What a year it has been. From the highly anticipated end of the Mayan Calendar which was expected to bring the downfall of the world as we know it to another historic presidential election, 2012 has been a very eventful year. We saw the last matching date (12-12-12) for nearly the next 100 years. If you’re old enough to read this, you probably won’t make it that long. But with many of the inventions we’re innovating these days, who knows? I’ll be 119 if that happens!
In honor of the year that was, I’ve been sifting through many of the last 366 days (Leap Year this year) worth of stories, highlights, and news to do my own countdown of landmark moments from 2012. We’ll start with number 12 and work our way to the top story.
#12. Some may see it as the times are changing, others still call it plain stupidity. Regardless, the states of Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana in the recent elections. But what will action will the federal and state governments take in 2013?
#11. Back on February 26, the neighborhood assault that left Florida teen Trayvon Martin dead took place. The killer, George Zimmerman, 44, was an armed neighborhood watch captain who spotted Martin who was supposedly hooded at the time of the incident. Zimmerman was arrested initially but was not charged due to the “stand your ground law” as he reported he was standing his ground and acting in self-defense from the teen. Currently, Zimmerman is pleading not guilty on charges of second-degree murder. His trial is set for the middle of 2013.
#10. Queen Elizabeth II hit a milestone in June of 2012 as she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. Back in June of 1952, Queen Elizabeth II took over the throne from her father. The definition of a diamond celebration originally signifies the 75th anniversary of a marriage, but after modification in definition by Queen Victoria, the diamond also refers to the landmark 60th year a monarch presides on the throne. The Queen celebrated her reign by attending the Epsom Derby, hosting “The Big Jubilee Lunch,” attending the “Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant,” and a BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II is 86 years old.
#9. It’s a scandal no Penn State football fan ever wanted to endure—a sex scandal and an attempted cover up. Long time Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky turned out to be a child-molester which sent him to jail with a sentence of decades in prison. The school was fined millions of dollars, and even Coach Joe Paterno and other school officials were caught covering up the evil deeds. More punishments include the money cut from the Penn State scholarship funds and a ban on post-season football play for up to four years. Paterno, who died in January due to complications from lung cancer, was not around long enough to see the rest of the case unfold.
#8. An Aurora, Colorado movie showing of “The Dark Night Rises” resulted in the death of 12 people and more than 50 injured after a masked gunman went on a rampage on July 20. The shooter, James Holmes, faces 24 counts of first-degree murder. Holmes was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder in addition to one count of possessing an explosive device.
#7. General David Patraeus had a rough year after an extramarital affair uncovered by a FBI investigation resulted in him resigning his post as CIA Director. This created even more of a mess while trying to understand the situation that took place Benghazi, Libya. It was revealed that Patraeus’s mistress was his publisher Paula Broadwell.
#6. More international news in the countdown as Ambassador Chris Stephens was killed in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. The loss of Ambassador Stephens and a few of his staffers ignited criticism from Republicans directed toward President Obama and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice who ultimately resigned her bid to become the next Secretary of State.
#5. Not long after the hype of the elections came talk of what is known as the “Fiscal Cliff.” Talks among ranking Senate members, Republican Speaker John Boehner, and President Obama have not yet yielded a plan to stop us from falling off of the cliff. Tax hikes, spending modifications, and more all change after the first of year if no compromise is reached.
#4. London 2012… You know what I’m talking about, right? The Olympics hosted by none other than England. For two weeks the U.S. and other countries of the world competed for the gold, silver, and bronze. If you don’t remember, here’s the final medal count: United States: 104, China: 88, Great Britain: 65. The next Olympic Games will be February 7 to February 23 of 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The next summer Games will be August 5 to August 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
#3. The eastern coastline of the United States was left in a state of turmoil after Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy made its landfall on the region. Recovery efforts still continue today as many are homeless. Billions of dollars worth of damage will take a large amount of time to reconstruct.
#2. There’s no argument that Hurricane Sandy could come at a worse time for the 2012 Presidential Election. After a constant airing of political attack ads, debates that trumped regular programming, and numerous pollster phone calls, Obama pulled a win over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. After a contentious campaign from both the GOP and the President, Election Night ended earlier than anyone could predict after Ohio was called at around 11:00 p.m. central time.
#1. It’s unfortunate that the top story of 2012 couldn’t end on an upbeat note, but story number has sparked a lot of talk and emotion around the country and world. The top story of 2012 is the devastation that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children, six school employees, and the mother of killer Adam Lanza accounted for all of the deaths of victims. The devastation has called for legislators to take a closer look at gun control laws and dealing with mental disorders.