursday night on a U.N. Security Council resolution that would condemn the chemical attack, but the vote did not take place.
April 7, 2017
Syria decried a U.S. missile attack on a government-controlled air base where U.S. officials say the Syrian military launched a deadly chemical attack earlier this week, calling it an “aggression” that led to “losses.”
A Syrian opposition group, the Syrian Coalition, welcomed the U.S. attack, saying it puts an end to an age of “impunity” and should be just the beginning.
Major Jamil al-Saleh, a U.S-backed rebel commander whose Hama district in the country’s center was struck by a suspected chemical weapons attack, said he hoped the U.S. attack on a government air base would be a “turning point” in the six-year war.
Text Credit: VOA