As the year 2015 comes to an end this week, we take time to review some of the top stories that had us talking this year. Gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in June and COP 21 was signed in December. However, unfortunately in 2015 there was an increase in gun violence, police brutality and terrorism; raising questions about increasing gun control and national security. We’ve highlighted some of the top stories below:
1. Charlie Hebdo
On January 7th Said and Chérif Kouachi attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices, killing 12 people. Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly newspaper known for it’s far left-wing comics and articles. It’s believed that the attacks spawned from the controversial cartoons published about Muslim prophet Muhammad. The attacks also raised the question about censorship and freedom of the press.
2. Black Lives Matter
The movement originally started in 2012 after the non-guilty verdict of the Trayvon Martin case, but has become more wide-spread this year. Participants have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with. The purpose of the movement is to bring awareness to police brutality African-Americans face in the U.S. Protesters have come together after the killings of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and other unarmed African-American men at the hands of police. The group started the hashtag #blacklivesmatter and the support for the cause spread, even garnering attention from presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, pushing candidates to publicly admit that police brutality against African-American men in this country is an issue that must be addressed and resolved.
3. Kim Davis and the Gay Marriage Debate
Who can forget the infamous Kim Davis character? The County Clerk from Rowan County Kentucky gained notoriety for refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone because of her stance against gay marriage. Davis took her stance after the Supreme Court’s June ruling that all states recognize gay marriage in the case of Obergefell vd. Hodges . Davis claimed that gay marriage went against her religious beliefs and even got support from conservatives like Mike Huckabee. Davis was jailed for 5 days for being in contempt of court. She came back to work and her deputy clerks were court ordered to issue marriage licenses. However, the marriage licenses do not have Davis’ name on them. Instead they are issued with the title “notary public.”
4. War on Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood has been under attack most of 2015. In July anti-abortion group Medical Progress released an edited video of Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, supposedly discussing the procurement of fetal tissue. The video, which was secretly filmed by Medical Progress in July 2014, shows Nucatola discussing the going rate for fetal tissue for research purposes. Although Planned Parenthood denied that the organization sells fetal tissue and that the video was taken out of context, conservatives used the allegations as ammo to further support their stance to end funding for the organization.
5. Donald Trump
Either you hate him or you love him. Donald Trump is quite the character. Even with his often times brash and vulgar comments against women, Latinos and Muslims, he’s still mustered the support of many conservatives. His charisma and outspokenness his kept him in the spotlight. He remains the GOP front runner, even after after his recent proposal to ban all Muslims from coming into the U.S. It’s too early to tell how well he’ll actually fair at the polls or if he will get the Republican nomination. However, so far this year has been quite favorable for him.
6. Police Brutality
The murders of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police has shown a light on police brutality and the injustices in our judicial system. This year 1,126 people have been killed by police. Unfortunately, most of the victims are African American and other racial minorities. The recent death of Freddie Gray who died from injuries sustained while in custody of the Baltimore police department ,Sandra Bland who died (of what was ruled a suicide) in her jail cell in Texas after being pulled over for not using her turning signal and the non-indictment of 12 year old Tamir Rice’s killing have all sparked outrage across the country, causing groups like #Blacklivesmatter and other civil rights groups to protest and demand justice.
7. Syrian Refugee Crisis
The Syrian crises started in 2011 and the U.S has accepted 2,174 refugees since 2012. There are about 4.4 million refugees which have been trying to escape Assad’s regime. Today most of the refugees are in Turkey. Lebanon, Jordan and parts of Europe. After the Isis terrorist attacks in Paris, the second terrorist attack in Paris this year, many conservatives condemned the idea of the U.S. allowing anymore refugees into the U.S. in order to protect the American public from a future terrorist attack.
8. South Carolina Shootings
On June 17th, 9 African Americans were killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by Dylann Roff, a 21 year old white supremicest. Roof admitted that he wanted to start a race war. He is facing federal hate crime charges and may face the death penalty.
9. California Terrorist Attacks
Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik (not pictured here) killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others at Farook’s company holiday party in San Bernardino on December 4th. Farook who was born in the U.S., worked for the San Bernardino County Public Health Department. The attack was the biggest domestic attack since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.