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Something to think about: The backside of 2012

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From page A4 | December 28, 2012 | Leave Comment

I will be glad to see the backside of 2012. Personally, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year and now that we’ve all survived the Mayan end-of-the-calendar and the fiscal cliff, the thought of a new year, and a change of direction, sounds like the last best hope.

The last quarter of 2012 was a litany of death and disaster as earthquakes in Italy, Guatemala and Iran hit the news; Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast; NFL players killed themselves and others; a nurse committed suicide; Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash; gas prices went to the moon; Syria massacred their own people while Libya and Afghanistan massacred ours. The shootings in Portland, in Aurora and the unimaginably awful deaths in Connecticut sent shock waves that never got an opportunity to recede completely before another spate of senseless death occurred.

September through December made it hard to remember anything positive that had happened in the year at all. I researched news sources online, thinking that maybe my view of the year might have been colored by the last quarter and found …darn little. The Mars rover landing, Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics made for bright spots — who can forget the sight of Kirani James asking for the Blade Runner, Oliver Pistorius’ bib number at the end of the 400 meter race?

The elections, and campaigns, finally ended. That was definitely good. Whether the result was good or not depends on your political bent, but at least they ended. Unfortunately the vituperation didn’t, as the fiscal cliff brought out the beast in the donkeys and elephants.

Even good things, as few as were reported, were tainted. The news of a royal heir being expected, a jubilant event, turned to tragedy when two radio hosts made a hoax phone call to the Duchess’s hospital room and the nurse who put the call through killed herself.

In the last quarter, people started tossing around the word “evil,” especially after the school shootings in Connecticut. I take exception to that word — evil is pervasive, insidious and soulless — not a word I would apply to a mentally disturbed person committing horrific acts.

I am not a fan of guns and I do not believe there is any reason a civilian needs an automatic weapon. You don’t need one to hunt or to protect your home — the reason that most people say they need guns. So, while I would support laws banning assault weapons, I don’t think weaponry is the main issue when people take it into their heads to massacre others. That’s how they do it, but not why.

Addressing the needs of our children and getting the help the mentally ill need is of primary importance. We spend billions on losing weight, foreign aid, sports figures, election campaigns and electronics. Maybe we need to put our money, and our focus, on what is really needed and change our national priorities instead of giving lip service to “tougher gun laws.”

In airplane pre-flight demonstrations, parents are instructed to put their own oxygen masks on first and then put masks on their children. Many in our own country, especially our children, have physical, emotional and educational needs that aren’t being met. We need to put the growth, development and quality of life of the people in our country first, before foreign aid and furthering our global interests.

The year 2012 wasn’t an “evil” year — it’s just been a bad one. I will gladly relinquish 2012 and hope that 2013, and all the years after that, see a positive change in national priorities and global well-being. It’s a lot to ask, but I can’t think of a better time to start.

Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly. 

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