Is it a crime to raise a killer?

Where exactly does parental responsibility begin and end?

“In that time her parents have learned that the stages of grief now include another step — finding someone to blame. It’s a stage well known to parents wrenched by a particular kind of loss, a kind arguably more common and certainly more public of late — losing children at the hands of other children. And it is raising questions with few answers in the existing legal system.” Image Credit

Lisa Belkin | Yahoo News

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Whoever saves a life

Inside the world of Syria’s first responders

“The team waited for the second bomb to fall away — the helos usually carried two — and then jumped in the truck and rattled out toward the bomb site. Their wheel man, Abu Sabet, a mournful-faced older taxi driver, had worked big rigs before the war. He had an artful command of the little truck, whipping it nimbly through the rubble-filled streets. The bomb had fallen in a sparsely built neighborhood…” Image Credit

Matthieu Aikins | Matter

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My year in the NRA

Following the Sandy Hook massacre, Rob Cox joined the NRA to find out how it works

“In many ways, it felt like just another trade show, apart from the occasional snarky asides from fellow conferees (“Obama’s done more for gun sales than anybody”)…Friends whose only knowledge of the NRA is derived from LaPierre’s televised tirades warned me to be careful, as if I were a black man heading to a Klan rally. In reality, fellow attendees were welcoming and, for the record, not entirely white.” Image Credit

Rob Cox | BuzzFeed

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Life amid the rubble

Multimedia feature on four residents of Shejaiya, Gaza, and their lives amid the aftermath of war

“Israel told the 80,000 residents to leave before it targeted the area. However, many did not believe the assault would be so serious and remained in their homes. On the night of Saturday 19 July, Shejaiya was pounded with heavy artillery, mortars and air strikes sending up columns of thick, black smoke. Within 24 hours, dozens of Palestinians and at least 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.” Image Credit

Yolande Knell | BBC

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Should we all take a bit of lithium?

How lithium in our water supply could help prevent suicides

“Researchers began to ask whether low levels of lithium might correlate with poor behavioral outcomes in humans. In 1990, a study was published looking at 27 Texas counties with a variety of lithium levels in their water. The authors discovered that people whose water had the least amount of lithium had significantly greater levels of suicide, homicide and rape than the people whose water had the higher levels of lithium.” Image Credit

Anna Fels | The New York Times

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Weekend Reads | The outlaw state

Every Sunday a pick of five great feature-length reads from the week just gone.

This weeks pick of the crop is Max Rodenberg’s look at the long history of violence and cruelty in Iraq, a precedent that started long before the arrival of the Islamic State. Equally disturbing was GQ’s feature on the problem of male-on-male rape in the US military; Nathaniel Penn talked to those brave enough to speak out. ‘The lethal lure of Mont Blanc’ in Spiegel summed up the shockingly high fatality rate at the popular climbing destination, where the challenge isn’t so much technical, but rather one of overcrowding. At Vanity Fair this week Jeffery E. Stern travelled to the remote Guinean village of Meliandou, likely home of ebola’s Patient Zero, in an effort to find out why the world has struggled to contain the outbreak. We finish with Alex Mar’s visit to the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in Texas, otherwise known as one of America’s five ‘body farms’. (14th September 2014)

The outlaw state Max Rodenbeck | The New York Review of Books (18 min)

“Son, men don’t get raped” Nathaniel Penn | GQ (22 min)

The lethal lure of Mont Blanc Lukas Eberle and Victoria Weidemann | Spiegel (13 min)

Hell in the hot zone Jeffrey E. Stern | Vanity Fair (22 min)

Excarnation in Texas Alex Mar | Oxford American (48 min)

Click the individual stories above or head over to Readlists.com to get this whole collection as a reading list. To get the Weekend Reads newsletter sent straight to your inbox every Sunday just enter your email here.

How Matt’s machine works

Matt Mullenweg runs 22 percent of the Internet

“The most important difference between Mullenweg and, say, Mark Zuckerberg is one of philosophy. Mullenweg keeps WordPress open source, because he believes it keeps him honest and shows that his intentions are pure–and that keeps the community building his software for free, despite what some outsiders see as a conflict of interest. “People could pick up [the code] and start their own WordPress,” Mullenweg says.” Image Credit

Shane Snow | Fast Company

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The lethal lure of Mont Blanc

Every year 30,000 people try to climb it, and every year many of them die doing so

“So far this year, 20 Alpinists have lost their lives on the Mont Blanc massif. A 45-year-old from Germany, for example, slipped while ascending through a rocky couloir, falling 200 meters (650 feet) to his death. In August, three French climbers fell 800 meters, apparently after an overhanging snow cornice broke away beneath their feet. After each tragedy, Jean-Marc Peillex has to issue a press release and stand for interviews.” Image Credit

Lukas Eberle and Victoria Weidemann | Spiegel

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Confessions of a smuggler

The man who brings foreign fighters into Syria

“The men hailed mainly from Arab countries. But the reach of the rebellion — which the foreigners saw as a religious war — seemed to grow as the conflict raged on. There were Chechens, Albanians, Britons, and French. Some brought their wives. Yusuf eventually fielded mujahideen from as far away as China and Argentina. He also smuggled in a handful of Americans. “I remember them really well,” he said.” Image Credit

Mike Giglio | BuzzFeed

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Did someone really unmask Jack the Ripper?

A look at recent claims suggesting Aaron Kosminski was the infamous killer

“Now, with breathless triumphalism and a new book to sell, Russell Edwards has unveiled “incontrovertible” evidence that the Ripper was Aaron Kosminski, 23-year-old Polish émigré and lapsed hairdresser who had left the Continent in the early 1880s, fleeing pogroms like so many fellow Jews. Scotland Yard had held Kosminski for questioning, treating him as a prime suspect in the Whitechapel murders before releasing him for lack of evidence…” Image Credit

Ted Scheinman | Pacific Standard

Read It Now (5 min)