The issue of crime, whether it involves violence, abuse, sex, drugs or murder is rampant in the United States. Not one day goes by in America that a crime is not committed.
As the year 2012 comes to a close, here are ten topics that hit the news that relates to crimimal and court incidents.
1. Mass Killings. The horrific tragedies of killings and massacres that happened in the U.S. was unusually high in a country that prides itself in civility. The Washington Post recorded 14 mass killings (this included injuries) and the types of ammunition that was used for each. This violent behavior has left the nation in shock, anger and revenge.
Here are three killings that received a lot of attention –
- Oikas University Shooting, Oakland, CA., Shooting April 3, seven dead, three injured.
One L. Goh, 43, a former nursing student at the university, went on a shooting rampage. According to reports he lined up students in a classroom and killed them execution style.
“He then went through the entire building systematically and randomly shooting victims,” Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said during a press conference at Oikos.
“We know that he came here with the intent of finding an administrator,” Jordan continued, “We do know he was upset at administrators at the school. We do know he was upset with several students here because of the way he was treated when he was enrolled here.”
Oikos University is a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA.Goh is currently awaiting trial.
- Aurora, CO. Shooting, July 20, 12 dead, 58 injured
James Edgar Holmes, 25, did his killing at the Century Movie Theatre in Aurora. CO. The movie shown was “The Dark Knight Rises” at midnight. The movie was about the superhero Batman in the final trilogy series. Reports stated that Holmes was a huge fan of Batman and during the movie, dressed in dark clothing, set off tear gas grenades and started shooting in the audience. At his court hearing his hair was dyed red and claimed he was “The Joker,” a popular villain in the Batman series. Holmes’ attorney claims he has a mental disorder and had him placed in solitary confinement awaiting trial.
- Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, Dec. 14. Newtown, CT., 28 dead, two injured
The tragic massacre that happened 17 days ago was the second deadliest school shooting in the United States (after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007). The killer, Adam Lanza, 20, first shot his mother Nancy Lanza, 52, with her weapons. He then jumped into his mother’s car with the arsenal, drove to Sandy Hook Elementary, forced his way in and killed two classes of first graders. The children were six and seven years of age, eight boys and 12 girls. Lanza also killed the principal, the school psychologist, two teachers and two teacher aides. He also wounded another teacher and an unnamed adult before taking his own life.
The killings at the school gained momentum nationwide on the protection of children in schools, gun violence and gun access. The National Rifle Association (NRA), usually quiet to the public on their issues, came out and spoke on Dec. 21 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the lobbying group. suggested all schools should have security personnel (i.e. the good guys) carry a weapon. The televised speech grew criticism that included Newtown, CT. residents.
2. Trayvon Martin Killing. The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 was one of he biggest crime stories of the year and will continue to spill over in 2013. Martin was an unarmed teenager when he was shot by George Zimmerman, a self made volunteer neighborhood watchman who claims he acted in self defense and is using the controversial “Stand Your Ground” mandate as his reason. The murder occurred in Sanford, FL., the first state to institute the law which was signed by former Governor Jeb Bush. The killing gained national attention through Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.” Protests, demonstrations and “hoodie” marches escalated throughout major cities demanding justice for Martin’s death. Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, have appeared on numerous media programs also advocating justice not only for their son, but for all involved in similiar situations. Zimmerman, who has been in the news on personal issues, will stand trial in June 2013.
3. Jerry Sandusky. The former Penn State assistant football coach under legend Joe Paterno brought a very public and shameful secret that exposed him as a serial child molester and sexual abuser to young boys. The perverted actions came out due to an independent, nearly one-year investigation headed by a former FBI director. Sandusky was accused of 52 counts from 1994 to 2009 of his crimes and arrested on November 5, 2011. Top officials were fired or resigned and sactions were placed on the renowned university. The real biter came when Joe Paterno was stripped of all his awards, championships and accolades; his famous statue was also removed. The trial of the young men coming forward giving graphic details of their abuse was too much to bear for many. Sandusky was sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in prison on October 8, 2012.
4. Guns. Call it what you want, whether it be gun access, gun control, gun violence, gun crazy – the subject of guns has always been a hot button in America. Now due to the mass killings in the 21st century and the recent massacre in Newtown, CT., guns again have been brought to the forefront. Topics such as the Second Amendment, assault weapons or lobby groups – the bottom line is that guns kill. Guns destroy. What do guns kill? Animals. Who do guns kill? Human beings. The gun topic will be a focal point in President Obama’s second term.
5. Rodney KIng (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012). Rodney King, the man whose infamous beating by Los Angeles police officers on March 3, 1991 brought worldwide attention. The beating would not have been known if it wasn’t for George Holliday videotaping the horrific incident and taking it to television station KTLA. The station showed the beating in its entirety. The attack also set off the 1992 Los Angeles riots, mainly due to the acquittal of the four police officers who beat King. The officers were later brought to trial again but two of them still did not serve any prison time. King sued the City of Los Angeles and won a $3.8 million dollar compensation for his injuries and civil rights.
King continued to have run-ins with the law but did try to straighten out his life. He divorced and was engaged to Cynthia Kelly, who was a juror in the civil suit he won. He co-authored a book “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption” with Lawrence Spagnola in 2012. He made his rounds in the media circuit discussing the book and his attempt to appreciate life to its fullest.
King was credited for his proactive approach during the LA riots by saying ” Can we all get along?” His fiancee Cynthia Kelly found him dead at the bottom of his swimming pool on June 17. The cause of death was accidental drowning.