The Virginia shooter had a history of domestic violence. That's tragically ordinary.

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.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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