Rolling Stone Camden Article Declares City Apocalyptic and Ruined

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Camden, New Jersey, is just on the other side of the Ben Franklin Bridge, a short hop across the Delaware River. We see it all the time. We drive through or around it frequently. We know it’s a bad place to be.

But just how bad is Camden? Journalist Matt Taibbi paid a visit, and the result is the bleak new Rolling Stone Camden article: “Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch from America’s Most Desperate Town.”

Below, some of the most depressing things I learned from it:

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New Jersey Mall Gunman is Dead

CNN reports: “A gunman who opened fire at a New Jersey mall Monday night later holed up in a back room and shot himself in the head, authorities say. No one else was injured in the mall shooting. Richard Shoop’s body was found at 3:20 a.m. Tuesday in an obscure part of Westfield Garden State Plaza mall, hours after he fired at least six bullets without striking anyone in the massive shopping center. He acted alone, authorities say.”

Janitor Admits Planting Hidden Cameras In Catholic School, Won’t Go To Jail

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If you see this guy walking down the street anytime soon, feel free to give him a good hard slug across the face.

42-year-old John Martin of Wenonah, New Jersey (it’s about ten miles south of Philadelphia) has pleaded guilty to invasion of privacy and child endangerment after investigators learned that he planted hidden video cameras inside Gloucester Catholic High School, where he worked as a janitor. Read more »

Toms River 4-Year-Old Grabs Rifle, Shoots Older Child

CBS Philly reports that a 4-year-old child in Toms River, N.J., “grabbed a .22 caliber rifle from inside a home” and took it out to the yard, where the gun fired—investigators don’t know if the trigger was pulled, or the discharge an accident—striking a 6-year-old, who was last reported in stable condition. 6ABC adds that the older child was reportedly shot in the head.

The incident comes a couple of days after a Tennessee incident, in which another 4-year-old grabbed a loaded gun on a bed—a deputy was showing off his gun collection to friends at a barbecue—and shot the deputy’s wife dead.

It could be we’re aiming too high with the gun regulations proposed in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre. But jeepers: Can’t we find a constitutional way to keep loaded weapons out of the hands of 4-year-olds?

Two Found Dead At Revel

This can’t be good for the troubled Atlantic City resort: NBC 10 reports two people—a 56-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman—were found dead over the weekend in a seventh-floor hotel room at the Revel Resort. Both are New Jersey residents; officials say it’s too early to determine if the deaths are suspicious. The Revel, of course, filed for bankruptcy last month, less than a year after it opened.

Why Did Steven Goff Finally Confess To A 1990 Murder?

The Inquirer dives into Steven Goff’s surprise confession this week that he murdered 15-year-old Frederick Hart, of Galloway Township, N.J. in 1990.

“I did the crime and I’m prepared to do . . . whatever I gotta do,” Goff said at his first court appearance before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio in Mays Landing.

“I was prepared to enter a guilty plea right here and now,” Goff said.

The judge interrupted, “Whoa, let’s back up . . .” advising Goff he had been charged – not yet indicted – and was entitled to a lawyer.

Note: There’s almost no judge in the world that would accept a guilty plea to murder at a first hearing like that one—not until a defendant had had a chance to consult with a lawyer, anyway. In any case, Hart disappeared in 1990 and wasn’t found until 1991; his body was so badly decomposed at that point that authorities weren’t completely sure he’d been murdered until Goff’s surprising confession this week. They still don’t know why he came forward.

Child Porn Sweep Nets 25 in New Jersey

NBC Philadelphia reports today’s news that 25 New Jersey men have been arrested on child porn charges.

The child porn sweep, dubbed Operation Ever Vigilant, began three months ago with a focus on uncovering the distribution of videos and other illegal materials.

New Jersey State Police announced this morning that 25 arrests were made with the suspects ranging in age from 17 to 66 years old in 11 counties.

The victim’s range in age from toddlers to 10-year-olds, according to the officials.

Only five of the men had “direct contact” with children, officials said.

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