Dispatches > Human Race
Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton

Human Race


Issue: "Surviving Syria," June 1, 2013


Bethany Hamilton, 23, whose story was told in the 2011 movie Soul Surfer, has announced her engagement to a Hawaiian youth minister, Adam Dirks. Hamilton’s left arm was severed in a 2003 shark attack, but she recovered and went on to become a professional surfer. The two met in 2012 and have not set a wedding date. 


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed “outrage and disgust” after the Air Force officer overseeing the branch’s sexual assault and prevention program was arrested for sexual assault. The officer, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was reportedly removed from duty immediately. Krusinski, who had assumed the post in February, was reportedly intoxicated when he allegedly groped a woman he didn’t know on the night of May 4. 


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Authorities in Tehran removed Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini from solitary confinement on May 8—a day after he turned 33. Abedini has been languishing in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison since September, when authorities  arrested him on charges of crimes against the state (including sharing his faith) allegedly committed a decade ago. Led by Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, more than 575,000 people have signed a petition for his release, and more than 50,000 have written letters of encouragement. Abedini’s health is thought to be deteriorating amid beatings and withheld medical treatment. 


Gunmen shot and killed a high-profile Pakistani prosecutor as he drove to work on May 3. Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, who was shot 13 times, had been investigating several important cases, including a 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, and the 2007 assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. Ali told the BBC in April that he had been receiving death threats related to multiple cases.


Christian philosopher and best-selling author Dallas Willard died from cancer on May 8 at age 77. Willard, who taught philosophy at the University of Southern California for 48 years, was an ordained Baptist minister and best known for his writings on Christian spiritual formation. His books include The Spirit of the Disciplines, The Divine Conspiracy, and Renovation of the Heart.


Jeff Hanneman, 49,founding member and lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Slayer, died May 2 from complications related to a spider bite. Topeka, Kan.–based Westboro Baptist Church announced it would protest at the funeral for Hanneman. Slayer fans are making plans for a counter-protest that would drown out the noise of the controversial church.


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