A fair warning. This is a long and rambling post covering numerous topics from the year of 2012. It's full of recaps and opinions on a variety of topics. At some point during this I may offend you. If you can't move forward with that understanding, go ahead and skip it.
We're just about done. Sure, the people who thought the world would end on December twenty-first were disappointed, but who believed those people anyway? I mean, if the Mayans could tell the future, wouldn't there still be Mayans? So, the Mayan calendar was all set to end, big deal, my Gregorian calendar ends every year, and all I do is hang a new one.
Because the world didn't end, I remembered to call my brother for his birthday, and went on with a perfectly normal day. Christmas behind us a few days later, we look forward to 2013, but first, we look back at 2012.
Entertainers Whitney Houston and Dick Clark. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride
Actors Andy Williams and Michael Clark Duncan
Senators Arlen Specter and George McGovern.
Moviegoers Alex Sullivan, Veronica Moser, John Larimer, and 9 others.
Teacher Victorio Soto, and students Allison Wyatt, Daniel Barden, and 23 others.
Oak Creek, WI...
Those are five of the seven cities who experienced mass shootings in the past year. There were three in 2011, and one in 2010... I don't pretend to have answers. I do think the time has come for great men and women to come together and find an answer. The Second Amendment is esoteric, written at a time when the guns we could own were capable of firing three times in a minute, if we were REALLY damn good. Clinging to the Second Amendment just makes people look crazy, and I wonder if the same people clinging to the Second right now were clinging to the three-fifths clause in Article I. We rewrote that one, and it appears in the Constitution before the Second.
For those of you who don't want to Google search, here's a reminder of the full text of the Second.
"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the safety and security of a free nation, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon."
We no longer have need of militia men. We no longer gather on town square to prepare to fend off Native raiders, or to defend ourselves from the British, or the French, of what have you. It's time that the Second Amendment be rethought. I am not advocating an attempt to take away our guns, because I'm a gunowner from a gun-owning family. I do think we need to find ways to keep our kids safer.
If you don't think gun control is an important issue, and one in which we need reform, I point you towards the New York Post and New York Times. To find these two ideologically opposed newspapers in agreement, that we need sweeping gun control, nearly caused me to fall over.
The Games of the XXX Olympiad
More than 10,000 athletes from 204 countries took part in the games in London this past summer. Thirty-two world records were set in eight sports. China, Great Britain, and the United States each set five new world records. Among the record breakers was Colorado girl Missy Franklin, who I read is set to swim for her high school this year before leaving for college. Missy was part of the 4x100 medley that set a world record, and Missy set a 200 back record of her own. How much fun would it be to be a high school swimmer in the lane next to her knowing what she's already done.
The US won 104 medals, 16 more than second place China.
The US Women's Soccer team turned in a performance that made them, for me, the darling of the Olympics. Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and company turned in an undefeated tournament that was exciting to watch, even with crummy streaming coverage.
Also, the Queen jumped out of a helicopter...well, at least a body double did.
Britney Spears became relevant again, and was named the top earning woman in music this year, with more than $58 million in income. Her turn as a judge on X-Factor was very mixed reviews for me, but X-Factor did make a me a fan of Ms. Lovato. Taylor and Adele top everyone's charts. They shouldn't need last names unless you live under a rock.
Gangham Style became popular. I don't get it.
Curt Schilling took a stellar group of talent, including one of my favorite authors in R.A. Salvatore, and produced a stinker of a game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It was supposed to be a pre-cursor to a MMO, but Curt proved he's a better pitcher than businessman by running the company into bankruptcy, mostly using Rhode Island tax dollars. Will anyone in Rhode Island get reelected?
THQ filed for bankruptcy. They've made a handful of cool games, and have lined up a buyer, so they're not going anywhere. Console games dropped in sales for the third straight year. Of course, the response from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo is to make new consoles...groan...
President Obama earned reelection over an out of touch and rather mouthy Mitt Romney. If I had advice for Romney it would be to leave the Mormon faith and find a church that teaches the use of ball gags.
What? Ball gags? Yes...ball gags. If Romney had a ball gag in his mouth maybe he wouldn't have given us such quotable moments as "binders full of women" and "47 percent." These probably did a pretty good job of making him unelectable. It's possible he also had help from the "Rape Caucus", but Legitimate Rape Akin was just speaking what he knew to be fact...amiright? :p
Of course, our friend the President wasn't perfect on the year either, informing business owners they "didn't build that", probably his worst gaffe of the election cycle.
He also gave us "horses and bayonets" though, so he's forgiven for all the wrongdoings, I thoroughly enjoy watching him describe submarines and aircraft carriers to Mitt.
Superstorm Sandy? Hurricane Sandy? I don't know what you want to call it, but I hope that it becomes a calling card for climatologists. I don't see any other reason for increased storm activity outside of normal seasons than man-made climate change. I believe that climate change has affected Colorado and the Midwest as well; reduced rain/snow fall, warmer temperatures.
I couldn't be convinced before that these were random, and Sandy made it even more likely that these are manmade occurrences, we are ruining the planet we call home.
On the other hand, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have made himself a candidate for the office of President of the United States when he looked at a Fox News camera and said "If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me." Gov. Christie handled Sandy and the aftermath with the pose and aplomb of an experienced leader, and was right not to make political hay out of it at the time.
By the time Sandy had finally died down, she had taken approximately 200 people with her between the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of the United States, and done untold damage to cities, towns, and the environments.
Three states; Maine, Maryland, and Washington, approved same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court agreed to hear two other same-sex marriage cases.
Wars Around the World
One United States serviceman died in Iraq this year, down from 54 last year. That death brought the total US service people killed to 4,486 since 2003.
309 service people were killed in Afghanistan, down from 418 in 2011. At last count, 2,173 Americans have given their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Arab Spring of 2011 has led to the ongoing conflict in Syria now known as the Syrian Civil War. Since the conflict began more than 40,000 people have been killed, and the rebels claim to control about 60% of Syrian territory. A country whose leadership came into power with a coup in 1964 now find themselves facing armed resistance.
It's a difficult thing for me to sit and watch. The Syrian leadership is obviously abusive, taking advantage of its people, restricting basic human rights, and generally being jerks. On the other hand, way too many of my friends wear a uniform; Marines mostly, and those friends would be the first ones in if we ever decided to take a side in this war. I pray that cooler heads will soon prevail, and that the people of Syria will soon enjoy the basic human rights that everyone should.
The year of 2012 was, like most years, one full of tragedy and triumph. It might be that only with great struggle, with great tragedy, that people rise to the challenges presented them. I hope that we all, even when not surrounded by tragedy, strive for greatness, for triumph. I hope that we all, when confronted with a difficult situation, climb out of our metaphorical foxholes and rally those around us. "Follow me," we should say. "We're going over there." Greatness exists in each of us, and it is my sincere hope that as we approach 2013 you are doing the things that it takes to achieve the greatness inside of you. It is my hope that our leaders, our politicians, the people in power, receive wise counsel, listen the people around them, and strive for greatness in all that they do.
Twenty-twelve is about to be over. It has been good, and bad, and indifferent. I hope that each of you have found what you desired in the last year, and I hope that there are new and exciting goals for twenty-thirteen.
I leave 2012 with a quote for you, from Franklin Roosevelt, one which I hope will shape your world view in 2013.
"To reach a port we must sail-sail, not tie at anchor-sail, not drift."