Happy New Year! Another year come and gone; now we have the whole of 2013 and beyond to look forward to. In celebration of the new year, we thought we would look back at a few of the biggest moments of 2012, both in the United States and around the world.
January – SOPA is Killed by Popular Demand
The Stop Online Piracy Act was a measure designed to stop the illegal distribution of copyrighted music, movies, and software online. It would have allowed the government to immediately block any website that was connected to acts of piracy, whether it knew it or not. Decried as an extreme form of censorship, a massive online protest movement on January 18th caused many former supporters to turn against the bill, effectively leading to its demise in Congress.
February – Whitney Houston Dies
On February 11th, music enthusiasts around the world were devastated when news of Whitney Houston’s death hit social media sites. The diva with an angelic voice, who was best known for her hit “I Will Always Love You” and her role in the 1992 film The Bodyguard, had a history of substance abuse which is believed to have contributed to her accidental death.
March – Coup in Mali
In late March, dissatisfied soldiers of the Mali army let a coup against the government of Amadou Toumani Toure. The country had been one of the few in Africa still considered to be a democracy and the move led to instant condemnation by the international community.
April – North Korea Launches Missile
Earlier this year, the ever-belligerent North Korean government announced its intention to launch a “satellite” into space – using a ballistic missile. This kind of launch has long been banned by the UN, and the test was seen as a poorly-veiled opportunity to conduct a ballistic missile. The rocket failed to reach orbit amid the harsh condemnation of the majority of world powers.
May – The Gay Marriage Wars
On May 8th, North Carolina amended its constitution to ban gay marriage, with the measure passing by a margin of over twenty percent. The next day, President Obama publicly declared his support for gay marriage, becoming the first US president to do so.
June – Wildfires Plague the West
Amid one of the hottest summers on record, wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado burned their way across the countryside, causing several deaths and hundreds of thousands of evacuations. Gov. Hickenlooper calls it “the worst wildfire season in Colorado’s history”.
July – Team USA Goes for the Gold(s)
The Summer Olympics in London kicked of in July, allowing the United States its first opportunity to reclaim its spot atop the medal count after falling behind four years earlier in Beijing. They do so in style; Team USA wins 46 gold medals and is the only country to win more than 100 total medals. Michael Phelps also becomes the most decorated Olympian of all time.
August – Neil Armstrong Dies
After suffering from complications of cardiovascular disease, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died on August 25th. His secluded lifestyle was a stark contrast to his legend; still, his name and his immortal words will live forever.
September – Terrorist Attack Kills US Ambassador
On the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, a heavily armed group of militants attack the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens. The ensuing political confusion led to a witch hunt across the Obama Administration, the State Department, and the CIA as Congress attempted to assign blame for the tragedy.
October – Hurricane Sandy
In a turn of events reminiscent of The Perfect Storm, Hurricane Sandy sweeps up the east coast of the United States and mixes with a nor’easter to create ‘superstorm Sandy’. The storm results in at least 125 deaths and $62 billion in damage across the North Atlantic.
November – Obama Re-elected
After an exhausting election campaign, President Obama won re-election in what many considered to be a landslide victory against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Although media outlets had long declared the election ‘too close to call’, most statistical analysts had predicted an Obama victory by a wide margin. The results were not supposed to indicate a winner until late Tuesday night or even Wednesday, but instead, media outlets actually called the election for President Obama one minute earlier than they did on the same evening four years earlier.
December – Sandy Hook
Capping off one of the most violent years for mass shootings in American history, 20 year old Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut, where his mother was a teacher. The spree killed 28 people, including 20 children aged 7 or younger, and the shooter who committed suicide. The ensuing fallout was marked with mass mourning as well as a political blitz on gun control and Second Amendment rights.
And lest we forget – the world didn’t end.