angels of death


American arms traffickers are not who you think. 

Tiana never saw herself as a killer.

The daughter of a prostitute, she grew up in an inner city housing project surrounded by crack cocaine, day-time shootings and illicit money making. Hustling was in her family's blood. Her grandmother ran an after-hours booze business from their apartment, selling bottles of beer and pints of liquor until three in the morning.

For Tiana, who was determined not to follow her mother into the sex trade, guns became the hustle. 

Buying weapons for the men in her life—a practice that police call straw purchasing—was easy money.

"I hung out a lot with guys because I didn't figure that women could teach me anything," she told me. "Guys taught me ... to deal with the street. And part of that was guns."

By Dan Patterson; Illustrations by Orlin Culture Shop

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