The year that was 2013 Part 2Looking back at this past year there were stories that tested our belief in the goodness of humanity. The Boston Marathon bombing (April 15, 2013) had all of us wondering how anyone could want to harm others in such a way. Then we learned what Boston Strong really was. Televisions brought all of us together and we cheered when after a large manhunt, the remaining suspect, was captured. (Brothers Dzhokhar Anzorovich "Jahar" Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev were Chechen born but raised in Boston. They were declared suspects in the bombing after the FBI took over the case of the Boston Bombing. Tamerlan was shot and killed while trying to be apprehended.) Boston then cheered as the beloved Boston Red Socks won the World Series.
On June 26th, The Supreme Court struck down the federal law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman which cleared the way for gay marriage throughout the United States. In a separate case the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal to uphold California’s ban on same sex marriage. In Montgomery County, PA, the Register of Wills, Wills B. Hanes issued 174 marriage licenses to same sex couples before being stopped by Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini. In the decision Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not possess the ability to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution. A separate challenge to Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban is pending in federal court
Our federal government who was unable to reach an agreement on spending limits shut down for more than 2 weeks in October. Republicans fought to tie government funding to the dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care as many call it. The 16 day shut did not succeed in gutting the act and according to the polls only angered voters over the inability of the two parties to work together. The fall elections of 2014 should answer the question of which party bore the greatest losses from the closure.
In Florida, the George Zimmerman case had the eyes of the nation watched as he was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin on July 13. The small town case had become a national headline already when the facts of the case were released. George Zimmerman acting as a town watch volunteer shot and killed Martin after an altercation where Zimmerman was patrolling. The verdict created yet another opportunity for a dialogue on race relations in this country.
It may not have come as a surprise that another city in the United States was forced to declare bankruptcy but it didn’t soften the blow for the residents of Detroit. The Motor City filed hoping to relieve themselves of a debt of $18 million. On the line for workers of the City of Detroit are the pensions of those retired and soon to be retired. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder that it is essential for Detroit to be able to start fresh and being able to unburden itself from the debt the city is unable to repay.
Mother Nature proved once again that we are not always in charge of our own futures. The tornados in Oklahoma on May 20th, created mile long devastation and loss of life. 24 people lost their lives, many lost all their possessions but once again the goodness of people shined through. As the tornado bore down on an elementary school teacher used their own bodies to shield students from the onslaught of damage. First responders and residents heard calls for help and dug through rubble to find survivors.
One of the biggest stories of the year had to be the story of Edward Snowden. On June 6th, the Guardian and the Washington Post broke the first stories in a series of articles that exposed U.S. National Security procedures in gathering bulk information on regular citizens and even exposed that the U.S even spied on its own allies. Mr. Snowden then learns that the U.S wanted to press criminal charges against him for the release of records. The ensuing flight of Mr. Snowden first to China then to Russia only embarrassed the Obama Administration more.
These are just a few of the top stories of 2013.