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Amazon: the blameless killer?

Amazon: the blameless killer?

BuzzFeed is running an article on US deaths caused by Amazon delivery drivers. As one might expect, there is a considerable tension between the stress put onto Amazon drivers and the targets which they have to meet, and Amazon's own view of the relationship, which is to consider their drives as self-employed contractors.

Valdimar Gray was delivering packages for Amazon at the height of the pre-Christmas rush when his three-ton van barreled into an 84-year-old grandmother, crushing her diaphragm, shattering several ribs, and fracturing her skull.

"Oh my God!" screamed Gray as he leaped out of his van. It was a bright, clear afternoon on December 22, 2016, and the 29-year-old had been at the wheel of the white Nissan since early that morning, racing to drop Amazon packages on doorsteps throughout Chicago. He stood in anguish next to Telesfora Escamilla as she lay dying, her blood pooling on the pavement just three blocks from her home. After the police arrived, Gray submitted to drug and alcohol tests, which came up clean. He would later be charged with reckless homicide.

Caroline O'Donovan / Ken Bensinger, BuzzFeed

We've said this before, and will say it again: Amazon's dominance of its markets has come with massive detrimental effects to the public sphere which it routinely, almost proudly, attempts to wriggle out of.

Here's the article - it makes for grim reading, and paints a picture of an infrastructure struggling to cope with both the economic and human cost of its scale.

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