WVBR presents the top 10 news stories of 2012:
Presidential Election: President Obama squared off with Republican Nominee Mitt Romney in what became quite a close election. Memorable parts of the race include Obama’s poor first debate performance, Romney’s ‘47%’ comments, huge donors like Sheldon Adelson through SuperPACs, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) praising Obama, Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, and voter I.D. laws.
Hurricane Sandy: The “Frankenstorm” Sandy destroyed much of the New Jersey and New York coastlines, flooding homes, knocking out power for weeks on end, and killing over 85 people. FEMA’s handling of the situation has been praised however, and reconstruction and recovery have been swift and strong.
Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare: In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the majority of the Obama health care act, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts voting alongside the liberal justices to create the majority based on a new interpretation of the definition of a tax. It is said that Chief Justice Roberts voted the way he did in an effort to retain the court’s legitimacy and back away from the ever-growing partisanship in Washington that the Supreme Court should ideally be protected from.
Newtown Shooting: Adam Lanza, age 20, massacred his hometown elementary school in Connecticut, killing 20 children and 6 adults, as well as his own mother, then committed suicide before the first-response team was able to arrive on scene. This horrific event was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. It has also spurred much discussion about gun control laws.
Jerry Sandusky Trial: Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexual assault of at least 8 underage boys in 2011, and now in 2012 he was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison, a virtual life sentence. He was found guilty on 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse, and the cover-up by Penn State coaches including the legendary Joe Paterno has led to major penalties for the Penn State football program.
Aurora Shooting: At the midnight premiere of The Dark Night Rises, James Holmes burst into the theater in tactical attire and killed 12 people. 70 people were wounded in total, leading this to be considered the mass shooting with the most total victims in U.S. history.
Trayvon Martin: A neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin having been African-American, Zimmerman’s possible racism was called into play, as well as Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law which is the grounds for Zimmerman’s claim of innocence.
Obama supports gay marriage: President Obama announced that his views have “evolved” in such a way that he now fully supports same-sex marriage. Although a bit offensive in his implication that he was not originally for it and that his personal feelings on the matter should determine its illegality, the support was well received by the LGBTQ community as well as progressives across the nation.
Olympics: The 2012 Summer Olympics were held in London, and held great victories for the U.S. team. Highlights for the U.S. included Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time, the “Fab Five” gymnasts earning gold medals, and Ryan Lochte’s 5 medals in swimming.
Patraeus Scandal: General David Patraeus, previously the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and then Director of the CIA, found himself in the middle of a scandal involving an affair between him and his biographer. The investigation later involved other major military and intelligence figures, and led to Patraeus’s resignation.
Honorable mentions include: the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Clint Eastwood and the Chair, Todd Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” comments, Facebook flops in IPO, Lance Armstrong guilty of cheating, and the deaths of Whitney Houston, Senator Daniel Inouye, Ravi Shankar, Dave Brubek, George McGovern, Arlen Specter, Neil Armstrong, Gore Vidal, Sherman Hemsley, Levon Helm, Dick Clark, Andy Griffith, Rodney King, Richard Dawson, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Davy Jones, as well as many others.