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Randall Benton
7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: The Golden State Killer

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Postpartum psychosis and me

Jen Wight’s sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia when they were teenagers. Jo always feared she too might suffer from a mental illness – and after her son was born, she became ill with psychosis.

(BBC, approx 12 mins reading time)

After they’d left they called Kai to tell him not to leave me on my own with my son, or on my own full stop. Some people would be really freaked out if somebody said that about their wife, but Kai never transmitted anything to me, he just carried on taking care of us. But when he did tell me, some time later, that they’d thought I might harm our son I was completely devastated.

2. The Golden State Killer

The terrifying story of the Golden State Killer, and the man accused of being him.

(Los Angeles Times, approx 60 mins reading time)

Prosecutors say he ranged across the state, from Sacramento to Orange County. At every stop in his alleged evolution from burglar and prowler to dog killer, rapist and serial murderer, they say, he escaped detection to start anew under another sobriquet: the Cordova Cat Burglar, the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Creek Killer, the Diamond Knot Killer, the original Night Stalker.

3. Women’s soccer and equal pay

The best women’s soccer term in the world still doesn’t have equal pay with its male equivalent.

(New York Times, approx 25 mins reading time)

The lawsuit asserts, for example, that from 2013 to 2016, if a male and a female national team player each played 20 exhibition games in a year, members of the men’s squad would have earned an average of $263,320, while members of the women’s squad would have earned a maximum of $99,000. The suit also claims that “during the period relevant to this case,” the women’s team earned more for U.S. Soccer than the men’s team did. 

4. YouTube and radicalisation

College dropout Caleb Cain turned to YouTube during a time of insecurity. It pulled him into the world of the far-right.

(New York Times, approx 24 mins reading time)

The radicalization of young men is driven by a complex stew of emotional, economic and political elements, many having nothing to do with social media. But critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.

5. How refugees die

John Psaropoulos writes about the fate of refugees fleeing the Syrian uprising.

(The Sewanee Review/Longreads, approx 17 mins reading time)

Doa said the boat was submerged in ten minutes. She remembered hearing the screaming of women and children below decks. She survived along with about a hundred people because she had been on deck, but her fiancé did not. Over the next three days and two nights, all but five of those initial survivors would die of exhaustion and dehydration as they treaded water in the open sea. Doa and the other four were spotted by a Greek merchant ship south of Crete; a Greek coast guard helicopter airlifted them to Chania.

6. Sudan and revolution

Before the recent incidents in Sudan, History Today gave an insight into the unrest in the country.

(History Today, approx 9 mins reading time)

Sudan was always an awkward colonial creation: diverse peoples with histories of mutual antagonism and exploitation (including slavery) were crammed together at the whim of Turkish and then British and Egyptian colonial masters in 1899. The south saw itself as African, while the political elite in the north defined itself (and the nation) by its Arab origins. In the colonial period, Christian missionaries were allowed to work in southern Sudan, creating further differences with the north, which is overwhelmingly Muslim.


John McClamrock was paralysed in a violent tackle during a football game 45 years ago. In 2009, on the 35th anniversary, Texas Monthly told the story of his mother’s perseverance for her son.

(Texas Monthly, approx 154 mins reading time)

John made it through the night and then through the next day. His friends flocked to the hospital, many of them dropped off at the front door by their parents. One night, nearly one hundred kids were in the ICU waiting room, all of them signing their names on a makeshift guest register—a legal pad—pinned to a wall. There were so many phone calls coming into the hospital about John that extra operators were brought in to work the switchboard.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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