Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 22, 2013

Diverse headlines in 2013


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Can you believe that it is already the end of December? The year 2013 is about to close its pages to history and there was a lot that happened over the course of the past 12 months.

When I was younger it seemed like a year was an eternity. Now, blink my eyes and watch a couple of games and it’s time to drop the ball once again in Times Square.

I’d like to take a look back at what I think were some of the biggest news events of 2013.

On March 13 Pope Benedict XVI became the first to vacate the papacy in more than 600 years. Taking over as head of the Catholic Church and the Vatican state was Argentinian Bishop Jorge Bergoglio, the first South American to be named Pope.

Leading the world’s largest Christian denomination, Pope Francis has brought a common man’s approach to leadership in the Vatican. His world views and some of his early statements are stunning to some, welcomed by others.

Just a month after Pope Francis was named, one of the United States’ most heavily Catholic cities, Boston, suffered an act of terror as bombs exploded along the course of the historic Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring 260.

Brothers Tamerlan Tsarhaev, 26, and Dzhokar Tsarhaev, 19, were found to be responsible for the horrible act. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police as they closed in days after the bombing. Dzhokar still awaits trial.

This act, much like the events of 9/11, have made us all more conscious of our surroundings while in public and at public events. Stadia and arenas have installed metal detectors and in the NFL, purses, camera cases and backpacks are no longer allowed, items must be carried into the stadium in a clear plastic bag.

Another horror story emerged on May 6, this one out of Cleveland, where three women who had been missing for more than a decade were discovered. They had been held against their will by Ariel Castro, who plead guilty to numerous charges and was sentenced to life in prison plus a thousand years. Castro later hung himself while in prison, using his bed sheets.

I don’t know what we learned in this case except the fact that some people are just sick.

Staying with that theme, two days after the three ladies were found in Castro’s Cleveland house, Jodi Arias was found guilty of the murder of her boyfriend in Arizona.

The trial took over daytime programming on CNN, Fox News, TruTV and HLN. Arias awaits the sentencing phase of her trial and could face the death penalty.

Nearly 20 years after the O.J. Simpson trial it is obvious that the American public loves to watch murder trials. Personally, I thought the coverage was overkill, no pun intended, but for so many entities to devote so much coverage to the trial, it is evident people like the gruesome and gory.

Every year tornados sweep through the Midwest and South. On May 19, Moore, Okla., was devastated by a twister that destroyed much of the town and killed 24 including numerous children in school. The West Virginia University baseball team, in Oklahoma for the Big 12 tournament, put aside the sport and lent a helping hand in the clean-up process in the immediate days after the disaster.

The Mountaineers showed, as many athletes and teams do, that there is something greater than the game they play.

Richard Snowden. He is still in the news. On June 5 it was reported that the National Security Agency was spying on Americans. Snowden revealed to foreign press sources that he NSA collected millions of phone records of Verizon customers in the name of national security. Snowden fled to Hong Kong, then to Russia, where he is still seeking asylum. Some hail him as a hero, some as a traitor.

In this day after 9/11 it is obvious that we no longer have some of the privacies we once held as Americans. My advice. Watch what you say or email, somebody is watching and listening.

Other notable events in 2013 included the Egyptian military ousting the country’s first democratically-elected leader, Mohammad Morsi, on July 3.

Ten days later George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The case divided the country, mostly along racial lines, and led to peaceful protests in cities throughout the country.

Zimmerman, however, was back in the news later in the year, charged with assault against his fiancée.

The British Royal Family welcomed a new king, his name, George. Prince George is the son of Kate Middleton and Prince William and is third in line to sit on the throne.

While the world said hello to Prince George, we said good-bye to a true man of peace, Nelson Mandela.

Jailed for 27 years in apartheid South Africa, Mandela was released from prison in 1991 and three years later was elected president. A Nobel Peace Prize winner and champion for human and civil rights, Mandela along with former South African President F.W. de Klerk helped create a nation that stands as an example to the world for its racial justice and equality.

Bob Redd is a sports writer and editorial page columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Contact him at bredd@bdtonline.com.