There was plenty to cover last week on The Conservative Cauldron. We take a look back at some of the top stories of 2014. But we started out of course, with the assassination of two New York City police officers. Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were gunned down as they sat in their squad car. The murders shocked the nation, and called into question some of the tactics used by protesters of the recent Grand Jury decisions in St. Louis and Staten Island. At the funeral of Officer Ramos, thousands of NYPD officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill DeBlasio because he had made some controversial comments regarding race issues and the police prior to the murders.
The case of Army Sargeant Beau Bergdahl is still not completely known. Bergdahl was captured by Taliban soldiers in 2009 after leaving his unit in Afghanistan. Many of his fellow soldiers feel he is a deserter. Although the Army says the investigation is complete, they will not release the findings pending a possible court marshal.
Last summer we saw the migration across the southern border of thousands of Central American children. They came from places like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to escape the extreme poverty, gang violence, and other horrors that are more than common in those countries. Many of these children came here alone, sent by parents who merely want a better life for their children. But misinformation runs rampant in nations like those from which so many came. Rumors of letting the children stay in America if they just showed up abounded. The biggest question was how to process all of these newcomers, and where to house them for their safety. Hearings were set for many but most would never return for them as they could take place years from now. Many immigration experts say the same thing could happen again in 2015.
The world was stunned in March when a Malaysian airliner with over 200 people on board seemed to vanish. The plane was thought to have gone down in the Indian Ocean in one of the deepest, most remote parts. The plane has never been found and many conspiracy theories have been put forth, most having to do with terrorism. There was much speculation on the pilot, who had many hours of flight experience but also had a flight simulator in his house. Recently, no new evidence has come to light in the case. There are still hundreds of families looking for answers.
In what may have been a surprise move by the Obama administration, it was announced that the United States and Cuba would begin the process of normalizing relations that have been non-existent since 1959 between the two countries. Many Cuban-Americans are outraged by what they see as President Obama condoning the brutal regime of Fidel and Raoul Castro. For Republicans, there is no clear picture what the U.S. will gain by such a move, and more than likely, there will be no gains, whether it be financial or in terms of freedom of speech and expression, for average Cuban citizens.
The first cases of the Ebola virus were diagnosed in the United States. The first known case was a man from Liberia who came to Dallas to visit relatives. Soon after, two nurses who had taken care of the first patient, who died days after his arrival in this country, tested positive for the deadly disease. Anyone who had been in the West African nations where Ebola is an epidemic were screened at airports and other ports of entry into the U.S. Fear that the disease may reach epidemic proportions was high for several weeks as a few others who had cared for African patients returned home. All have since recovered, but vigilance remains high.
One of the best stories was the story of 17-year old Malala Yousafzai receiving the Nobel Prize for her tireless effort to see that children, especially girls, receive education in Muslim countries. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban as she was getting off a bus because of her advocacy for education. Malala has persevered, and continues to work for the education of all children in countries all over the world. She is truly an inspiration to all.
With the release of Sony Pictures “The Interview”, a dark comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, came the suspected cyber attack of the studio’s computer system. While the North Korean government adamantly denied any involvement, the FBI claimed to have hard evidence that the hard-line Communist nation did in fact have some part in the attack. The incident brought up serious questions about national security. If another country could hack into a movie studio, would it not be possible to also hack into sensitive computer systems in the White House, the Pentagon, or elsewhere? The attack came prior to North Korea issuing threats to Sony if they released the movie on its scheduled Christmas Day opening date. The movie has since been released on the internet and in some theatres around the nation.
The one story that has gripped the nation like no other was Ferguson, Missouri. On August 9, 18-year old Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darrin Wilson. Brown was unarmed but evidence showed that he assaulted Wilson and there was a struggle for Wilson’s service revolver. To the surrounding community, this was yet another white police officer shooting a black teenager. Night after night of rioting ensued, and Wilson was immediately convicted by not only the black community but both local and national media. The chant of the Brown supporters became “hands up don’t shoot”, a reference made by Brown’s companion that day who had said Brown’s hands were up when Wilson shot him. That allegation turned out to be false, as did a lot of eyewitness testimony. Weeks later, a Grand Jury decided no charges would be filed against Darrin Wilson in the case. This sparked a second series of riots and protests. Many businesses in Ferguson suffered not one, but two and three rounds of looting and damage. It remains to be seen just how many business owners will stay in Ferguson and rebuild. Protests continue around the nation against perceived police brutality and racism.
Here we are at the dawn of 2015. Anything is possible.