Year End Review

January 20th – President Obama Inaugurated

On Jan. 20, President Obama was inaugurated to a second term.

A crowd of 800,000 was reported to be in attendance for the event, which unusually was one of seven inaugurations to be hosted on a Sunday.

In his address after being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, the President emphasized political unity and the need for social equality, calling for tax and educational reforms.

“We were made for this moment,” the President said, “And we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.”

February 15th – Russian Meteor Strike

A bright streak flashed across the skies near Chelyabinsk in southwestern Russia on the morning of Feb. 15, alarming morning commuters and injuring over 1,000 people.

The streak was later determined to be the largest meteor to fall to Earth in a century.

The initial reports alarmed many who thought that a much larger meteor, 2012DA14,  was responsible for the strike, as it was in the process of a flyby of Earth at the time. However, the European Space Agency soon dispelled these rumors and confirmed that the Chelyabinsk strike was a separate event.

Nevertheless, the strike did open a new discussion about the threats of meteors to human life, leading political leaders to begin considering means by which NASA could more reliably detect incoming meteors.

“Developing [these technologies]… is critical to our future,” said Senator Lamar, one of the proponents of reform, “We should continue to invest in systems that identify threatening asteroids[.]”

March 13th  – Pope Francis Elected

White smoke signaled the election of a new Pope on March 13, and soon Cardinal Bergolio emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Francis.

The first leader of the Catholic Church to be elected from outside Europe, Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit and first Latin American to assume the position.

Many Church sources considered  the selection a bridge for a Church surrounded by crisis and declining participation.

April 15th – Boston Marathon Bombings

The Boston Marathon, hosted by locales in the Greater Boston area, was interrupted by the explosion of two bombs within crowds of spectators near the finish line on April 15.

Three people were killed and over 200 were injured by the explosions, which were just seconds apart.

Camera recordings of the two responsible for the bombings, brothers Tamerlane and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, soon revealed that the bombs had been placed in backpacks that were carried and left at the target sites.

The search for the Tsarnaev brothers involved a virtual lockdown of Watertown, a city within the Boston metropolitan area, and ended with the live capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev amidst an armed standoff with authorities in a suburban neighborhood.

June – Eric Snowden NSA Leaks

On June 6, sets of classified government documents were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian concerning the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), one of the most prominent and secretive agencies of the American intelligence community.

It was later determined that the source of the leaks was Eric Snowden, an NSA contractor.

The leaks revealed that the NSA was operating foreign and domestic surveillance programs that were more advanced than previously known.

The leaks have resulted in problems for U.S. international relations with several allies, notably Brazil and Germany, each accusing the NSA of spying on their political leaders.

September 16th – Washington Navy Yard Shooting

A single gunman with a shotgun killed 12 people and injured three others at the Naval Sea Systems Command, resulting in a panic in the nation’s capital.

The shooter had security clearance in the building where he carried out the shooting, leading to a discussion about the security of the nation’s military facilities.

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray speculated that federal budget cuts may have been responsible.

Admiral Jonathan Grennert, Chief of Naval Operations, dismissed these claims.

“We don’t cut budgetary corners for security,” Grennert said.

However, a reporter for Time magazine found Department of Defense reports completed before the shooting found ‘holes’ in the defensive plan for the Navy Yard facility in order to save costs.

As the causes were debated, however, the second-deadliest shooting in a military facility was added to the shock of a string of 2013 shootings.