The shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice on June 14 was allegedly carried out by a man with a history of violence.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Specifically, violence against women.

Alleged shooter James T. Hodgkinson reportedly dragged his daughter out of a neighbor's house by her hair in 2006, according to The Washington Post. When she attempted to flee in a car, Hodgkinson broke in and attempted to cut her out of her seatbelt with a pocket knife.


This isn't extraordinary. In fact, it's tragically ordinary.

A 2015 New York Times report found that in 57% of mass shootings, current or former intimate partners or family members of the shooter were among the victims.

In incidents that don't involve partners or family — like in the recent attack on the Republican congressmen — the killer still frequently has a history of assault against a female partner or family member.

The kind of mass violence that devastates whole communities and rips apart the lives of strangers often begins at home. For the perpetrators of 12 of the most high-profile mass attacks between 2012 and 2017 around the globe, women were their first victims.

1. Esteban Santiago, who killed five at the Fort Lauderdale airport, was arrested the previous year for hitting and strangling his girlfriend.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"Santiago verbally assaulted his then girlfriend, a 40-year old mother of one child from a previous marriage whom The Daily Beast is not naming, through a locked bathroom door, telling her to 'Get the fuck out, bitch.' After he forced his way in by breaking down the door, he smacked her in the head and strangled her." — The Daily Beast, Jan. 7, 2017

2. Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter, allegedly attacked his wife numerous times, which prompted her to flee and file for divorce.

Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.

In Sitora Yusufiy's own words: "Once, he woke up to find me on the phone with my cousin and started kicking me. He threatened to kill me if I left him. Another time, I was asleep in front of the TV when he pulled me up by the hair and started slapping me, and then choking me until I gasped for air. He claimed it was because I hadn't done the laundry." Marie Claire, Sept. 26, 2016

3. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who murdered 86 people with a truck at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, had been accused of spousal abuse.

Photo by Valery Hache/Getty Images.

"A woman who knows the family told the BBC Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had been thrown out of their home in the Le Ray area of Nice more than a year ago after allegedly beating his wife." — BBC, Aug. 19, 2016

4. Dallas cop-killer Micah Johnson was, allegedly, a serial harasser of fellow soldiers while in the military.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

"Superiors of Johnson accused the deceased murderer of 'egregious sexual harassment,' while he was serving deployment in Afghanistan. They recommended he receive a dishonorable discharge, but for reasons unknown to them, he left the military with an honorable discharge." — Salon, July 16, 2016

5. Cedric Ford, who killed three of his co-workers at a Kansas lawnmower factory in 2016, had recently been served a domestic violence order.

"The order, posted by the Wichita Eagle on its website, was sought by an unidentified woman who had been living with Ford and said he had been physically abusive. She wrote in the order that he was alcoholic, violent, depressed and in need of medical and psychological help." — Reuters, Feb. 27, 2016

6. Robert Lewis Dear, who murdered three outside a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015, was accused of abuse by two of his ex-wives and had been arrested and accused of rape.

Image by Handout/Getty Images.

"In the divorce papers, Micheau said Dear threw her around a room by her hair on one occasion and beat her head against the ground. In the affidavit, she said Dear 'erupts into fury in a matter of seconds,' and that she 'lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse.'" The Washington Post, Dec. 1, 2015

7. John Houser, who killed two women at a screening of "Trainwreck" in 2015, was accused of "acts of family violence" by his wife, daughter, and others.

Photo by Yuri Gripas/Getty Images.

"Among those listed as wanting protection from Houser were his daughter's fiancé and future in-laws, as well as his wife's aunt. At the time, Houser's wife, Kellie, told police she was so concerned about his propensity for violence that she removed all the guns and weapons from their home." — CBS News, July 24, 2015

8. Ismaaiyl Brinsley first shot his ex-girlfriend before shooting and killing two New York police officers in 2014.

Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

"Baltimore County Police responded to a call at Brinsley's ex-girlfriend's home in the Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Maryland around 5:48 a.m. on Saturday. Brinsley had shot the 29-year-old woman in the stomach and fled, cops said." — CBS News, Dec. 21, 2014

9. Man Haron Monis, who took hostages in a deadly 2014 standoff in Sydney, Australia, had been charged with sexual assault dozens of times.

Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images.

"A 27-year-old woman complained to police that she had been sexually assaulted by Monis, after attending 'spiritual healing sessions' in response to an advertisement placed in newspapers aimed at the Fijian-Indian, Macedonian, Spanish and Chinese communities." — Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 16, 2014

10. Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger wrote in his diary about splashing hot coffee on women who didn't pay enough attention to him.

Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

"Rodger wrote that he splashed two 'hot blonde girls' with his Starbucks latte at an Isla Vista bus stop after they 'didn't even deign to smile back' after he smiled at them." — CNN, May 27, 2014

12. Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was arrested for domestic violence four years before the attack.

Photo by Stan Honda/Getty Images.

"Police responding to the distress call said they arrived to find the couple in a car in front of the house. The officers say they approached Tsarnaev, who stepped out of the vehicle and told them the woman had been 'yelling at him because of another girl.' 'I asked the suspect if he had hit the victim, and he said "Yes, I slapped her,"' the Cambridge officer wrote in the report." — ABC News, April 22, 2013

12. Before killing three of his wife's co-workers in Wisconsin in 2012, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton had been exhibiting violent and controlling behavior toward his wife.

"A man suspected of opening fire at a Wisconsin salon where his wife worked, killing three women and wounding four others, had a history of domestic abuse and had been arrested for slashing his wife's tires a few weeks earlier, police said." — San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct. 22, 2012

It's time to take domestic violence seriously — both as a public and social health crisis.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Attacks on intimate partners and family members have a nasty habit of leading to much, much worse.

In an age where mass shootings and terror attacks are proliferating, encourage your lawmakers and local law enforcement to enforce prohibitions against those convicted of domestic violence owning deadly firearms.

If someone you know is being abused, it may not benefit them to go to the police right away. Instead, experts recommend, ask the victim what they need, keep a journal of events, and when the time is right, help them create a safety plan where you can communicate discreetly.

You can also reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.

It might just save more than one life.

Correction 6/16/2017: The original share image for this post included a photograph of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, not Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The image has been updated to include a picture of Esteban Santiago in its place.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

What you look like in a selfie camera isn't really what you look like in real life.

We've all done it: You snap a selfie, look at it, say, "OMG is my nose swollen?" then try again from a different angle. "Wait, now my forehead looks weird. And what's up with my chin?" You keep trying various angles and distances, trying to get a picture that looks like how you remember yourself looking. Whether you finally land on one or not, you walk away from the experience wondering which photo actually looks like the "real" you.

I do this, even as a 40-something-year-old who is quite comfortable with the face I see in the mirror. So, it makes me cringe imagining a tween or teen, who likely take a lot more selfies than I do, questioning their facial features based on those snapshots. When I'm wondering why my facial features look weird in selfies it's because I know my face well enough to know that's not what it looks like. However, when a young person whose face is changing rapidly sees their facial features distorted in a photo, they may come to all kinds of wrong conclusions about what they actually look like.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

Here at Upworthy, we cherish our loved ones and although Valentine's is not all about gifts, if you are looking to buy a special gift for a special someone, then you came to the right place! We have curated a list of our personal favorites from our store, Upworthy Market, where you can feel good about your shopping because every dollar you spend directly supports local artisans who craft their own products. In this gift guide, you'll find all products have special thought, hand-made with love and they are all under $30 to help you stay within a budget.


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The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.

From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


An abandoned 747 rests in a Bangkok lot. Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images.

Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.

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