Welcome to another A2A Long Reads, a weekly roundup of the most in-depth and thought-provoking longform journalism pieces (according to me, of course). This week’s long reads are courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy, Texas Monthly, The Atlantic and The New York Times.

A life on the line: Cecelia Lam

In homicides of women in California, domestic violence is the number one cause. Last year, at least 80 women were killed by domestic abusers. In October 2014, despite eight frantic calls to police, Cecelia Lam became one of those murdered women. In this compelling long read, The San Francisco Chronicle investigates how despite years of reform, California’s system continues to fail many victims of domestic abuse.

An excerpt from this long read:

On the other end of the line, Cecilia lay crumpled, shot in the head by her drunken boyfriend, who immediately turned the gun on himself. The last call of her life was the eighth she’d made to 911 in a span of nine hours. From the evening of Oct. 9, 2014, to the early morning of Oct. 10, the 35-year-old woman called repeatedly from the South of Market apartment she shared with four roommates, asking for police to protect her from her drunken, violent boyfriend, 29-year-old Cedric Young Jr. After many of her calls, officers responded and sought to help. But each time, they failed to take actions that might have saved her life.

The paradox of prosperity (Photo: Alexandre Baron)

The paradox of prosperity

With tens of millions of African migrants expected to arrive in Europe in the coming decades, the European Union is taking steps to curb the influx of refugees. One of the most immediate steps undertaken is the billion-dollar financing of development projects throughout Africa. Unfortunately, progress isn’t always a straight line. In part one of this special series, Foreign Policy investigates the unintended consequences of the Union’s efforts to kickstart Africa’s poorest economies and subsequently, curb the migrant crisis.

An excerpt from this long read:

The notion that someday there might be a well-paying job for him right here in Mali — the kind of job envisioned by EU policymakers — struck him as unlikely. If one suddenly appeared, though, Traoré knew exactly what he would do: “I would save money and go to Europe.”

96 minutes

It’s the summer of 1966. Students at the University of Texas are bustling about when suddenly, shots ring out from the campus Tower. Over the course of the next 96 minutes, a single man will shoot 43 people, killing 15. As the U.S. continues to reel from last week’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas, Pamela Colloff of the Texas Monthly takes readers back to the country’s “first mass murder in a public space.”

An excerpt from this long read:

In the first few minutes of Whitman’s killing spree, many students were unaware of what was happening; some thought it was the work of drama students or an experiment being performed by the psychology department or just a joke. Claire Wilson (now Claire James) found herself stranded on the South Mall, eight months pregnant and hit in the abdomen. She and other victims lay where they had fallen on the hot cement and tried to play dead. But Whitman never shot again once he had hit his target. In the sniper tradition of “one shot, one kill,” he never wasted a bullet on someone who was down.

Death at a Penn State fraternity (Photo: Chris Koleno)

Death at a Penn State fraternity

Nineteen-year-old Tim Piazza had his entire life ahead of him. A sophomore at Penn State, like many university students across the U.S., he was eager to pledge Greek life. Few could have imagined that Piazza’s initiation into the university’s local chapter of Beta Theta Pi would cost him his life and ultimately, shed light on a horrifying culture of hazing that remains implicit within many American fraternities.

An excerpt from this long read:

This time the dead student left a final testimony, a vivid, horrifying, and inescapable account of what happened to him and why. The house where he was so savagely treated had been outfitted with security cameras, which recorded his long ordeal. Put together with the texts and group chats of the fraternity brothers as they delayed seeking medical treatment and then cleaned up any traces of a wild party—and with the 65-page report released by a Centre County grand jury, which recommended 1,098 criminal charges against 18 former members and against the fraternity itself—the footage reveals a more complete picture of certain dark realities than we have previously had.

How to get away with murder in small-town India

A woman is brutally murdered by her husband in rural India. Despite his own confession and eye-witness testimonies, he remains a free man. In her own words, The New York Times’ Ellen Barry reveals how money, politics and power continue to permeate India’s justice system. This is how you get away with murder in small-town India.

An excerpt from this long read: 

…the woman’s screams had woken her from a deep sleep, and she stumbled through the dark to the neighbor’s house, some 20 feet away. The woman, Geeta, was cowering in a neighbor’s bathroom, a U-shaped enclosure used for showering, while her husband brought a bamboo stick down on her, again and again…. Geeta’s husband — a slight man named Mukesh — stood above Geeta, who was slumped on the side of a rope cot, and brought the stick down on her head several more times. She died on the spot.

These are the week’s best long reads According to Adrienne. If you’ve got a piece you think I’d be interested in, send it to info@accordingtoadrienne.com.

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